It’s estimated that 39 percent of U.S. households own dogs and 33 percent own cats. But since dog owners tend to have just one pooch and people who have cats often have more than one, the pet cat population in the United States of 93.6 million is larger than the pet dog population of 77.5 million.
So, what makes someone a "dog person" or a "cat person"? Emerging research suggests that your background, environment, personality, and stage of life help determine whether you are more likely to own a dog or a cat.
Dog People vs. Cat People: What’s the Difference?
If you love animals in general, there’s a good chance that you naturally lean towards either dogs or cats. In a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin, 46 percent of respondents described themselves as "dog people," and just 12 percent were self-described "cat people." Of the remaining respondents, 28 percent described themselves as lovers of both dogs and cats, while 15 percent said that they were neither.
Whatever you think your reasons are for being a dog person or a cat person, you might be surprised to learn just how many factors actually play a part in your preference — and what your dog-loving or cat-adoring tendencies say about you.
The Austin study also surveyed volunteers to find out what types of personality traits were more common in self-proclaimed dog people and cat people. The results found that people who say that they are dog people tend to have more extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious personalities than those who consider themselves cat people. The analysis also revealed that while respondents who described themselves as cat people tended to be more neurotic than dog people, they also tended to be more open to experiencing new things.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom polled households to find out more about cat and dog owners. The researchers found that people who have more education are more likely to own cats and less likely to own dogs. They also found that older people and people who ever lived in a household with a dog were significantly less likely to own a cat. Households with young children were more likely to include cats, while larger households tended to include dogs.
What Your Pet Preference Says About You
As this new evidence emerges, it seems that a person's answer to the question "Are you a dog person or a cat person?" may say a lot about his or her background and personality. Researchers believe it may be that some people naturally mesh better with the characteristics of a dog, and others mesh better with a cat.
If you are a dog person, you may share or be drawn to characteristics common in dogs. Dogs tend to be:
- Silly antics