As it turns out, the longstanding adage is true: cat people and dog people really are different. Recent research suggests that cat lovers and dog lovers both boast some unique personality traits that may predispose them to preferring one species over another. Read on to learn what your favorite pet might say about you.
According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, people who have cats are generally more adventurous, artistic, possess greater levels of creativity, and have a higher risk of being anxious than dog lovers. Additionally, cat owners may be more aloof, as this is a personality trait associated with felines in general.
Research shows that dog lovers are extroverts who tend to avoid risks, and feel more secure and less anxious than cat owners. Some suggest that since dogs are generally outgoing, dog owners may pick up that trait as well.
What Determines Preference?
Although there are distinct personality differences between cat lovers and dog lovers, what created the preference in the first place isn’t all that astounding. Overwhelmingly, researchers suggest people tend to prefer the animal they were raised with as children. This means that if your family had a dog while growing up, you are more likely to have a dog in adulthood, whereas if your family had cats, you are more likely to gravitate naturally toward cat ownership.
In addition to familiarity, preference also comes back to geography. Certain geographical locations place increased importance on one animal species or another. For example, many cultures keep cats as pets, while dogs are seen as filthy and often not allowed into homes. In other cultures, dogs are commonly kept as treasured pets while cats are simply utilized to help keep the rodent population at bay.
Finally, the difference between dog lovers and cat lovers can often be chalked up to lifestyle. Active people or families with energetic children are more likely to have a dog who can keep up with their lifestyle, whereas sedentary people, older individuals, or those who live in small spaces such as apartments are likely to have a pet that does not require much exercise, like a cat.
While there are some distinct personality traits associated with favoring cats or dogs, there is a wide margin for error. While some cats are energetic, outgoing, and playful, plenty of dogs are aloof, calm, and self-contained. Because of this, it might be safe to say that pet parents who prefer cats or dogs tend to possess certain personality traits, but it would be a far stretch to claim any sort of cause-and-effect certainty. More likely, people gravitate towards pets that mimic the traits they value. People who are outgoing and energetic want a vivacious pet, while those who are quiet, calm, and creative want a pet that embodies the same.