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NW residents prefer dogs over cats, but many aren't eager to add more pets to the family

August 19, 2021 by PEMCO Insurance

In time for the dog days of summer, the latest poll from PEMCO Mutual Insurance settles a contentious debate and the results are resounding: twice as many Northwest pet lovers say they prefer canines over cats. And while many households couldn't resist the temptation of adopting a pandemic puppy, the poll shows not everyone is rushing out to add another Fido to the family.  

According to the PEMCO poll, about two-thirds of Seattle and Portland households have pets at home.  Regardless of whether residents own a pet or not, nearly twice as many say they prefer dogs over cats. In Seattle, 49% say they prefer dogs while only 21% say they prefer cats. In Portland, the same findings ring true, as 49% say they prefer dogs in comparison to 27% of those who prefer cats.

With many residents stuck at home during the early days of the pandemic, millions of families across the nation welcomed a new fur baby into their homes – and Northwesterners were no different. The PEMCO poll found that regardless of pet preference, 46% of Seattleites and 35% of Portlanders say they welcomed at least one pet into their home during the pandemic. Interestingly, some were even willing to open their home to multiple pets during the pandemic. In fact, nearly 4% say they've added three or more furry friends to their family since the start of the pandemic.

Whether Seattleites and Portlanders owned a dog or cat prior to the pandemic or adopted in the midst of Stay-at-Home orders, there's no question pets across the Northwest received more TLC. In fact, 60% of pet owners in the Seattle and Portland metro areas say that their pets received extra attention during the pandemic in the form of more belly rubs, treats and cuddles.

"Especially amid the early days of the pandemic, our pets received a welcome surprise when many owners set up home offices, slowed social activities and virtually halted out-of-the-house commitments," said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. "My own family was no different. Our pup Ralphie received more walks, playtime and snuggles during 2020 than he may have ever wished for!"

With all this newfound attention, over half of pet owners share concern that once families are spending less time at home, their pets' emotional health may decline. In fact, 62% of Seattle residents and 55% of Portland residents are worried how their pets will react to less time spent together.

On the flip side, those who don't already have pets aren't likely to be adding man's best friend or a furry feline to their family any time soon. According to the poll, about three-quarters of pet-less poll respondents say they aren't likely to get a dog or cat in the next year, largely because they don't want the added responsibility that comes with owning a pet.   

PEMCO knows that protecting pets' health and well-being is important to Northwest families, which is why the insurer has partnered with Pet's Best Pet Insurance to offer families further peace of mind when it comes to their pet's safety. Learn more about insuring your pets with PEMCO and Pets Best by visiting

Pet Insurance coverage is offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC and is underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company, a New York insurance company. Please visit to review all available pet health insurance products. 

For a complete summary of PEMCO's proprietary poll results visit, where you'll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in February 2021.


About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Mutual Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 400 respondents in the Seattle Metro (King, Snohomish, Pierce Counties) region and 400 respondents in the Portland Metro (Multnomah, Marion, Clackamas, Washington Counties) region yields an accuracy of +/- 5.0% respectively at the 95% confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range. 

About PEMCO Mutual Insurance

PEMCO Mutual Insurance is the Defender of Your Northwest, providing auto, home, renters and boat coverage. We are consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee expertise and social impact. Our Mutual Good programs raise the achievement levels for youth in education; build stronger, greener environments; and increase safety at home, on the road and at play. Our mission: Free our communities to worry less and live more. 

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