PETS & PERSONALITY
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
4 March 2021
As far as I’m concerned, there are four types of people in this world. They are dog people, cat people, dog and cat people, and others. Since I’m allergic to cats and therefore never owned one, I self-identify as a dog-person.
I’ve had dogs as pets for my entire life. My younger self grew up with Portia the Pomeranian mix. In my adolescence, my family dogs were Roxy the Poodle/Jack Russell mix and Chip the Jack Russell. Within a month of moving out of my family home, I became the proud owner of Tar the Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix. And five years later came my big guy, Crush, the Great Dane. These five dogs hold a special place in my heart, and they’ve certainly played a big part in forming my personality traits along the way.
What Does Science Say?
A study done in 2010 explored the differences between the four types of people in the world. The study shows dog people tend to be more extraverted, agreeable, and conscientious. And cat people tend to be more neurotic and open. The significance of this information compared to life outcomes of personality traits is where this kind of study gets interesting. Extraversion is associated with greater positive emotionality and neuroticism is associated with greater negative emotionality. Hence, cat people, being more neurotic and less extraverted than dog people, might tend to be unhappier in general.
Sorry, Cat People
While one study cannot determine individual experiences, it can generalize. And I must admit to being glad I’m a dog person after reading about this one. As the professor and writer Mary Bly is known to say, “Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later.” Perhaps there is something calming or happiness-inducing about knowing where you stand. There is joy in coming home and seeing your dog wag his tail with excitement. You get a rush of happiness when you call your pooch, and he stands by your side. And while I’m sure there are many reasons why being a cat person is enjoyable, you don’t get the fierce loyalty and unwavering support. And sometimes you must question where you stand with your feline companion.
I’ve always been a dog person, but now I know why. Loyalty and unconditional love will always come before fastidiousness and aloofness in my world.
Now please excuse me while I go rub the bellies of my two canine companions.