Cat People vs. Dog People: Is There a Difference?

November 15, 2017 3 min read

Cat People vs. Dog People: Is There a Difference?

Science tells us there is indeed a difference! And it may have nothing to do with which species we share our space with.

To learn more, Sam Gosling, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, conducted a study of 4,500 participants. Each one self-identified as either adog person or acat person.Here is what Gosling discovered:

  • Dog people tend to be more outgoing and social.
  • Cat people score better in creativity and openness.
  • Dog people show up as more extraverted and conscientious.
  • Cat people rank higher on independence and intelligence.

There’s more to thedog person/cat person discussion than native personality traits though.

After all, we may perceive dog people as outgoing only because they congregate at dog parks. As for us cat people, was there ever any misgiving about our striking intelligence and sparkling creativity?

But how do people decide to identify ascat people or asdog people in the first place?

Dr. John Bradshaw, an anthrozoologist at the University of Bristol, has an answer. He says many people who identify asdog people believe themselves to be masculine and decisive, qualities we assign to dogs.Cat people, on the other hand, view themselves as feminine and independent, attributes associated with cats.

In other words, we identify our perceived selves with the idealized version of a dog or a cat.

Column Five Media gives further details in a helpfulinfograph, which tells us that:

  • 26% of people have dogs, 16% enjoy life with cats, and 13% are brave souls who keep both—whatJackson Galaxy calls beingbipetual.
  • Dog people are more likely to be conservative men who have kids and own a home in the country.
  • Cat people skew toward being liberal women with graduate degrees who rent a pad in the city.
  • Cat lovers tend to be introverts who prefer individual competition over team sports. Dog lovers like outdoor activities and enjoy being the life of the party.

All that information suggests thathaving a dog or cat andbeing a dog or catperson could be related. But in fact, a city-dwelling dog lover may choose to keep a cat because it’s a lower maintenance animal. And a cat lover who lives alone may opt for a dog’s companionship because of dogs’ protective nature.

Dogs have earned their reputation as outgoing types by looking fetching on the end of a leash and slobbering on an extended hand. It’s cats, however, whorule cyberspace. Cat-related searches are among the post popular on the internet, and social media sites likeInstagram fill up with cute cat pics. Feline internet celebrities likeGrumpy Cat,Li’l Bub, andCole & Marmalade draw millions of fans. But who knows of a dog who’s an internet celebrity? Then again, introverts have ruled the web since its inception, and there’s no sign that we’re abdicating the internet throne.

Maybe what we perceive as “outgoing” or “introverted” is situational rather than static. Personality differences, like the ongoing feud over dogs and cats as pets, can even tickle our funny bone, like thisgenius diary of a dog and a cat. And they add spice to life.

A peek into lists of dog-and- cat- lovers isn’t instantly revealing aboutdog people/cat people differences, either. Famous dog people have included Sir Isaac Newton, Ivan Pavlov, and Barbara Bush. Celebrity cat lovers count among them Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, and (ironically) Snoop Dog.

So what can we make of all that?

There’s something to be said for the science and psychology of being adog person or acat person. Andit was Ann Taylor who said it. “Dogs eat. Cats dine.”

What about you? Are you adog person, acat person, or abipetualist? If you don’t know, take this Buzzfeed quiz and find out.

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