More Than Puppy Love: What Your Pet Preference Says About You

cat and dog in field.

The never ending battle of wits between cat and dog lovers just got serious.

We’ve long established stereotypes associated with pet owners. One of these stereotypes is that cat lovers are more reserved, while dog lovers are more outgoing. Although these are seen as nothing more than clichés, scientific studies have proven that they may actually hold some truth to them.

A new study conducted by Carroll University has been the talk of pet lovers across the web. According to LiveScience, it distinguishes the differences between people who love cats and dogs, and highlights how your pet preference is essentially a reflection of your personality. Associate psychology professor Denise Guastello believes that "it’s possible that people select pets based on their personality". Surveying 600 college students and asking them about their pet preference, the study aimed to figure out which qualities the participants found most attractive in their pets along with the qualities they associate with their own personality. While 60% of the people surveyed considered themselves to be dog people, only 11% stated that they preferred cats (the other 29% liked both or neither).

And the most controversial aspect of this study?

Findings showed that pet owners who leaned towards cats received more points in a test designed to determine intelligence, essentially suggesting that cat people are smarter than dog people. While this new evidence might stir up a conflict of interest between cat and dog lovers everywhere, this study along with others acknowledged positive characteristics for pet lovers alike; these differences in personality tended to be traits that their pets also possessed. For instance, dog lovers described themselves as being active, enthusiastic and animated, while cat lovers were found to be more reserved, receptive and sensitive. This makes sense considering the fact that cats are generally more of an indoor animal, while dogs are more of an outdoor, "go for a walk" animal.

Although the participants of this study were solely college students, previous studies have had similar discoveries. A 2010 web-based study from The University Of Texas looked at 4,565 individuals and divided them into four categories: cat people, dog people, neither or both. After partaking in a 44 question personality assessment, the research revealed that "Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extraverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious than cat people [who were] about 12 percent more neurotic and 11 percent more open", meaning that dog lovers are more self-disciplined and tend to be "planners" when compared to their feline friends.

The best part about this test is that not only does your pet preference say a lot about your personality, it can also lead you one step closer to finding the perfect match. In fact, a love interest's inclination towards a certain pet could say more about his or her personality than you may think. The personality traits associated with each pet could help predict your level of compatibility with prospective lovers and friends, making it that much easier for you to connect with Mr. or Mrs. Right.

We can't argue with that.