Catterplots: Plots with cats

February 17, 2017

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

As a devotee of Tufte, I'm generally against chartjunk. Graphical elements that obscure interpretation of the data occasionally have a useful role to play, but more often than not that role is to entertain the expense of enlightenment, or worse, to actively mislead. So it's with mixed feelings that I refer you to catterplots, an R package by David Gibbs to create scatterplots using outlines of cats as the symbols.

But hey, it's the Friday before a long weekend, so here's a poorly annotated catterplot of households with dogs vs households with cats in the 48 continental US states (plus DC):


The data behind this chart I found at, which looks to be an interesting new resource for data sets. (Registration is required to download data, however.) The code behind the chart is below. (If you want a variant featuring Nyan Cat, try cat=11.)

dogscats <- catplot(dogs, cats, size=0.1, catcolor=c(0.7,0.7,0.7,1),
                    xlab="Households with dogs",
                    ylab="Households with cats",
                    main="Household Pet Ownership in US States")

The catterplot package is available for on GitHub at the link below.

GitHub (GibbsDavidl): Catterplots

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