Do you know the difference between the personalities of “cat people” and “dog people”?

This time the article is about the human animal.

Many people have no problem answering the question whether they are a “cat person” or “dog person”. Some are attracted to dogs’ attachment and obedience, others to the grace and independence of cats. Sometimes it’s about other features, associations or stereotypes, or even just an inexplicable feeling.

Dogs are pack animals, while domestic cats descend from solitary animals and generally speaking dogs and cats differ in personality traits. So, one might expect that people who prefer one over the other would also differ in personalities. But if so, how?

Researchers from the USA decided to check this using an internet personality test and questionnaire. More than 4.5 thousand people from different countries filled in the Big Five Inventory* assessing five main personality traits. Afterwards they answered the question whether they identify themselves as “a dog person”, “a cat person”, “a dog and a cat person” or “neither”.

More than half of the respondents identified themselves as either a cat person or dog person. And their personality scores were indeed different. Dog people (independent of their gender) were more extroverted, agreeable, conscientious and emotionally stable, but less open to experiences (see figure below). Of course, these are only average scores and for sure there are very agreeable cat people or antagonistic dog people.

And what about the people who identify as “a dog and cat person” or as “neither”? Generally speaking, they were more similar to dog people, except that “dog and cat people” were more open to experience, and those choosing “neither” were less extroverted.

Results of personality test for men and women identifying themselves as a cat person or a dog person – for people who want to check their own results* with the averages (results from Big Five inventory that gives results in 1-5 scale; after Gosling et al. 2010)

I decided to test myself to see whether I’m closer to the average dog or cat person (looking only at women’s scores). In most categories I was much closer to dog people, in neuroticism I just in-between can and dog people, and only my introversion is closer to cat people. And this actually matches my preferences. Most of my life I would, without hesitation, have said that I’m a dog person. Dogs are so friendly, sociable and faithful. However, recently cats are becoming more attractive to me, but I’m not sure why.

* Most online tests I found use different questionnaires. I only found the Big Five Inventory here.

Photos: Cat – Japheth Mast, Dog – Daria Shevtsova,

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