The age-old battle of claiming to be a ‘dog person’ or ‘cat person’ has long been said to reveal the nature of one’s personality. But is there truth to that theory? One 2017 research study suggests that cat lovers are more intelligent and self-reliant when compared to dog lovers. (1)
While it’s obvious that cats and dogs each have their own personalities, the same goes for their owners. The study concluded that dog people and cat people do in fact score differently on specific personality traits and intelligence. Could it be that crazy cat ladies aren’t so crazy after all?!
The Difference between Cats and Dogs
A study surveying 600 participants included both dog and cat lovers while questioning what they found the most attractive in their pets. In addition to the questions about their pets, the surveyed participants answered a number of questions to assess their personalities and general intelligence. While 60% of the students surveyed claimed to be solely dog lovers, only 11% claimed to be purely cat people. The remainder of the participants chose ‘both cats and dogs’ or ‘neither.’ To isolate ‘dog people’ and ‘cat people’ the study eliminated the ‘both’ and ‘neither’ responders, and therefore retained 418 participants.
The results of the survey found dog lovers to be overall extroverted in comparison to cat lovers. They were livelier, more energetic, and more outgoing, whereas cat lovers were introverted, more open-minded, and more sensitive. It was concluded that dog lovers were more apt to closely follow rules, while cat people preferred to be non-conformists and advantageous. In addition to the personality results, dog lovers stated that companionship was the most attractive quality in their dogs, while cat lovers preferred affection. (1)
The range in personality differences is believed to be due to the environments that are preferred in both cat or dog people. Study researcher Denise Guastello, associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin explained the difference stating, “It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog, whereas, if you’re more introverted and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk.” (2)
Highly Intelligent Cat Lovers
Further discussing the study, psychoanalyst Steve McKeown, founder of MindFixers organization and Mckeown Clinic said, “Cat people tend to stand for what they think – no matter what the environment says, which may indicate that they are more independent. The survey also reveals that those who like cats, in general, have higher intelligence and are more educated. They have a greater chance of complete university studies.” (3)
Mckeown believes that because dogs are not as independent as cats, cat owners have more free time for things like studying and working. As if the battle between cats and dogs wasn’t enough to divide the masses, it’s safe to assume this study will only generate more competition. However, with only 418 participants in the survey, dog lovers will most likely still protest these result. This dog lover is not yet convinced.