Are you a cat or a dog person?

Dog vs Cat -- a scene from my house this weekend

This last weekend I had both a dog and a cat in my house. Growing up, I always considered myself a “dog person” with a dislike for cats. That dislike probably came more from others not liking cats than any real opinion of my own, because once I got my first cat… I began to discover a “cat person” in myself.

This weekend confirmed the transformation was complete. I am without a doubt a cat person.

A cat you can leave for a day without any concern. As long as they have food, water, a litter box and maybe a toy or two, they’re good to go. Self-sufficient, they are. A dog, though, you have to take out and walk. There’s no leaving them for more than a few hours! I also discovered a need for constant attention. This is just something I can’t do working from home. Working Friday ended up being a total bust, and I chalked it up to a life lesson kind of a day.

Anyone who knows me, though, knows those life lesson days usually end up with my doing research and learning about whatever phenomenon I’ve run into. So, I did a quick Google search for “dog or cat personalities” and stumbled upon an article summarizing research done by the (*gulp*) University of Texas in Austin into this exact idea — a difference in the personalities of dog and cat owners.

The article found:

  • Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extraverted, 13 percent more agreeable and 11 percent more conscientious than cat people.
  • Cat people were generally about 12 percent more neurotic and 11 percent more open than dog people.

So, based on those findings, I’m neurotic, disagreeable, not very conscientious and open. Makes perfect sense to me. Describes me to a T.

Or not.

For me, being a cat person is more about the fact that I want a pet companion, but my schedule is just not structured enough to have a dog. I need a pet that I can snuggle with now and then (especially when the husband is on the road), but that I can also not have to worry about being upended by a sudden change in plans. (Plus, if I am gone for a few days, I only have to worry about finding someone to check the cat every other day at most, versus a friend having to make a daily commitment to the task.) Yes, I want the protection that only a dog can provide, but ultimately the frustration I’ve felt having to care for a dog has made that want a little less important. I’ll stick with my checking the locks every night, keeping a head’s up about my surroundings, and just using my head in every situation in front of me.

So, hello world. I’m Denise. I am a cat person.

(I can hear my brother groaning now.)