Althea is a creative writer with an educational background in occupational psychology and personality development.
What Does Your Pet Preference Say About You?
The classic battle of dogs vs. cats: It's a story we see over and over again, not just in our own experiences but also on different media like television shows, movies, literature, and social media.
The ideological opposition of the two species is so strong that it even translates to their owners. There's an ongoing debate about whether a dog or a cat is an ideal pet, and each side is as adamant about their choice as the other.
But is your pet preference really a reflection of your attitude and personality? And how can being a dog or cat person influence your career choices?
A published study, led by Denise Guastello, associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, sought to discover the link between pet preference and personality by conducting a survey with 600 college students. The information they gathered revealed telling signs of the different personality traits of cat and dog owners.
Extraversion vs. Introversion
According to the study, dog people are outgoing and lively. Much like their choice of pet, they love being outdoors, meeting people, having conversations, and engaging in playful activities. It's because of these traits that they often thrive in social gatherings.
From this, we can gather that dog owners would excel more in professions that require socializing, creativity, and energy such as public relations, sales, marketing, sports, and theatre, to name a few.
On the other hand, the study showed that cat people are introverted, preferring solitude over social gatherings. This is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it mean that cat people can't be sociable, creative, or energetic if they choose to be. This just means that cat owners are more at their best in professions that require more concentration and focus such as accounting, finance, science, and research.
Dog people would probably find these jobs a bit boring, but cat people would be in their element and would thrive in these professions.
Trust vs. Caution
Rarely will you see a dog who doesn't immediately take a liking to their new owner. It's not impossible for a dog to love you after ten seconds of meeting you. A great thing about dog people is that they are friendly and loyal. They are very approachable and trusting, which makes them very popular and easily pleased.
However, even though these are good traits to have, dog people can learn a thing or two from the cat lovers. Cats won't immediately love you, but over time, when they find that you are worthy of their trust, you'll be rewarded with their affection. They are more independent and are more cautious of other people, and Guastello said that people with the same outlook would appreciate that in their pet so that it's a better match.
In the career world, cat people would tend to be or aim to be in positions of authority and would make great bosses. Meanwhile, dog people—whether they're leading the team or not —would be great to work with and are excellent collaborators.
Companionship vs. Affection
According to Guastello, people who prefer dogs are those looking for companionship while those who prefer cats are more into affection. Their need for constant companionship could mean that dog people want someone they can work with every step of the way. We can infer that they perform best in teams and as a boss—they will be more willing to delegate and share the load.
Meanwhile, the need for affection may mean that cat people aim more to please and receive recognition for their achievements. They work hard and work well by themselves. Though they would still be able to work effectively in teams, their cautious nature will hinder them from effective collaboration, though how much would still depend on the person. In short, their productivity is better when they work alone and have full control of the task.
Sensitivity vs. Rule Adherence
By nature, cats have a heightened awareness of their surroundings, including people. Following their pet preference, cat owners are more sensitive to other people’s feelings and opinions.
This is not to say that dogs are intentionally insensitive. It’s just that, due to their energetic and outgoing nature, they tend to be less concerned of details and signals, and are more likely to focus on the bigger picture.
Think of it like this: Cats normally stop, assess and prepare before they leap on you while dogs, in their overwhelming excitement to see you, more often jump on you without thinking twice about whether it will hurt you in some way or not.
Applying this in a work setting, cat people would thrive in professions that require resolving conflicts or handling negotiations, such as counselors or advisors. Meanwhile, dog people would be great in situations that need a bit of risk-taking.
Interestingly, though, when it comes to rules, dog people tend to follow them obediently, just like their favorite animal. While cat people wouldn’t hesitate to bend the rules a little or ignore some completely, dog people normally wouldn’t step out of their boundaries. So, in terms of risk-taking, they can more or less be trusted to do it responsibly.
Intelligence and Open-Mindedness
In the study’s most controversial finding, cat people scored higher on intelligence than dog people and were found to be more open-minded as well. Though it’s not necessarily true of all people, we can infer that this result can be connected to the cat owners’ tendency to be introverted.
As mentioned above, dog people would more likely focus on the bigger picture while cat people would be more detail-oriented and would excel more in focused professions involving math and science.
From the study's findings, their different level of intelligence can mean that dog people would most likely be more in tune with abstract thinking than hard logic.
Dominance and Independence
The study also revealed that dog owners possess more qualities associated with dominance such as assertiveness, self-confidence, forcefulness, and persistence. This may be a factor of their outgoing nature. They would more likely influence other people with their beliefs and convince them to act on it.
Again, dog people would make great salesmen and their self-confidence, coupled with their preference for interdependence, shows they would also be great team players.
On the other hand, cat people have a higher sense of independence than dog people. They tend to follow their own path and be more goal-oriented.
Many of us may not have even thought about how our choice of pet may be a reflection of our personalities. The conducted study has been especially enlightening on how our pet preferences can influence or are influencing our career paths.
Were you able to identify with some of the traits revealed in your preference? Let me know in the comments section!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Althea del Barrio
Althea del Barrio (author) from Manila, Philippines on August 25, 2020:
Thanks, Cynthia! I agree, it depends on people. I love having either a dog or a cat as a pet.
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on August 24, 2020:
Some interesting personality theories here. While i love both dogs and cats, I would agree that the cat energy is likely more suited to me in my sedentary old age. Good work!
Althea del Barrio (author) from Manila, Philippines on August 22, 2020:
Thank you, Zahistha! :)
Zahistha Begum R on August 21, 2020:
This is just Amazing!