By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance, a cat insurance and dog insurance agency.
There are cat people and there are dog people and then there are folks like me who fall in the middle, enjoying the company of both cats and dogs. I happily share my home – and my heart – with two dogs and two cats. In this age-old pet debate of which species ranks supreme, a communication gap definitely exists between people who declare felines are the finest and those who swear canines are doggone great.
For starters, let’s identify why cats rank number one as a pet choice for some people. Among the feline pluses:
• Your cat will never need you to take them out in the middle of the night or in bad weather simply to perform necessary bathroom duties. That’s the beauty of the invention of litter boxes.
• Your cat won’t greet house guests by leaping on them and showering them with slobbery kisses. Cats have far more dignity than to succumb to this canine welcome.
• Your cat rarely has a bad hair day nor will emit a stinky shoe smell from his coat thanks to fastidious and regular self-preening sessions.
• Your cat is apt to cuddle on your lap and calm you down after a stress-filled day at work by unleashing a welcoming purr.
There have been studies conducted in attempts to identify personality trait differences between people who love cats and those who dig dogs. In a recent survey of 600 college students, Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI, presented these findings before her peers at the 2014 annual Association for Psychological Science conference:
• Cat lovers rank affection from their cats as the most attractive quality in their pets. By comparison, dog people declare companionship as the supreme reason they adore their dogs.
• Cat lovers value the independent nature found in cats. Dog people place greater value on the dependent nature of canines.
In a 2010 study involving more than 4,500 pet owners, earlier studies, cat lovers, in general, tend to be more sensitive, introverted and cautious than those who prefer dogs as pets. And, feline fans are more apt to describe themselves as non-conformists, more willing to break the rules if they deem their approach is more practical.
For you cat lovers, I saved the final observation from Guastello’s survey for last. Her study found that cat lovers scored higher on intelligence tests than dog lovers.
As someone who loves cats and dogs, my bottom line is that this world is a much better place thanks to both the purrs and tail wags delivered from our most priceless asset, our pets.
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