I am a dog person. I met my husband at a dog park. Our dogs are considered family members. We take them to work, on vacations when possible, and spare no expense for their medical needs. And while I have a preference for dogs, this is largely determined by my cat allergies. If I wasn’t allergic to cats, I would include felines in our family. But I am also a bird person. We’ve had a handful of birds from parakeets and cockatiels to a Macaw that will outlive us.
If we divide people into just two groups, cat people and dog people, which would you be? You may identify yourself as one or the other based upon preference whether you have a pet or not, whether you had a pet in the past, or whether you have both animals. The assumption is that you acquire a pet because they fit their your personality. While this is not always true, it might provide interesting insight into yourself.
Sam Gosling of University of Texas conducted a study in 2010 on personality traits of each group. Gosling surveyed people on the Five Factor personality traits of openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The researchers concluded that dog people tend to be more social and outgoing (extroverts). They are more energetic. They tend to follow rules closely and like their dogs they are more obedient. Cat people tend to be neurotic, creative, philosophical and nontraditional. They are more introverted, open-minded and sensitive. Cat people also tend to be non-conformist and score higher on intelligence tests than dog people.
Another informal poll by Hunch.com surveyed 200,00 pet owners and matched their responses with lifestyle surveys. They found that dog people are 67% more likely to call animal control if they find stray kittens whereas 21% of cat people are more likely to try to rescue the strays. Although both are equally likely to have a four-year degree, 17% of cat people are likely to have completed a graduate degree. Dog people are 30% more likely to enjoy slapstick humor and impressions. Cat people are 21% more likely to enjoy ironic humor and puns. Both dog and cat people talk to animals of all kinds and both dislike animal-print clothing.
Our lifestyle may dictate our preferences. Cat people are more likely to live alone and in apartments than dog people and dog people are more likely to live in rural areas. Our values may influence our preferences. Cat people are more likely to be atheists than dog people. And interestingly, dog owners tend to skew Republican, while cat owners lean Democrat. What drives us to seek out either a dog or a cat? Dog people are seeking companionship and cat people are seeking affection.
Perhaps you have no interest in pets. Housing, loving, loathing or ignoring a pet is not a definitive statement of your worth as a human being. However, I believe that your treatment of pets indicates a respect or disrespect for life. German philosopher Kant said “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” The abuse of animals is one marker for the mental health disorder psychopathy. Animals can feel pain and suffer, but sociopaths have a general inability to empathize. They are able to inflict pain on animals with no remorse.
But one thing I know about the difference between cat people and dog people, is that cat people miss out on Halloween dog costume contests. Perhaps because dog people are more social, and dogs tend to enjoy social opportunities, they are likely to engage in events such as this.
Rotary Club of Galena is hosting the 1st Annual Canine Contest on Saturday, October 28 from 11:00-1:00. There is a 2 mile dog walk, prizes for best costume and best trick, professional photographers on hand for pet and owner portraits, and hot dogs for lunch. Please join the fun.