When it comes to people’s opinions on pets, there are two main categories that pet owners generally fall into – either you’re a “cat person” or a “dog person.”
There are behavioural stereotypes that go along with these two different types of people.
Many assume that cat people must be similar to cats, that being they are independent, more unpredictable, and cautious. On the other hand, dog owners are thought to be extremely loyal, sociable, and friendly.
Interestingly, research has found that there is actually a lot of truth in these stereotypes, and being a self-diagnosed cat lover says a lot about your personality.
Keep reading to find out what your love for cats says about you!
A huge wealth of research has gone into finding out if the stereotypes of “cat people” and “dog people” hold any truth, or whether they are simply old stereotypes that need dispelling.
However, looking at the result of several different studies, it is safe to say that cat lovers do have different personality traits, and here’s how.
1. Cat Owners Are More Intellectual
It turns out that if you own a cat, you are more likely to be smart and stay in education for longer compared to dog owners.
According to a study carried out by psychologists at Carroll University in Wisconsin, cat owners are more intellectual than dog owners, performing higher in IQ tests and generally being more highly educated.
The study looked at several different personality traits of 600 students who identified as either “cat people” or “dog people” and intelligence was the most significant difference between the two groups.
It is thought that this is because cat owners, much like their cats, are more curious and have a keen interest in learning and understanding.
Therefore, while cat owners may not necessarily be smarter than dog owners, their eagerness to learn puts them in a better position to excel on an intellectual level.
However, this does not translate through to income, with the average salary for cat owners being $40,000 per year, compared to dog owners who average at $47,000.
2. Cat Owners Are More Controversial
The same study also found that cat owners are more likely to be controversial and non-conformist, whereas dog owners will be more agreeable.
This is thought to be down to the fact that cat owners, just like their pets, are more independent. Therefore, they are less likely to agree to something simply for the sake of it; they will stand up for what they believe in, even if it ruffles some feather.
This controversy is also related to increased intelligence among cat owners as they are more likely to dig deeply into topics and decide their own opinions, rather than following the crowd.
Therefore, it is unsurprising that cat owners are also less rule-abiding and more likely to go against societal expectations, unlike dog owners who, much like their pets, are better at following commands and sticking to the rules.
If you are a cat owner, you are more likely to stand up for what you believe in, break the rules, and just be yourself, and therefore may stand out from the crowd more.
Because of this trait, if you’re ever looking for a gift for a cat lover then products that scream “cat person” are a great option – cat owners are proud of loving cats despite the cat-dog debate and aren’t afraid to show it!
3. Cat Owners Are More Open-Minded
If you are a “cat person”, you are also likely to be more open-minded and willing to try new things.
This again boils down to being independent and therefore happier and more open to trying something new, even if it means going it alone or without support. They follow their own interests no matter what they may be, rather than blending in with others.
As cat owners are also intellectually curious, they also have a strong desire to try as many new things as possible so that they can continue to learn and expand their knowledge.
If you own a cat, you may have an unusual list of hobbies, or may constantly flit between different ones as you thoroughly enjoy the process of learning and developing new skills.
4. Cat Owners Are More Introverted
According to a study by Texas University in 2010 which surveyed 4,565 volunteers, “cat people” are also more introverted than dog owners, with “dog people” being 15% more extroverted than cat owners.
This makes sense as dog owners have to leave the house every day to walk their dogs, likely chatting to other dog walkers in the park, whereas cat owners can stay snuggled up with their cat all day long if they wish to do so.
Therefore, if you’re a cat person, you’ll likely enjoy time to yourself, avoid large social situations, and are more quiet than outgoing. You’re generally more reserved and aloof.
The age-old “crazy cat lady” stereotype also goes hand-in-hand with this personality trait, as this stereotype usually depicts a single middle-aged woman who prefers cats to people!
This introverted personality trait can also explain the increase in intelligence among cat owners, as they are more likely to enjoy reading and learning and focus more on their career and education than socialising.
5. Cat Owners Are More Creative
According to a global survey of 1,000 pet owners by pet-related product manufacturer Mars Petcare, cat owners are also four times more likely to work in a creative industry than dog owners.
This may have something to do with the fact that cats can help with creative exhaustion, which is where your brain cannot come up with any fresh ideas and you seem to hit a creative block.
Cats are known to relieve stress and boost your mood, as spending time with a cat increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. This calming effect of cats can help you to overcome creative blocks, allowing you to come up with new ideas and excel in a creative project.
Because cats are more independent than dogs and require less attention, “cat people” may also be more creative as they have more uninterrupted time for their creative juices to flow.
If you’re looking for proof that cat people are generally creative, take a look at people in the entertainment industry, such as 10-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift and the likes of Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry, and Cameron Diaz. All of these celebs are self-declared cat lovers!
6. Cat Owners Are More Neurotic
The 2010 University of Texas study also found that owners of cats were 12% more neurotic than dog people, which means you’re more likely to suffer from anxiety and are easily stressed out.
A more recent survey of 1,000 pet owners conducted by the University of California echoes these results.
Therefore, if you worry excessively over project deadlines or being late for a flight or appointment, you are probably a cat person.
Exercise is thought to alleviate stress, and so it is possible that “cat people” are more neurotic than dog owners as they are less active; whereas dog owners generally do more exercise and are more social, cat owners are more likely to stay in.
Does Having These Personality Traits Mean You Will Prefer Cats?
You may be wondering whether these characteristics – intellectual, controversial, open-minded, introverted, creative, and neurotic personality traits – give you a preference towards cats.
However, could it be that perhaps having a cat gives you these personality traits?
According to psychologists, it is impossible to tell, with researcher Katherine Jabobs Baos suggesting “that it could go both ways.” She added, “Personality likely influences our choices to adopt a pet and which pet we choose, but our personality is not fixed, so it could also be influenced by our relationships with others, including our pets.”
For example, if you are already an introverted person, you are more likely to get a pet cat instead of a pet dog as you won’t need to take your cat on walks, thus avoiding unnecessary social interaction.
Similarly, intelligent people may have a preference for cats as they admire their curiosity, the same way that more independent people may not have time to provide the attention that a dog needs and are therefore better suited towards owning a cat.
On the other hand, whereas having a cat won’t necessarily make you more intelligent, creative, open-minded, controversial, introverted, or neurotic, a cat could influence these traits and make them stronger.
For example, as cats require less attention than dogs, cat owners will have more time to put into learning, developing new skills, and trying new hobbies than dog owners. Similarly, the curious and independent personality of your cat may rub off on you over time.
Therefore, the answer is yes – if you exhibit “cat person” personality traits you are more likely drawn towards cats.
That being said, owning a cat may make you develop “cat person” personality traits that you didn’t have before!
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