What our Pets Say about our Personality

The age old battle between pet owners always comes down to which animal is better: a cat or a dog? A recent study found that the answer may depend on the personality of the owner, and that there really is a difference between people who identify themselves as “dog people and “cat people.”

The study from Carroll University suggests that “dog people” are energetic and outgoing, while “cat people” are introverted and sensitive. They found that, “dog people are more likely to conform to the rules, while “cat people” tend to be non-conformists.

However, just because a person owns a cat doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re introverted or nonconformist. The study ultimately concludes that people who identify as a “cat person” are more introverted and likely to enjoy spending more time at home, which makes owning a cat attractive. They may be drawn to cats’ independent nature, while energetic people are attracted to owning dogs, because they like being outside and they can take a dog along with them.

Just as there are personality differences between cat and dog owners, there are regional differences between the two groups.. As the map below shows, cat owners are more likely to live in the northeast, while dog owners are more likely to live in the south. If the map looks slightly familiar, it’s because where cat and dog owners live, falls in line with the electoral map of the 2012 presidential race.

What do our pets say about our personality

States with the highest number of owned cats



2012 Presidential election map











Like previous studies have suggested, personality may dictate their political preferences. Those who believe in closely following the rules are more likely to identify as conservative, whereas, those considered open and non-conformist are more likely to identify as liberal. Those same personality characteristics explain why some people are “cat people” and others are “dog people.” A study published by the American Veterinarian Medical Association found that red states have the highest rates of dog ownership, while blue states have the highest rate of cat ownership.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 164 million households owned pets in 2012. Roughly 62 percent of all American households own at least one pet. The HSUS states that 83.3 million owned dogs, which was edged out by the 95.6 million that owned cats.

With millions of cats and dogs owned by U.S. residents, 41 percent of veterinarians see more than 50 pets in a typical week. They typically work from 40 to 50 hours a week, according to a poll of qSample’s veterinary panel.

Personality traits not only dictate our political leanings, but our choice in pets as well.


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