At some point, we all come across polarizing questions like, “love or money?” A classic example along the similar lines would be, “Are you a dog person, or a cat person?” Dogs and cats are best friends to humans, but wouldn’t it be interesting if we could determine personalities based on our animal preferences? In fact, there are studies that look at personality traits based on just this; “dog versus cats.”
Compassionate Dog People & Free-Spirited Cat People
According to the “Big Five personality traits”, our personalities can be categorized into five:
4. Openness to Experience
Using this model, the following results were found about dog and cat lovers :
- Dog-people scored overall higher on “Agreeableness” compared to cat-people.
- Cat-people scored overall higher on “Openness to Experience” compared to dog-people.
“Agreeableness”, which represents the person’s compassionate and cooperative spirit, were higher in dog-people rather than cat-people. This means that dog-people actively seek meaningful relationships and connections with other humans. On the other hand, cat-people scored higher on “openness”, which represents the person’s independence and curiosity. It seems that cat-people tend to have a stronger sense of individuality and creativity compared to dog-people.
Dog People Love to Receive Praises
Now, let’s look at detailed personality differences between dog and cat lovers. Study has shown that dog-people have higher “reward dependency” compared to cat-people. “Reward dependence” is a trait that seeks out relationships and connections, while having the desire to be appreciated by others. (It’s important to note that “reward” here doesn’t necessarily mean material gifts. It points to intangible rewards we obtain through meaningful human relationships.) If you know of a person who cares about social media likes, they could be more of a dog person who feels the need of approval.
Cat People are Good at Rising to the Occasion
The cat-people personality results are rather interesting. Study participants who wanted cats expressed greater degrees of extroversion in public situations compared to their private. In other words, cat lovers were introverts in private situations but were capable of presenting themselves as extroverts in public situations. They were great at rising to social occasions only when they needed to. Perhaps cat-people are like jack of all trades, changing their outward impressions based on the situation and how they want to be perceived.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
It’s intriguing to think that our favorite animals can determine aspects of our personalities. One theory suspects that this happens due to the influence of similarities. Let me explain what I mean by that.
Below are the summary of the characteristics as mentioned above.
- Dog-people: Cherishes connection and cooperation with others. Loves to receive praises and approvals.
- Cat-people: Prefers to do things their own way. Changes how they want to interact depending on the situation.
What do you think? These personality traits closely describe how we view dogs and cats themselves. There’s a possibility that we tend to gravitate towards the animal that closely represents our own interests and personality traits. In other words, your personality doesn’t become more cat-like because you like cats. Rather, you gravitate towards cats because you see a bit of yourself in them. This would make a lot of sense!
Did anything ring true? Of course, everything in this article is based on general statistics and tendencies, so it’s not a definitive trait for every cat and dog person on earth. The next time you meet someone new, ask them about their animal preferences. It could reveal some hints about their personality!
Saito, A. (2010). Personality Differences Between Cat-lovers and Dog-lovers. Annual convention of the Japanese Psychological Association proceedings, 74, 21.
Saito, A., Nakamura, T., Hirashi, K., & Hasegawa, T. (2011). Personality Differences Between Cat-lovers and Dog-lovers (2). Annual convention of the Japanese Psychological Association proceedings, 75, 40. doi: 10.4992/pacjpa.75.0_1EV020
Tajima, T. (2017). Personality Characteristics of Dog-Lovers and Cat-Lovers: Multiplicity of Personality and Similarity to Personality of Pet. The Japanese Journal of Personality, 26(2), 109-120. doi: 10.2132/personality.26.2.5