Dog People Versus Cat People

Survey reveals similarities and differences
By Karen B. London PhD, April 2018

We are more alike than we are different. That’s not just a fact, it’s a perspective on life, and it applies to people with pets. According to a recent survey of 1000 people with dogs and 1000 people with cats, both share a love for their furry family members, regularly take their pets on vacation with them and often eat their meals together. Guardians of both cats and dogs celebrate birthdays and holidays with gifts (though dog people are twice as likely to throw a full party to mark the occasion). People with dogs, as well as those with cats, take their animals into account when planning their weekly schedules.

Though there are differences between cat people and dog people, they are often a matter of degree or frequency. For example, dog guardians have a higher average income than cat guardians. They are more likely to be in the field of finance, and less likely to be in fields that rely strongly on creativity, which is a common place to find cat guardians. People with dogs are more strongly influenced by their pets when making decisions, but people with cats are still influenced—just not as much.

Some differences between these two groups of people have to do with relatively superficial things. People with dogs are more likely to watch horror and action films as well as romantic ones while those with cats have a greater tendency to watch indie films, musicals and documentaries. People with dogs are more likely to be involved in active pursuits such as sports, dancing and travel when contrasted with cat folks, whose hobbies are more likely to be calmer ones such as reading, gardening and writing.

Both dogs and cats provide benefits to people’s health and well-being. With dogs, a large part of that is based on the additional physical activity dogs prompt us to engage in. Cats, though, are more likely to hear their people’s innermost thoughts and feelings, which may be why people with cats credit their pets with lowering their stress to a greater degree than people with dogs do.

Although studies comparing cat people and dog people repeatedly appear, they rarely investigate the many people who share their lives with both dogs and cats. They may not be the most accurate pieces of research, but they are sure fun to read.

In what ways do you match or not match the profile of a dog person presented in this study?

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.

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