A search for "cat" Unicode characters reveals no less than 12 occurrences (aside from the many CJK ideographs).


By comparison, a search for "dog" yields only three results, the last of which might even be construed as an affront to dog owners.


Note also that the range of emotion conveyed by the dog code points is almost non-existent, compared to that of cat faces.

The Unicode Consortium being a relatively serious body, I am curious as to why this discrepancy exists, given that it doesn't reflect the pet species distribution in the US (or anywhere else that I know of).

Is there a rationale behind this?

  • 2
    It reflects estern and japanese culture, to my knowlege anyway. Unicode orgs do cission to include emoji is a bit of a fashion statement. Anyway the eastern cultures may in fact have a legirimate need for these. Hence the japanese name. So i dont think us centric approach works here.
    – joojaa
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 6:37
  • 2
    A large part of the target demographic audience may be "teenage Japanese girls".
    – Jongware
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 8:22
  • You searched the wrong site. On codepoints.net the ratio is in favor of dogs with 53 to 32. Most interestingly, many "dog" matches are Chinese characters. (That might partially explain the tensions between China and Japan...)
    – Boldewyn
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 7:15
  • @Boldewyn: one of the Codepoints.net "results" for "dog" is "elephant", and another is "mouseface". Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 1:52
  • 1
    I am surprised the others did not provide the real answer: Cats are superior to dogs. That is why we humans honour them with more Unicode/Emoji symbols. We also acknowledge why Unicode exists: it is to honour our new Cat overlords. PS: I do however support animal equality, so I am also for more dog symbols. This is serious; so the Unicode consortium will have to deal with the issue sooner or later.
    – shevy
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


Unicode Characters are chosen by those that are submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee. Usually the submissions are characters that are already being used.

Most of the cat characters that exist now were emoji characters, used by many japanese phone carriers before being included in unicode. These emoji are very focused on japanese culture, including things like kimonos, sushi, noodles.So the popularity of cats in unicode characters has probably more to do with japanese culture (think hello kitty) than unicode standards.

  • 1
    Haha as soon as I read the question the answer "Because of Japan" was my immediate thought.
    – Manly
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 15:30
  • 1
    Kimono, sushi, noodle have only one Unicode character image. Must be a cat thing. Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 8:34
  • 1
    Yes, Unicode does not sit around dreaming up new characters. They are librarians, not writers. Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 10:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.