Are you a dog person or a cat person? It’s likely that you align yourself with one of these labels, and research shows that your preference for one animal or the other reveals a bit about your personality.
Sixty-two percent of U.S. households have a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. Dogs are the most popular pets with 39 percent of U.S. households owning at least one canine, but cats come in second with 33 percent of U.S. households having at least one cat.
But can our choice of furry friend really say something about who we are? Sometimes.
Studies show that we tend to gravitate toward the animals with which we were raised, and factors like age and living space also play a role in pet ownership. Parents with young children are more inclined to have dogs that kids can take outside, while older people and singles are more likely to have lower-maintenance animals like cats. And people in the suburbs are more likely to adopt large dogs, while apartment dwellers are likely to have cats or small dogs.
Still, research shows that there are differences between cat people and dog people. A University of Texas study found that those who define themselves as dog people are more extroverted, agreeable and conscientious than self-proclaimed cat people. Those with a preference for felines, on the other hand, are more creative, adventurous and prone to neuroticism or anxiety.
Your pet might even indicate how you vote. A 2008 Gallup survey of 2,000 Americans found that 33 percent of dog owners identified themselves as Republicans, while only 28 percent of cat owners leaned to the right. But a Hunch.com poll of 200,000 pet owners found the split to be more even. According to its results, dog people are 50 percent more likely to be conservatives than cat people.
However, there are some things that cat people and dog people have in common. Both types of people talk to animals, consider themselves close to nature, dislike animal-print clothing, and are generally optimists.
The Hunch.com survey also found that both cat people and dog people are equally likely to have a four-year degree, but cat people are 17 percent more likely to have completed a graduate degree.
Check out some of the other findings from Hunch.com’s survey below.
Living area preferences:
- Dog people are 30 percent more likely to live in a rural area.
- Cat people are 29 percent move likely to live in an urban area.
Animal rescue leanings:
- Dog people are 67 percent more likely to call animal control if they find stray kittens.
- Cat people are 21 percent more likely to rescue the stray kittens.
- Dog people are 36 percent more likely to use a popular song as a ringtone.
- Cat people are 11 percent more likely to have contacts in both their cellphone and a physical address book.
- Dog people are 24 percent more likely to have kids.
- Cat people are 33 percent more likely to prefer taking care of a friend’s kids than a friend’s dogs.
- Dog people are 18 percent more likely to consider Paul McCartney their favorite Beatle.
- Cat people are 25 percent more likely to consider George Harrison their favorite Beatle.
What makes you laugh
- Dog people are 30 percent more likely to enjoy slapstick humor and impressions.
- Cat people are 21 percent more likely to enjoy ironic humor and puns.
- Dog people are 9 percent more likely to think of zoos as happy place.
- Cat people are 10 percent more likely to be active on Twitter.
Dog people listed “American Idol” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” as their favorite TV shows and “Crash” and “No Country For Old Men” as their top movie choices. Cat people preferred “CSI” and “Real Time With Bill Maher” for TV and listed “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Hurt Locker” as their favorite movies.
But what about those people with both cats and dogs? According to Hunch.com's survey, these people are likely to be female suburbanites who are politically middle of the road.
Related pet stories on MNN:
- Why do cats purr?
- 7 ridiculously expensive cat and dog breeds
- How to choose the right pet for apartment living [Infographic]