Our family is divided on the cat versus dog argument. We grew up with a dog, whom we all loved, but my father was adamant that he loved cats. My mother wouldn’t have a bar of it. And so began the war of pet owners and pet lovers.
For years we have stereotyped each other – cat people are serious, refined and aren’t too fun whereas dog people are crazy, unorganised and don’t like to be serious. Our claims have had no scientific basis – until now.
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and California State University, East Bay have found that different pet owners do have different personality traits according to new research. Apparently, people who own cats tend to be more creative, adventurous and anxious. Dog owners however, tend to be more extroverted, secure and risk averse.
For the study, published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, over 1000 pet owners across the country were surveyed about the interaction with their pets and their own psychological traits, most importantly the “big five” – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
Interestingly the study found that those who showed their pets the most affection were coincidentally, the most neurotic.
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Mikel Delgado, a doctoral student who led the research said, “The fact that higher levels of neuroticism are associated with affection and anxious attachment suggests that people who score higher on that dimension may have high levels of affection and dependence on their pets, which may be a good thing for pets”.
This is due to the “helicopter parenting” nature neuroticism brings so they may be more sensitive to notice when their pets are sick or hungry, but more research is needed to confirm this theory.
You can watch the video the team put together here and tell us, are you a cat person or a dog person? Does the research seem true for you?