Photo by mickeymox (Flickr)
Recently I wrote an article on the ownership of cats in the UK. It was about the type of families and people who kept cats and the number of cats in the UK. A notable point was that more intelligent people kept cats! (see the article here). The article on this page is based on research by Stanley Coren, Ph.D, published in Psychology Today. It is about the personality differences between cat and dog owners and it concerns Americans.
Casual observation tells us that dog people are different to cat people but there is a large overlap as the dividing line is grey and blurred. So when we talk of dog people and cat people we are talking about people at the ends of the spectrum. However, it is said that the personality traits of cats and dogs are reflected in their human companions. The more sociable dog being owned by the more sociable person and the more solitary cat being company for the more solitary and independent person. Sometimes dog people also look like their dogs!
Where possible, I like to present this kind of information in a table because it can be accessed more quickly and people surfing the internet like to find the info fast. Below is a summation of Dr. Coren's research. The research was based on:
- An internet study by Sam Gosling in which 4,565 individuals were asked questions about their preferences and personality traits (comment: how accurate is that - people don't self assess their character very accurately do they?)
- Separate research by Dr. Coren (6,149 people, aged 16 to 94)
|The People||The numbers||The Comment|
|Percentage of people who like dogs a lot.||74%||Does this square up with ownership? ANSWER: there are 77.5m dogs and 93.6m cats - (2009-10) in the USA. This is due to multi-cat households.|
|Percentage of people who like cats a lot.||41%|
|Percentage of people who disliked dogs a lot.||2%|
|Percentage of people who said they disliked cats a lot.||15%||Is this due to misunderstandings about the cat and/or that cat people are more likely to be independent (outsiders)?|
|Extroverted people.||Dog people are 15% more extroverted and 13% more "agreeable".|
|Tend to be introverted people.||Cat people.|
|Tend to be "cool" people.||Cat people.|
|People lower in dominance||Cat people|
|Good, straightforward people who tend to trust others||Cat people.|
|Conscientious people.||Dog people are 11% more conscientious.|
|Neurotic people.||Cat people are 12% more neurotic.||Disagree strongly!|
|Open people.||Cat people are 11% more open leading to greater chance of unconventional beliefs.||Dog people are therefore more closed and more narrow minded.|
|People living alone.||Cat owners 33% more likely to live alone.||Family set up more likely to have dog(s) or dogs and cats.|
|Single woman.||Most likely person to have a cat.|
|Children raised in house with cats||47% of these people likely to have cats as adults|
|Children raised in house with dogs||11% of these people have a cat only as an animal companion.|
Dr. Coren says that dogs are more sociable and will play for longer. Yes, dogs are pack animals but I have found that cats are not almost "invisible" as he says but I see his point. And my cat out plays me often. My cat calls for me and demands attention. Obviously the personality of the cat and dog varies, which blurs the boundary between the behaviour of these animal companions.
The Difference Between Dog and Cat Owners -- Dr. Coren's conclusions
- Dog people: more social, interactive and accepting
- Cat people: more introverted, self-contained and less sociable
Take this as you will. It is here for the record only and there will be many disagreements. Bearing in mind that more intelligent people like cats it may be that these people end up being unhappy about other peoples' behavior and become more recluse, finding companionship in a cat that is less demanding on their time and allowing themselves to pursue their interests.
The Difference Between Dog and Cat Owners -- Links
- XXX - link broken and removed Oct 2012
- From The Difference Between Dog and Cat Owners to Cat Facts
- To original Flickr photo