When it boils down to it, there are essentially two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people.
It’s a divide so entrenched that even science has sought to understand the differences – what is it that makes someone team canine or team feline?
Thanks to a host of different studies, we now have a little insight into the minds of these opposition forces. Here are 9 key differences between cat and dog people.
1. There are more dog people in the UK
According to the most recent pet population estimates by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 40% of UK households have a pet (a total pet population of 57 million). Of these, 8.5m are dogs and 7.5m are cats. In other words, dogs have bragging rights when it comes to popularity.
2. Dog people are more extroverted, but cat people are more open-minded
In 2010, researchers at the University of Texas set out to examine in depth for the first time the alleged personality differences between those who consider themselves dog or cat people. A global study of 4,565 people found that dog people were ‘significantly’ (15%) more extroverted.
Cat people, however, were found to be 11% more open to adventure, culture and new experiences.
3. Cat people are non-conformists, while dog people follow the rules
We go for the pet that best complements our personalities, according to the findings of a 2015 study of over 1,000 self-identified cat and dog people by Australian researchers.
Participants were asked how strongly they agreed with a series of statements relating to social order and dominance. The study concluded that dog people are more likely to believe in social hierarchy and order, so they prefer a pet that will obey their commands, like a dog. Cat people, by contrast, are largely disinterested in social structures, so don’t seek a pet that can be trained.
4. Dog people are more sexually attractive
A poll of 1,000 UK singletons commissioned by dating site EliteSingles earlier this year, found that 57% of us think someone is more attractive if they own a pet. Of that group, 63% found dog owners most attractive, versus just 18% who go gaga for cat owners.
Interestingly, the study also found that 72% of us believe that the way someone treats their pet is indicative of how caring they are in their relationships.
After all, looking after a pet requires a lot of commitment and responsibility – from ensuring they get the right diet and exercise, to covering the cost of any unexpected veterinary treatment they need with the help of a pet insurance plan, like Petplan Pet Insurance. It makes sense that someone who shows that level of commitment with their pet would be considered a good bet for a long term relationship.
5. Cat people are more likely to be single (but only just)
Last year, researchers studied over 160,000 US Facebook profiles and found that 30% of people who shared pictures of cats were single, versus 24% of people sharing pictures of dogs.
That’s just 6% difference though and researchers also noted that single cat people were just as likely to be young and male, so perhaps that cat lady stereotype should be quietly laid to rest?
6. Cat people are more intelligent
In a 2014 study which was presented at the annual Association for Psychological Science, 600 university students were asked their pet preferences and then answered questions relating to a series of different personality traits. Cat people were typically more introverted, sensitive and scored higher on intelligence overall.
7. Dog people like slapstick humour; cat people prefer irony
In 2011, a poll of 200,000 people by hunch.com sought to really get under the skin of cat and dog people by asking them a series of random questions. So now we know that dog people are 30% more likely to enjoy slapstick and impressions, while cat people are 21% more likely to prefer irony and puns.
8. Dog lovers like rom-coms, while cat people like sci-fi and fantasy
In the 2016 Facebook study, researchers also analysed cat and dog lovers’ film preferences, based on Facebook likes. Dog people were found to prefer rom-coms such as The Notebook and Pretty Woman, whereas cat people were sci-fi fans, favouring films like Alien and Terminator 2. Oh, and dog people can’t get enough of Marley and Me. Obviously.
9. Dog owners are happier, but both dog and cat people are happier than non-pet owners
Last year, researchers at Mahattanville College, New York, studied a group of 263 people to determine whether there is a link between our pets and wellbeing. They specifically looked at the differences between cat and dog owners. The dog owners scored higher in terms of wellbeing on all measures. The team also concluded that pet owners as a whole were more satisfied with life than non pet owners.
At least that’s something we can all agree on – our pets make us happier. So, whichever side you’re on, ensure your four-legged friend is well looked after with the right pet insurance. They boost your wellbeing, so make sure you’re looking after theirs.
And don’t worry, Petplan has a range of policies to suit both cat and dog owners.