Cats vs. Dogs! A Statistical Analysis

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Here at Kickstarter, we have an incredible data team — people who spend their days assembling intricate queries, digging deep into Kickstarter’s data-guts, analyzing what they find, and helping build the very best platform possible. (If that sounds like a blast to you, then you’re in luck, because they’re currently looking for a new member to join them.) These people are very smart, very busy, and very rigorous about their work, which is why we try not to bother them when we get curious about less pressing questions, like whether there have been more projects involving pirates or more involving ninjas.

But such questions deserve answers, don’t they? (Answers like: it’s pirates.) So welcome to our department of amateur data-wrangling, in which non-data people take it upon ourselves to investigate matters the data team doesn’t normally have time for, and then we bug them for help when we get stuck.

Today’s question: Is it possible that Kickstarter is one of the few places on the internet where dogs are more popular than cats?

To answer, we pulled the numbers for projects that used words like dog or cat (or puppy, or feline, or a few other related terms) in their main data fields — the project title and the short descriptive blurb. Is this method super-rigorous? Well, no. It means that something like John Vanderslice recording a full-album cover of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs will wind up in the dog column. But is it spiritually sound? Vanderslice could have recorded a full-album cover of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats, Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In, or The Very Best of Cat Stevens, but he chose not to. He invoked the spirit of the dog, and for our purposes that makes him Team Dog, forever.

Which is good news for him, because by many measures, Team Dog is winning. Here are the stats for total number of projects launched, and total money pledged, for cats and for dogs. (You’ll have to take our word for it that, at a quick glance, the bulk of these projects really did seem to be related to actual cats and dogs, not David Bowie — projects like a documentary about dogs who ride in motorcycle sidecars, a film starring James Cromwell as a veterinarian, and a cat-shaped candle with a terrifying secret.) Voila:

So: is it possible there’s a place on the internet where people are more into dogs than cats? Like, besides and this Yahoo! Answers question? Some signs point to yes!

Dig deeper into the stats, and things get more interesting:

You’ll notice two things here. One is that Team Cat projects were more likely to be funded — their success rate lands at 44%, pretty much the same as Kickstarter projects as a whole. The other is that the average number of backers for Team Cat projects was significantly higher than the average for Team Dog. The Kickstarter data team has warned us about drawing cavalier conclusions from limited information, but hey, does it not look at least possible that the world of cat-related-project backers is … underserved, as a community? Look at it this way:

See, when it comes to the number of people pledging to Team Dog versus Team Cat projects, the difference isn’t huge — dogs are up by just under 20%, whether you’re counting overall pledges or unique backers. But when it comes to the number of projects they were supporting, and the amount of money pledged, the difference is much bigger — around 60%. As a whole, Team Dog backers would seem to be spread more thinly across a larger number of projects, getting more ideas funded, while Team Cat backers are clustered around a smaller number of projects, with higher pledge counts and success rates.

Which brings us to a sensitive issue. We love dogs, and dog people. We also love cats, and cat people. The last thing we’d ever wish to do is sow discord between these two communities. (We are not instigators, and if we were going to instigate, we’d probably try and get ferret people into the mix.) But if you couldn’t already guess, here’s one way Team Dog is getting all those projects funded:

Does this mean dog-type backers are more generous than their cat-type counterparts? Not at all! Given what we see above, it could just be that the larger number of pledges per cat project meant each individual backer didn’t need to contribute as much to ensure a project reached its goal. Or maybe dog projects tended to offer substantial rewards at higher pledge levels. Or maybe a really rich dachshund made some huge pledges. There are lots of possibilities! Don’t hold it against cat-lovers. Or, you know, lovers of projects with “cat” in the title or blurb.

What have we learned from all this? Very little, to be honest. But if you think cats deserve as much space on Kickstarter as dogs, maybe now is the time to rally your people, start your project, widen the Team Cat project pool, and perhaps follow in the footsteps of our most-funded cat-and-dog projects to date:

Stay tuned for more amateur data-wrangling — and some actual serious analysis from our actual skilled data team — in the months to come. Next time, we’ll be tackling ZOMBIES vs. ROBOTS.

