Who’s Smarter: Cat Lovers Or Dog Lovers?
June 3, 2014

Who’s Smarter: Cat Lovers Or Dog Lovers?

As I have written before, I have both cats and dogs as family pets, and I have had both my entire life. I do not have a memory of life without both a cat and dog, and often I had more than one of each. Pets have always been a part of my family and always will be a part of my family. I love both cats and dogs for their different personalities and roles in my life. For instance, my German Shepherd puppy has been such a wonderful addition to my life because she demands attention, activity, and training. However, I so look forward to the time I spend with my cats because it is calm and affectionate. My dog wants me to give her affection but trades off with her companionship and protection while my cats want to give me affection trading off with, well, moodiness. Both play important roles in my daily life, and I need both.

In my experiences, both cats and dogs provide much love and companionship, although in different ways. Cats tend to be more quiet and calmer in their loving while dogs enjoy the activity of loving. Dogs want to play whereas cats want to be near their pet parents. I have always thought of dogs as extroverts and cats as introverts.

It turns out that there is a study that shows a connection to extroverts and introverts and their pets. As redOrbit writer Brett Smith reported, one study from Carroll University found many interesting facts about cats, dogs, and their pet parents. Before getting into the findings, though, let’s look at what the researchers did in their study. “The study was based on a survey of 600 college students that asked if they preferred cats or dogs and what qualities they preferred in their pets. The survey also included several questions designed to determine personality traits.”

Here is a breakdown of the findings:

  1. Cat lovers tended to be more introverted, sensitive, and open-minded.
  2. Cats are seen as independent and introverted.
  3. Dog lovers were more extroverted, lively, outgoing, and energetic.
  4. Sixty percent of respondents claimed to be dog lovers.
  5. Eleven percent identified as cat lovers.
  6. Twenty-nine percent either responded with loving both or neither.
  7. Dog lovers focused more on companionship as the most important quality in a pet.
  8. Cat lovers focused more on affection as the most important quality in a pet.

And in the battle of cats versus dogs, the coup de grâce of this research found that cat lovers are smarter than dog lovers. Okay, so maybe it is not a deathblow as such, but it certainly stokes the fire in favor of cats. The study did not say that just because someone loves cats that person is smarter, but it did find that those respondents with higher intelligences tended to prefer cats over dogs.

Brett Smith also acknowledged the importance of dogs in our lives by explaining how one study from 2012 showed that having canines in the workplace can boost employee’s morale and lower stress. Additionally, in October of 2012 I wrote about a study that found that when employees look at videos and pictures of cute puppies and kittens they were more productive at work. Clearly, cats and dogs are important for healthy learning experiences including healthy work environments.

This recent study found that cat lovers were smarter than dog lovers but that is not because they love cats. Likely, they love cats because their personalities tend to be more introspective and pensive thus they are more focused on books whereas dog lovers tend to be more active and social and more focused on interaction. Both are important. What most excites me about this is the fact that so many people value their pets and want to learn more about these pets and their roles in our lives.

I fall in the 29 percent, as I love both cats and dogs pretty equally. I do adore the independence cats have, but I would not ever want to be without the love and protection of dogs either. Dogs may be more demanding in terms of time and effort, but their companionship is hard to replace. And cats may be moody and independent, but I would not want to live without cats in my home because few things feel better than when my cats want to cuddle and purr and show me affection. Yes, both cats and dogs are for me. I wonder what that says about my intelligence and personality?

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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