Dino is a five month old purring motor machine. He has a soft white and grey tabby coat and a heart of gold. Dino loves, absolutely loves to spend time with you. Dino will stay in your lap as long as you want his attention. He soaks up the petting and sends out a purring message of “This is great. We were meant for each other. Don’t stop.” Dino is playful and friendly with other cats and would be okay with a friendly dog. Dino would be excellent with children. He is waiting for the adopter who wants the full package in one cat.
People often describe themselves as a “Cat Person” or a “Dog Person.” What does that mean? Is there really a difference or is it only lifestyle and familiarity with one species or the other?
There are countless quizzes and surveys on the internet that try to determine if you are in fact a Cat or Dog Person. They ask questions like: What do you mostly like to do? What is your favorite sport? What do you think about being outdoors? What do you do on a Saturday night? Just what are they trying to get at besides your personal information in these questions?
A recent study at Bristol University in England found that people with a college degree or higher were more likely to own cats than dogs. Of the 2,524 households polled, 47 % of those with a cat had at least one person educated to a degree level versus 38 % of homes with dogs. They also acknowledged that this trend may “have something to do with working hours. If you’re educated to a higher level, perhaps you’re working a longer day and having a longer commute to work and don’t have time to care for a dog.” The study showed no significant difference in household income and the choice of a cat or dog.
A study at the University of Texas in Austin tested 4,565 volunteers on the so-called “Big Five” personality dimensions: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The study did find differences between those who described themselves as cat or dog people, but it didn’t portray one to be more positive than the other.
Those who self-identified as “Dog People” were 15 % more extraverted, 13 % more agreeable and 11 % more conscientious than their cat-loving counterparts. “Cat People” were 11 % more open and 12 % more neurotic. Conscientiousness (Dog Person) refers to thinking before acting and planning. Openness (Cat Person) refers to the willingness to try new things. These two findings complement the Bristol University study because conscientiousness is a predictor of high school success and openness is a predictor of college success.
Both studies indicated that having a pet is both an expression of identity, in that a pet choice can send deliberate signals, as well as a thought and feeling regulator. Similar to music selection, it suggested that choosing different pets might mimic a certain feeling or thought process. “If you want a quiet companion, you might have a cat, if your want an active companion, you might have a dog.”
“Dog People” tend to be more extroverted and gravitate toward the social pack animal dog and cats seem to complement humans who are more introverted. This seems obvious, but lifestyle and surroundings also come into play. It is much easier to have a cat in the city than it is to have a dog. It becomes a matter of convenience.
Finding the right pet for you is all about where you are in life. Ultimately, find a pet that fits your personality and lifestyle and you will learn to love it’s style of companionship and quirky personality traits. Dog People are often surprised how much they enjoy quiet interaction with a friend’s cat and Cat People often recognize the loving adoration of a dog as a good thing. It’s not about being one or the other. Cats and dogs have much to share with their people.