Chances are good that most people have heard speculation about how a person’s personality is connected with their pet preference. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that there have been numerous studies conducted on the matter, which have revealed some rather interesting results. For starters, dog owners tend to be more agreeable, more extroverted, and more conscientious as individuals. They are likelier to be living with their family members when compared with other pet owners. Furthermore, they are likelier to extend their sense of family to include their pet, which is by no means guaranteed when it comes to pet ownership in general. Curiously, while dog owners have higher chances of winding up in senior management, they also have higher chances of not having a college degree.
Meanwhile, cat owners are much likelier to be living on their own, which is presumably connected in some cases to their higher chances of being either widowed, divorced, or separated. Personality, they tend to be neurotic but more open to new experiences. However, they also tend to be less dominant in a social sense. On top of this, cat owners have higher chances of being apartment-dwelling college degree-holders when compared with other pet owners.
Of course, there have been a lot of other interesting findings about other kinds of pet owners as well. For example, the most neurotic pet owners aren’t cat owners. Instead, those would be rabbit owners. Next, it is curious to note that men and women with cold-blooded exotic pets have significant differences between them. In particular, these men are less agreeable than other pet owners while these women are more open to new experiences than other pet owners. On top of this, it should be mentioned that people with one kind of cold-blooded exotic pet can be very different from people with another kind of cold-blooded exotic pet, as shown by how snake owners are supposed to be unpredictable an unconventional whereas turtle owners are supposed to be rational, reliable, and goal-oriented. As for horse owners, they are very likely to live in rural regions, which makes sense considering their space requirements.
In any case, evidence for a connection between a particular personality trait and a particular kind of pet ownership is that and nothing more than that, meaning that other evidence is needed for other conclusions. For instance, correlation doesn’t guarantee causation. Just because a particular kind of pet ownership leads to a particular personality trait, that doesn’t mean that one has to be causing the other. There could indeed be a causal relationship, but there could also be another explanation, with one potential example being some kind of third factor that is causing both of them. Moving on, even once a causal relationship has been proven, there is still much that will remain unknown about the nature of the causal relationship. In particular, there is the question of whether such relationships are cultural or biological. Something that would presumably require interested parties to look for connections between particular personality traits and particular kinds of pet ownership across a wide range of cultures with a wide range of views of various animals.
Why Are Religious People Less Likely to Own Cats?
Recently, researchers conducted a study on the connections between religiousness and pet ownership. Something made possible by the General Social Survey that provides a wealth of information about people in the United States, thus enabling interested parties to uncover a wide range of connections should they choose to look. Regardless, the study found that people who attended religious services on a more regular basis tended to have fewer pets. However, this was true for cat ownership but not for dog ownership. The exact reason is unclear. However, that didn’t stop the people who conducted the study from offering up their speculation on the matter.
For instance, one proposed explanation is that people who attend religious services are likelier to have social expectations that take up more of their schedule. As a result, they just don’t have as much time to spare for pet ownership. Furthermore, they have less need for pet ownership as well, seeing as how their social needs are met by human-human interaction with the result that there is no need on their part for human-animal interaction. Unfortunately, this proposed explanation has a serious problem, which is that if this is the case, there should be the same effect for both cat ownership and dog ownership. Since that isn’t the case, it lacks explanatory power.
In any case, it is possible that there is an explanation to be found in the connections between particular personality traits and particular kinds of pet ownership instead, which in turn, could be connected to the personality traits of religiousness. After all, dog owners are supposed to be more interested in fitting in with their social groups. Since dogs are perceived to be eager to please as well as easier to train, those traits can make them more appealing to pet owners with that kind of rules-consciousness. Generally speaking, religious people are supposed to be more conformist as well as more traditional, with the result that they are very interested in fitting into their social group as well. Under those circumstances, it isn’t difficult to see why there would be overlap between these two groups.
Meanwhile, cat owners are supposed to be more imaginative and more sensitive, thus making them more creative but also more non-conformist. Combined, this means that they are much more willing to flout tradition than their dog-loving counterparts. Due to this, they are likely to be drawn to cats because of the perception that cats are independent animals with an often aloof attitude. However, these traits also mean that they are less likely to be interested in the kind of social expectations that come with regular attendance of religious events.
Of course, this speculation is nothing but speculation. Any confirmation can’t happen without further studies looking into the matter, which in turn, would call for further investment of resources. However, there is plenty of interest, meaning that there are bound to be people looking into it sooner rather than later.