Hands up who has never lived with a pet whether as a child or as an adult. Chance encounters aside, the adoption of a dog or a cat is usually determined by personality or lifestyle of the owner and, of course, by their preferences. This is confirmed by research conducted in 2014 by a team led by Denise Guastello, a psychology teacher at Carroll University. 200,000 people were surveyed to discover if there are some innate characteristics of dog and cat owners; surprisingly, the survey revealed that aspects such as sense of humour, the level of education and social behaviours affected their pet choices.
Dog lovers: expansive and cheerful
Do pets reflect their owners and vice versa? Probably! According to the research from Carroll University, dog owners are more extroverted and sociable than cat owners. This personality fits perfectly with the social nature of a dog, which loves to be part of a group and considers its human partner its true pack leader. Dogs are expansive in their gestures of affection – licking, tail wagging and presenting their paws for attention while their owners are expansive in their personality and humour – a perfect match! Surely, openness to friendship is the hallmark a dog lover, as lead researcher Denise Guastello, describes: “It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog.”
Cat lovers: independent and sarcastic
Cat owners have features compatible with the nature of their favourite pet too. Introverted and passionate about solitary hobbies such as reading, cat owners generally have a higher level of education and a subtle sense of humour in which sarcastic speech prevails. The likeness to their owners is immediately obvious thanks to the innate characteristics of a cat, a relational animal, that is autonomous but not an opportunist. Guastello explains: “If you’re more introverted, and sensitive, and you’re more at home reading a book, a cat will be your kindred spirit as it doesn’t need to go out for a walk or to socialise.”
Which of the two animal owner personalities do you see in yourself? Whichever your orientation, living with a pet – dog or cat – is a rewarding experience.