Your pet says a lot more about you than you realise! 137



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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.

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?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Don’t like cats at all. Can confirm about neurotic dog owners first hand. Friend has three of the most neurotic dogs I have seen for a while. They may be happy but you can’t convince me it’s natural for the dogs. I have .just now received an email from a friend visiting Spain who reports they have the best behaved dogs he has ever seen. Just thought I would throw that in.

  2. After reading that, I’m neurotic!!! My dogs are my life. I am always fussing over them. They follow me everywhere…..even to the loo. I grew up a cat person, but my partner doesn’t like cats. When we move later this year he said we can get a cat. It won’t stop there though. We’re getting another dog, a couple of alpacas and I’m hoping to get involved in farm animal rescue.

    2 REPLY
  3. Like both but prefer dogs as they are more loyal, cats take off after you feed them then come back in time for the next meal, dogs stay with you.

  4. I have the most beautiful Burmese cat CocoBelle who I wouldn’t trade for anything she follows me round the house and when she wakes me up in the morning she always brings me a toy, is is a real joy, I do like dogs but my place us not big enough to have one it would be cruel

  5. I like both. Had dogs growing up because my mother doesn’t like cats. Had cats when I got married but now have a dog.

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