Tonawanda News

March 11, 2013

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Cat people vs. dog people

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — My cats have the worst breath, but I love them unconditionally. They make me laugh every day with their inquisitive minds and obnoxious behaviors (such as jumping over my bird and sprinting through my legs tripping me as I walk.) 

Even though these annoying behaviors exist, I still have to fight the urge not to walk over and wake them from their cat naps, so they will start playing with me again. Some may say I am a cat person.

There are coffee people and tea people, people who like oranges and people who like apples, and for about 5,000 years there has been a divide between cat people and dog people. 

A 200,000-person survey conducted by Hunch.com matched cat and dog owners with their lifestyle choices back in 2011. They found that dog people were 15 percent more likely to be extroverts, whereas, cat people were 11 percent more likely to be introverts. Dog people were more likely to have a pop song as a ring tone and cat people more likely to cling to friends at a party. Cat people were 17 percent more likely to have a graduate degree and dog people were 11 percent more likely to support cloning, but for animals or their pets, rather than humans. For the humor category, dog people preferred slap-stick comedy and cat people enjoy ironic humor and puns.

Do any of these ring true for you?

The study also found that dog people were more likely to consider Paul McCartney their favorite Beatle while cat people were 25 percent more likely to consider George Harrison their favorite, which is a strange correlation to consider.

Both cat and dog owners talk to all animals like they are people, dislike animal print clothing and are equally likely to have a 4-year degree.

The last time you were asked if you were a cat person or a dog person, you probably were able to respond quickly. The reason why you gravitate towards a certain type of animal could be how you where raised. Apartment residents are more likely to have cats and people living in more rural areas are more likely to have large dogs.

Parents with young children (and white picket fences) are more likely to have highly energetic dogs — to tire their children out. Single people and older people are more likely to have minimalist cats.

Harold Herzog, an anthrozoologist studying human-animal relationships at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., said that, “If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you’re more likely to be a cat person. Dogs there are very rarely pets because they’re considered vermin.” So geography also plays a role. (Being an anthrozoologist sounds like a pretty amazing job for the record.)

In addition to hunch.com — real scientists — from the University of Texas showed that there really is a difference between cat and dog people.

Dog people were more extroverted, more agreeable and more careful than self-described cat people. Those who love cats were found to be less traditional, more creative and more neurotic.

Interestingly all of these characteristics for either cat people or dog people seem to be clichés and stereotypes. Cat people are introverts, although I professionally speak to hundreds of strangers a day about animals and it doesn’t phase me. Public speaking should be more of a dog person characteristic. Like dog people I enjoy going to the beach and exercising but I consider myself creative and artistic like cat people. I also laugh when slap-stick humor occurs, if done tastefully. 

So I guess I am not a cat person completely, and not a dog person entirely either. I would say I am a Kenny-person.

Kenny Coogan has a B.S. in animal behavior. Please email your questions to birdbehaviorconsultant@yahoo.com, or search for "Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan" on Facebook.