A tale as old as time: cat lovers pitted against dog lovers in a battle over who’s really got life figured out. Assumptions have been made and stereotypes created in attempts to settle the score in the past, but science has come to the rescue to set the record straight. The definitive answer? Well, it’s still a bit biased depending on your stance. Why? Because just like they do in pet preference, cat and dog lovers seek and prefer different qualities in life and relationships than dog people. In a study of 600 college students, researchers found that each group shared similar (maybe controversial) characteristics according to their furry friend of choice. Allow me to explain with a list of the 10 most significant differences between dog lovers and cat lovers that were pulled from this study!
1. Dog lovers listen
Not too surprisingly, dog people tended to be more obedient in nature. According to an article in the Huffington Post, dog lovers “followed the rules more closely”, while cat lovers “tended to be non-conformists, preferring to be expedient rather than follow the rules”. Those of you who’ve ever tried to call your cat to you when you have company over probably understand this one.
2. Cat lovers are smart
This is where things get controversial. In the study, cat people scored higher on the test of intelligence than dog people. While this doesn’t necessarily hold true to all people in each group, higher intelligence test scores tended to fall within the cat-people category.
3. Dog lovers keep things lively
Live Science’s article on this same study also noted that dog people were more lively. Meaning that they were friendlier and more energetic. Cat people, on the other hand, didn’t seem to carry the same qualities as frequently in the study.
4. Cat lovers keep an open mind
As with the intelligence finding, this doesn’t necessarily mean that dog owners are the opposite. Rather, cat people were more consistently found to be a bit more open minded than were the dog lovers. This was based on general appreciation of art, unusual ideas, adventure, and an overall sense of curiosity and experience.
5. Dog lovers love people
It’s no secret, cats can be a bit standoffish. In this same way, their owners tend to be less outgoing as well. Dog owners, however, were found to enjoy the company of others more. A potential reason for this was offered by the Huffington Post, noting that the lifestyle of a dog owner is a bit more active to begin with as owners take their pets outside and to parks where they have more opportunity to socialize with others.
6. Cat lovers seek affection, dog lovers look for companionship
Maybe not so surprising but interestingly noted in the Live Science article was that cat people seek affection from their pets while dog people were more after companionship. Study researcher Denise Guastello notes on this that “It’s possible that people may select pets based on their own personality. For example, cats are often seen as independent animals that keep to themselves, and are cautious of others.”
7. Cat lovers are sensitive
Often times, people see sensitivity as a bad thing. This isn’t necessarily the case. Cat people were found to be more sensitive in this study, while dog owners showed fewer signs of sensitivity in provided tests.
8. Dog lovers represent a larger portion of people
Live Science reported that 60% of study respondents said they preferred dogs while just 11% reported a preference for cats (the rest said they either like both animals equally or didn’t like either animal). Looks like dog owners win the popularity vote!
9. Cat lovers prefer solitude
According to research reported by Modern Dog magazine, cat owners were one third more likely to live alone and twice as likely to live in an apartment or flat. Dog ownership was more closely related to living in a house with a spouse and/or family members.
10. Dog lovers are dominant
In the same study reported on by Modern Dog magazine, researchers noted that cat owners tended to possess fewer qualities associated with dominance than dog owners. These qualities included assertiveness, self-confidence, forcefulness, and persistence.