The dynamics of cats and dogs in relation to business

Since last weekend, I’ve had dogs and cats on the brain. Chewing on the different approaches of the two animals, I realized you could easily take those dynamics and apply them to employee interactions in an office setting.

Are you a dog or are you a cat?  I don’t mean which one do you prefer; I mean which one’s personalities do you emulate while at work.

The dog

When we took in the dog for the weekend, the thing that struck me was how he was so “in your face” at all times.  I couldn’t move two feet and he’d be on my heels. (Something that drove me CRAZY!) In a matter of moments, he’d uprooted my cat and taken his spot on the couch beside me. He was domineering.

It struck me quickly how people can be that way in life and in business. There are those personality types that will be right in your face, demanding attention and approval from their peers and superiors.

Imagine for yourself a new guy walks in the door at work. His eyes are bright with excitement for the job, and any time the boss comes in the door he’s on their heels asking what he can do. What’s the next big project? Do you need coffee? A pen? Something to write on? What can I do for you?

There is without a doubt something to be said for someone with that personality. They’re going to be the first in line to do anything. They’re going to jump when they think something needs to be done immediately.

We all need “dogs” in our lives to keep us motivated as well as to be reliable. You know they’re going to be right there the second you open your mouth to ask for something. Sometimes they’re there even when you don’t need anything… and that’s okay too.

Dogs will more than likely move up the “food chain” quickly due to their persistence and unending amount of motivation and energy. However, I’m not sure what their chances are of being in upper management. Some “dogs” have that leadership quality inherently. Many, though, aim to please and are best being told what to do.

The cat

Comparing cats and dogs is about like telling the tortoise and the hare story.

Cats are more laid back and less in your face. They’re around, doing their thing, all while observing the scene around them. Taking stock of it. Deciding the best maneuver for themselves based on those observations.

When the dog was getting a little overly attentive to me, I’d find myself wanting to seek out my cat. I wanted his calm approach more than the hyper approach of the dog that was driving me a little crazy. I wanted to throw the dog a stick to go one way while I went to hang with the cat.

I imagine in an office setting, a “cat” is that person who sticks to their desk and methodically does the job at hand. They may not necessarily seek out the next job they need to do, and as such could potentially be viewed as being lazy. They might even be that person who gets their neighbor to get them a cup of coffee, “whenever you happen to go that way.”

However, at the end of the day, they get the job done without having made much noise. They’d be the ones who might not get noticed as fast, but they’d also be the ones that get sought out specifically for a task.

I imagine they’d also make great bosses. They’d give you the job, let you know what is expected of you, and instead of beating you over the head with it, they just give you that stare. The one that is disapproving. The one the might make you think they plan to kill you in your sleep. The one you don’t want to get, and thus you do the job without having to be told more than once. It’s not that you know what your punishment is… it’s more that you don’t ever want to find out what it would be!

Other pets

Wilson County FairI don’t think I have to explain the snake personality. It is that person who lies in wait — possibly even emulating the cat personality– only, they will be the first to strike and take you out if you get in their way.

Hamsters run and run and run, only to never really get anywhere. They’re just happy to be there.

Horses pull the load and do the hard work. They end up, though, having someone always telling them what to do and when to do it. They’re revered and respected, but at the end of the day they’re never going to make any final decisions of their own.

Personification of animals is nothing new. This whole thing was just something fun I’ve chewed on the last few days.

I took a lot of sociology courses through college — which, by the way, I hated but always just fit in my schedule somehow. Sadly in hindsight, I was very close to having at least a minor in it. I took a few philosophy courses and one psychology course. So, this is my disclaimer: I write this with no real education or paper on the wall to back up anything here. These are just my personal opinions and thoughts.

By the way, I’m not only a cat person, but I’m a “cat” in business as well. Anyone have any idea what they are, and why?

10 thoughts on “The dynamics of cats and dogs in relation to business”

  1. No idea what animal I am. I guess sometimes a little of both cat and dog. I like this article and thanks for including Maggie’s picture and yes she definitely can get in your face.

  2. You did a great job of associating animals to office personalities. I am thinking about what animal I emulate and it is probably a bird. I seem to flutter from one project to the next, kind of like a humming bird. O.K., seriously though, I am probably more like the dog. Wow, really got me thinking though. Mark of a very good writer. Keep the juices flowing as your writing is really shining now.

  3. Cat/cat. But, you are right. Dogs do have their place. Life would be boring if we were all alike. Energy & calmness are both good things. Just too much energy makes me nervous sometimes. I love dogs, but w/dogs I always feel guilty that I can never give them enough. “More, more, more” is what I hear. Idk, I have always appreciated a certain amount of alone time, & cats are good w/that.

  4. I’m definitely a cat person, AND I’ve been mislabeled as being lazy (by a professor at A&M who will probably never forget my face after I let him have it for his gross assumptions years ago). Then again, that probably explains why I don’t work well with or under domineering dog-personality types. They try to intimidate me, I don’t get easily intimidated, so then they just don’t like me because I am smart and do not fall for tricks. I work great with friendly hardworking people! I just don’t take well to being talked down to. Oh well. :)

    1. OOh… also good points.

      *giggling* I now suddenly itch to know WHICH professor you are talking about. ;) Curiosity killed the cat though… HA!

      But, yup, I can totally see you as a cat person. Totally.

  5. Also, now that I really think about it, dog-personality types must constantly get recognition, whereas I don’t need recognition, yet I do appreciate it. Different strokes for different folks!

  6. LOL! He was a “life coach” for the football team, I’ll say that much. :) But he apologized over and over and is really a cool guy.

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