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Cat Person or Dog?

The truth behind the personalities

story by Kass Fincher

It’s a question many of us might ask on a first date. It might come after ‘where are you from, what do you do, what’s your favorite color’ – but it may tell more about your personality than any of those queries.

So when you’re asked “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” what do you say? In truth, you might be afraid to answer for fear of the stereotypes that your companion might conjure up – thinking you’re a crazy cat lady, for example. But research has shown that some of our preconceived ideas about the pets we prefer do say something about our own personalities.

It’s well known that owning a dog is a social experience. They need to walk, get exercise and socialize with other dogs and humans. If you want to make friends, you take your dog for a walk every day, and if your pup is cute or unique in looks and/or personality, no doubt you will be stopped for a pet or chin rub – your dog, not yourself.

If you are a cat owner (not a real thing, they actually own us), you’re not likely to take it out for a walk on a leash – you would probably get a stare-down from the kitty, if not one of those eerie scary cat-growls.

And when you leave for work each day, unlike dog owners you probably don’t feel guilty leaving Fluffy at home alone all day. Heck, your cat might actually prefer that solitude to your sometimes annoying attention. As Winston Churchill once said: “Dogs look up to us; cats look down on us.”

It’s interesting that people tend to call dogs “him” and cats “her,” despite their real gender. But that personification does seem to play out to some extent in the research about their owners’ traits and preferences. Psychology Today and the website Thought Catalog spell out some of the differences. Dog people tend to be more social and extroverted than cat people. Despite their gender, dog people tend to see themselves as more masculine, conservative and rule-following than do cat people.

Cat people, on the other hand, were found to be more intelligent, politically liberal, open to new experiences, sensitive and introverted. They’re also more neurotic, probably because kitty does not seek to reassure her owner with licks and kisses. Cat people are more likely to live in apartments, probably because cats are easier to care for in that setting. And cat people are most likely to be single women.

One interesting finding is that dog people are more likely to accept a cat; cat owners flatly refuse to take on a dog. And then there are the people in between (myself included) who like both cats and dogs for their unique differences. These people are called bi-petuals; we go both ways.

The research also claims that, in general, dog people are seeking companionship and cat people are looking for affection. My experience is that both dogs and cats can provide affection, but dogs mostly fill the companionship need. Most cat owners would probably agree that Fluffy is less interested in being with you and more interested in entertaining herself. Why else do we see more cat videos online? Check out internet celebrity Grumpy Cat and join over eight million followers to see why.

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