Cat Owners Are 'More Intelligent' Than Dog Owners, According to a New Study

Cat Owners Are ‘More Intelligent’ Than Dog Owners, According to a New Study

Cats and dogs have been popular pets in the US and across the world for a long time. While we domesticated dogs to be part of our lives, scientists believe that cats domesticated themselves. Some people are naturally loyal to felines while others are naturally attracted to dogs. Are you a cat person or a dog person? The question has caused rivalry between thousands of cat and dog owners, but nevertheless, we all consider them be our family members. A new study shows that “dog people” and “cat people” really do have different personalities.

Dogs may be a man’s best friend, but cats and their owners, proved that it pays to have brains and beauty.

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Image: Kate Stone

A study conducted by Carroll University on 600 students found that “cat people” are introverted, open-minded, non-conformist and just plain more intelligent than their canine loving counterparts. Raymond Cattell, one of the researchers who conducted the study, spent his life researching the connection between personality and intelligence. Professor Denise Guastello, who led the study, told The New York Post that she was surprised with the study results. “I’m a dog person and I think I’m very bright because I’m a professor,” she told the Post. “I was really shocked.”

In a personality experiment conducted in the US, and presented at the annual Association for Psychological Science, participants that described themselves as “cat people” scored higher on intelligence than those who identified as “dog people”.

Throughout the study, those who recognized themselves as cat lovers, scored half a deviation higher than dog lovers on the 16 Personality Factors intelligence scale, which was developed by Raymond Cattell.

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Image: Alexandru Zdrobău

In the US, 36.5% of households own dogs compared to 30.4% owning cats. While people who said they were dog lovers in the study tended to be more lively and also tended to follow rules closely, cat lovers, on the other hand, were more introverted, more open-minded and more sensitive than dog lovers. Throughout the study, researchers also found that those who favored cats over dogs, tended to be non-conformists, and preferred to be expedient rather than follow the rules.

Guastello also noticed that of the four test subject groups; cat lovers, dog lovers, those who like both, and those who are not a fan of either, those who didn’t identify as an animal person scored the lowest on the intelligence test. However, Guastello won’t say whether her findings meant that those who have no pets aren’t smart but it was one of the highlights of her study.

Cat lovers also scored higher on intelligence than dog lovers.

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Image: Paul Hanaoka

According to Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, who presented the findings at the annual Association for Psychological Science meeting, explained that part of the reason for the personality difference could be the environment the cat or dog lovers prefer. “It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog,” Guastello said. “Whereas, if you’re more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk.”

While 60% of the participants identified themselves as dog people, only 11% were identified as those who adored cats. The rest said they liked both animals, or neither animal. Participants also took some personality assessment tests that determined their overall personality. While dog lovers found companionship to be the most attractive quality in their beloved pets, cat people liked the affection they received from their pets. “It’s possible that people may select pets based on their own personality”, Guastello said.

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Image: Velizar Ivanov

Guastello also explains that cats are often seen as independent animals that keep to themselves, and are cautious of others. “If you’re like that, you appreciate that in an animal, it’s a better match for you,” Guastello said. The idea of comparing dog owners with their pets was first brought to light by Samuel D. Gosling from the University of Texas at Austin. The study carried out by Guastello and fellow researchers might be of great significance since it will allow doctors and health specialists to identify people according to their preference in pets and thus improve pet therapy. This will allow them to provide better matches between owners and pets who participate in pet therapy.

Cat owners also scored higher on reasoning (i.e., general intelligence) than dog people.

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Image: Veronika Homchis

In addition to this, new studies are also debunking the idea that dogs are smarter than cats. New research suggests that cats might have a longer and richer memory than previously thought. While cat owners have some interesting traits that dog owners lack, studies do show that dog owners are more outgoing and have higher social skills than those who prefer cats. Nevertheless, the thing that matters the most is the connection you have with your pets.

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