Why You're a Dog Person or Cat Person

Your personality and your pet are more interconnected than you think.

Being a "cat person" or a "dog person" feels like one of those things that's merely coincidental: some people just know they prefer the company of cats, while others love having Man's Best Friend at their side. However, it turns out that your pet preference may be more closely tied to intrinsic parts of your personality than you'd imagined.

Research findings presented at the Association for Psychological Science annual meeting reveal that, much like their animals, dog lovers tend to have more energy and a more outgoing personality than those who favor cats. However, despite the fact that dogs tend to be the goofier, more excitable, and more rambunctious of the two pets, their owners are, in some ways, more straight-laced. The study results reveal that dog owners tend to stick to the rules more than their cat-loving counterparts.

In contrast, cat lovers favored taking a practical approach to problem-solving, even if it sometimes meant bending the rules to do so. However, much like their pets, cat lovers were more sensitive and reserved than those who prefer dogs. As for what each group gets out of interactions with their pet, the answers weren't as different as you might expect: dog lovers favored companionship, while cat fans enjoyed affection.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found similar results, although they additionally discovered that those who self-identified as dog people were more conscientious, more agreeable, and less neurotic than cat fans. Cat people were, much like their preferred pets, showed a perplexing mixture of openness and introversion.

While having a cat or dog can lower your blood pressure, improve your heart health, and help you live longer, it seems as though dog lovers may have the upper hand in the long run. In fact, researchers at the University of East Anglia and the University of Cambridge's Centre for Diet and Activity Research found that dog owners were more physically active and less sedentary, even in inclement conditions. Other reviews of research have also revealed that even dog owners who don't regularly walk their pets tend to get more exercise than those without a canine companion at home. Need more convincing to check out your local shelter? The 15 Amazing Benefits of Adopting a Pet might just have you convinced.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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