    1. Sixpence Games on

      Very interesting. Any idea what happens when you include synonyms for "cat" and "dog", like puppy, kitty, kitten, hound, etc?

    2. Michael C. Stettes on

      Sixpence, did you read the thing? They answer that exact question.

    3. Katherine Pan


    4. Jesse Rodriguez on

      I once, only ONCE, was nice to a cat. It scratched my eyeball and I lost sight for a few days. Never again. I would fund a project that keeps cats away from me.

    5. Nicole He on

      wow no representation for tamagotchis? smh

    6. Richard Bak on

      Peace to all my furry brothers and sisters…..

    7. Gabriel S. García on

      Pretty sure this video is the creme de la creme of explaining why cats are better:

      Dogs are retarded, smelly, and gross. More than that, they are the most overrated species on the planet. Your cloying gestures are not cute or endearing...they are off putting and annoying. Stay the @#$%! from me, dogs.

    8. Carol Benovic


    9. MoMo on

      This article was just plain silly! You know cats rule on Facebook and everywhere else! They forgot the key word "kitten" also. Obviously this article was written by a dog lover. Dogs not only are noisy but tend to smell more than cats. Cats Rule Forever!

    10. MoMo on

      ...i mean dogs smell and cats do not, dogs poop all over your house, cats do not, etc. So many reasons why cats are a better companion. Plus our cat plays fetch, listens, and doesn't smell bad. Cats clean themselves and dogs are dumb enough not to know how to clean themselves or poop in a box.

    11. Nitsuh Abebe

      Kraig, rest assured our search terms included kitten(s), kitty, and kitties! (It's entirely possible we missed a useful keyword, but "kitten" wasn't it.)

      I understand this might be a rough moment for the cat-project community. My advice would be that you can get mad ... or you can get even, by starting a great cat-related project of your own.

    12. MoMo on

      Nobody is mad at all, just stating the facts is all. Something this article misses.

    13. Wuymap, Inc. on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    14. Minaal on

      Devon, based on the stats above, we suggest including dogs in your project.

    15. Stanley N Lozowski on

      I'm reminded of some comments I heard about dogs and cats:

      "Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose." - Garrison Keillor

      "Feed a dog once and you have a friend for life. Feed a cat once and it doesn't care."

      "If animals could speak the dog would be a a blundering outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much." - Mark Twain

      "If you want to know the real meaning of true love, lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car for one hour. Guess which one loves you when you open the trunk."

      "There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats."

      "Dogs eat. Cats dine." - Ann Taylor

      "In ancient times cats were worshipped as Gods, they have not forgotten this."

      '"I never married because there was no need. I have three pets at home which answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog which growls every morning, a parrot which swears all afternoon, and a cat that comes home late at night." - Maria Corelli

      "I love cats. I even think we have one at home." - Edward L Burlingame

    16. Jeremie Lariviere

      I think I've backed projects in every category, but not too many were directly cat or dog related... One was a laser cut card pop-up card (cat was one option), and another is a computer game with a dog as a character...

    17. Simon Welker on

      That's because you don't need all this fancy stuff for a cat.

    18. Nelson Carter, Negotiator on

      I love cats.. they taste bit like chicken..

    19. Don Scherig on

      Duh, of course dog people are more generous than cat people. People pick pets that are often like themselves, and dog people picked a loyal companion while cat people picked a creature that has been scientifically proven to not care about them. :D

    20. Missing avatar

      The Random One on

      My conclusion is that dog projects have more difficulty being funded because they have higher funding goals than cat projects, because dogs are larger. Yup. Seems sound to me.

    21. Missing avatar

      Davo249 on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    22. Moti Mark Zemelman on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    23. Missing avatar

      Namaku Keren on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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      Doa Ibu Tersayang on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.