What Your Pet Says About You
If your pets could talk, you just may be a little nervous about them revealing secrets or tiny personality quirks that only they might be privy to.
But this is not about that.
This is about the judgments people tend to make about others based on the type of pet they choose to live with. There’s a fairly widespread belief that the pet species – dog, cat, or other creature – says something about the owner’s personality. Look no further than the term “cat lady,” synonymous with a female who is a lonely, depressed hoarder. Meanwhile a “dog lover” is thought to be a happy, amiable person.
And there is some science to suggest that the preference for a particular kind of pet may reflect some underlying human personality differences. Compiling data from several studies, some generalities emerge:
Dog owners tend to be healthier, better equipped to deal with stress, and less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Those who prefer cats tend to be much more creative and adventurous – but also more neurotic.
A survey from the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. found that reptile owners were the most independent of all pet people. Bird owners are more likely to be socially outgoing and expressive than the rest of pet owners – even dog people. Fish owners are more likely to be engaging but introverted, because they are more diverse in their lifestyle and value beliefs.
So there. Consider yourself duly categorized. Still, it’s difficult to say whether a person’s character pushes them to pick a pet, or whether certain pets draw particular personality traits out of their owners.