Are you a Cat Person or a Dog Person?

Do you love the sound of Meow or Woof?

Recently while taking my two young granddaughters out to eat I was privileged to eavesdrop on their conversation. Allie, the youngest, stated that she was a dog person. She plans to have four dogs; one or two would be therapy or service dogs. Allie also loves horses, cats and all animals but she is a “self-identified” dog person. She looks at a dog and it’s an instant sibling-style connection. Her cousin, Laura, wasn’t sure if she is a cat person or a dog person. She loves her pet rats, and her other grandmother’s dog, Fritz. It takes a while for my cats to warm up to her but she likes them. She also loves horses. At this point I was included in the conversation. She stated emphatically “Grandma, you’re a cat person.” And I said, yes!

Later, reflecting on the conversation, I thought back to my pet experiences as a child. I was fortunate to have had dogs, cats, rabbits and birds as pets. I also had lots of opportunities to be around with cows, pigs, chickens, and goats. Yet cats hold a special spot in my heart.  I describe myself as an animal/pet lover but I identify myself as a cat person – there is a special connection.

Researchers are beginning to study the connection between personality and pet preference. There is increasing evidence suggesting that there are distinct personality differences between cat people and dog people. One study, Gosling-Potter Internet Personality Project, led by psychologist Samuel Gosling, University of Texas at Austin included about 4,500 participants who answered questions using the Big Five model to assess personality. The areas are:

Extraversion – talkative, energetic, assertive
Agreeableness – sympathetic, kind, affectionate
Conscientiousness – organized, thorough
Neuroticism – tense, moody, anxious
Openness – having wide interests, being imaginative

The volunteers in this study completed the personality test first and then self-identified themselves as a cat person, a dog person, both, or neither. The results: 46% dog people; 12% cat people, 27% both, and 15% as neither.

Some of the findings:
Extraversion: Dog people were 15% more extroverted than cat people. What it means: Outgoing, enthusiastic, positive, energetic
Agreeableness: Dog people were 13% more likely to be agreeable than a cat person. Agreeable people tend to be trusting, altruistic, kind, affectionate, and sociable
Conscientiousness: Dog people were 11% more conscientious than cat people. What it means: Self-disciplined, strong sense of duty, tend to be “planners”
Neuroticism: Cat people were 12% more neurotic than dog people. Neurotic people are: Easily stressed, anxious, worriers
Openness: Cat people were 11% more likely to be open. Open people tend to be curious, creative, artistic, nontraditional thinkers open to trying new things.

Interesting results – as a cat person I wasn’t sure I liked them until I got to the last section.  Yes, Laura, I still identify as a cat person!

What about you? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at and share your thoughts with us.


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