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May 30, 2012 at 9:35 AMComments: 6 Faves: 0

Understanding the Difference between a Dog-Person and Cat-Person

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

The age-old question: Are you a dog-person or a cat-person and does it really matter? I like Jackson Galaxy's (famous cat behaviorist) terminology: "I'm a cat guy, I'm a dog guy. I'm 'bi-petual.'"

The self-proclaiming dog-person or cat-person leads me to ask what all the argument is about.  The argument is the personality qualities and traits each animal has that we sometimes find in ourselves. The likeness between us and the pets we own is, unarguably, very real.

So, let's take a look at some of these personality and characteristic traits between the two animal species and ourselves:

According to a web based study done by a graduate student at the University of Texas, he found that dog-people were a little more conscientious than cat people. This means dog-people tend to be more "self-disciplined, to complete tasks, and aim for achievement. The trait shows a preference for planned rather than spontaneous behavior." That is so me, I am totally a Dog-Person! But wait, I have cats too!

The study shows that cat-people "were generally more neurotic; however, they were more open than dog people." I definitely can have "neurotic" moments, does this make me a Cat-Person, or can I be both?

Now I am suffering from a pet personality-dysfunction. Is there such a thing? I am so confused and don't know whether I am a dog-person or a cat-person!

The study shows that people that own both dogs and cats tend to lean more to the traits of a dog-person than a cat-person. So according to the study I have more dog-person traits going on in me than cat-person traits.

I know I am picking fun at this, but some people really take this dog-person vs. cat-person to extreme levels. Many dog-people go as far as saying they "hate cats." Why? I want to know what horrible experience a cat has inflicted on them to actually "hate" them. In many cultures, one species is more valued then the other. But hating one over the other, I find this a bit extreme.

Here are some more traits found between the two:

Cat-people are more appreciative of art, emotional, adventurous, have unusual ideas and imagination, are more curious, and have had a variety of experiences. As well as holding more unconventional beliefs, while a dog-person tends to be more conventional and has traditional interests.

Did you know that more dog-people would be willing and open to take in a kitten and keep it, then cat-people taking in a puppy? According to another survey done by the University of Texas, 68% of cat ONLY owners said they would NEVER take a puppy if given to them compared to 70% of dog ONLY owners said they would HAPPILY take in a kitten if given to them. This study concluded that more dog-people also own cats and cat-people tend to be cat only owners.

There are more dog owners then cat owners in the United States and dog-people tend to live in suburbia, in houses with yards. However, studies also show that more single women and people that live in apartments or condos tend to be cat-people, and cat-people in general are less likely to be religious.

To break it down easier for you, here are some traits listed by each. Do any of these traits sound like you?

Dog-Person = social, smart, agreeable, conscientious, grateful, friendly, outgoing, obsessive compulsive, active, early-bird, extroverted

Cat-Person = independent, smart, creative, neurotic, adventurous, curious, unappreciative, reserved, sedentary, night-owl, introverted

Arguments over which species is smarter is always at the fore-front of this conflict. I want to share about my pet's personality and characteristic traits a little to see if we can figure out which one is the smartest of the group.

  • Casey (right-side in the picture), my short-hair orange tabby, is bell trained (he rings a bell to go outside), fetches (milk-rings, yes he does bring them back to us and waits for us to throw it again so he can retrieve it), can open cupboards with his paws to access food as well as open our farm-door (which is on spring hinges) and let it slam shut to let us know when he is ready to come inside. That is a pretty smart cat! I even joke sometimes saying Casey is a dog in a cat-suit, because of his many dog-like characteristics.
  • Oliver (left-side in the picture), my long-haired orange tabby, is truly 100% cat. In fact, we refer him to being-like Garfield every now and then! He even lies on top of the dogs (mind you he is a 22 lb cat and the dogs are 8 lbs and 5 lbs) to get them to move off of the couch, which they happily do. Ok, cat-people I know got that one. A scene from Garfield and Odie is consistent within our house, between the three of them.
  • Izzy (right-side in the picture), my mini-Dachshund, knows and understands 14+ commands, but is just as stubborn as a cat on when she wants to listen. If it serves her she will oblige. Izzy is a true hunter, living up to her purebred genes. She has successfully hunted and killed a few critters in our yard (sorry chipmunks and squirrels). However, I've been told and read that cats are the ULTIMATE hunting "machine" holding true to their more natural predatory instincts then dogs, hmmmmmm. Don't get me wrong, Casey and Oliver have caught their fair share of mice and birds too, but does that make them more superior in the hunting aspects?
  • Romeo (left-side in the picture), my Pomeranian, also knows and understands over 10 commands. He is quick to obey and listen to me. He is a very loving and gentle little fur kid. A quirky thing about Romeo is that he is obsessed with cleaning himself like a cat. He LOVES to clean the cats too (and they let him) as well as preferring high spaces to sleep low to the ground. Does that make Romeo a cat in a dog-suit?

By using my pets as an example, does that clarify which species is smarter? I think all my pets are smart. Yeah, some a little more then others, but I don't really feel one species is more superior then the other.

I have come up with my conclusion on whether I am a dog-person or cat-person. I feel that I have a mixture of both personality traits leaning heavier to the dog traits more then cat. So I think it is only fair to refer myself as a "bi-petual," just like Jackson Galaxy!

I hope you had fun reading about some of the characteristic traits and found some in yourself to help you determine whether you are a cat-person or dog-person. Either way, there is no need to get nasty with each other and use words such as "hate" to describe how much you despise another species.  In fact, they are two different species with different personality traits, characteristics and quirks, just like us humans, no two are the same and I LOVE both!


ABC News - Dog People / Cat People - Pet Preference

Modern Dog Magazine - Dog People vs. Cat People

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading


  • I think I'm a cat-person caught in a dog-person's body. Most of the traits of the dog-person describes me, except that I'm introverted. But I prefer cats. They are so much easier and they a laid back, which is my kind of pet. I love cats more than dogs, but dogs seem to love me more than cats do. I guess my personality is kind of split. I KNEW IT!!! (So did I! says my other personality.) ;-)

  • Hmm... I couldn't help but notice that while most of the dog people traits are positive, most of the cat owner traits are negative. We're not that bad, I swear! ;)

  • I'm guessing I'm a pet personality dysfunctional too. Like them both, don't love taking care of any of their eliminations.

    @Erin - I don't think I'd call those negative! "independent, smart, creative, adventurous, curious, reserved, night-“owl”, introverted" don't sound bad to me. Of course, "neurotic, unappreciative, sedentary," don't sound all that great, but dog people have OCD.

  • Yeah, but the dog owner's ONLY negative trait is OCD and I don't know that I'd include "reserved" in the list of cat owner positives. But that's okay. It isn't the crazy dog people you hear about after all. ;)

  • That's funny - I definitely have more of the cat-person traits, but I am SUCH a dog person! I don't dislike cats...I just don't have any desire to own one, and there are some pretty bad cat allergies in my family. I don't know where I got my love for dogs from, but I was begging for one almost since I learned to talk. Yet I am a definite introverted, creative night owl. My puppy sleeps on my bed with me every night and I love her to pieces :)

  • I'm mostly cat-person, except that I'm pretty obsessive compulsive.

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