If someone asked you if you were a ‘cat person’ or a ‘dog person’ chances are you would have a quick answer with some good defense points. I love both cats and dogs, but think of myself as a ‘dog person’. So what does that say about me? Well as it turns out there are differences between cat and dog people and real-life scientific studies have been conducted to find out what those differences are!
Firstly the science, I will be focusing on a few different publications but the important thing to remember is that all of these studies have been surveys. In other words people have self-identified as dog or cat people, there for are likely to choose animals that best reflect or compliment their personalities. It also leaves some room for people to embellish, for example some could select that they earn more than they do. The articles I have used for this blog post are all cited at the end if you would like some light bed-time reading.
So now down to the fun stuff - what were the main differences these studies found?
First let us discuss the 5 major personality traits: extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. Extraversion measures whether you are outgoing and energetic or solitary and reserved. Open people are inventive and curious where as closed people have more consistent and cautious behaviour. People who rate high in agreeableness are generally friendly and compassionate, where as those rating low tend to be cold. Conscientiousness measures how efficient and organized you are versus easy going and sometimes careless. And finally neuroticism is fairly self explanatory but higher rated people in this category are less confident, more nervous and tend to be more sensitive.
Many of you are probably already guessing how dog and cat people rate in these categories. The studies showed that dog people rated higher in extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness, but lower in neuroticism and openness. This essentially means that dog people tend to be more outgoing, energetic, social and friendly, but interestingly were also likely to be more organized. Cat people tended to be more neurotic but they were also more open – people who rate higher on the openness scale tend be accepting of new ideas, art and creativity and are generally more curious (sound familiar?). Another study also showed dog people tended to be more dominant personality types and more competitive.
Some other interesting findings include:
· Cat people rated higher on intelligence tests than dog people.
· Most dog people would be willing to accept a cat in the house but most cat people would not want a dog in the house. On a similar note dog people were more likely to own both cats and dogs, where as cat people tended to stick with kitties.
· Cat people are more likely to live alone.
· Dog people will turn to their dog for comfort over friends in some circumstances.
· Dog owners are more sexually active.
· Dog owners tend to feel more positive thoughts and less negative thoughts than cat owners.
So knowing the study findings do you stand with your original answer? I still think I am more of a dog person, but perhaps there is a little bit of dog and cat inside of us all. And the good news? Studies also show that both CAT and DOG owners tend to be healthier,happier and live longer than our pet-less friends!
Please comment on whether you are a cat or dog person, and if you think these studies support your answer!
Personalities of Self-Identified “Dog People” and “Cat People” – Gosling, S et al. 2010
Dog People and Cat People Differ on Dominane-Related Traits – Alba, B et al. 2015
Personality Characteristics of Dog and Cat Persons – Perrine, M et al. 1998
VetPlus Online Survey – 2014
Dog People VS Cat People – Coren, S. 2012
Carrol University (Wisconsin) Survey – Guestello, D. 2014
Friends with Benefits: Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership – McConnell, A et al. 2011
Pet Dogs as Attachment Figures for Adult Owners – Kurdek, L. 2009
Is Happiness a Warm Puppy? Examining the Association between Pet Ownership and Happiness – Bao, K. 2016