Dog and Cat Owners… Who’s Smarter?

Ready for a quick personality test? It’s only three questions and, surprisingly, they are all related.  Okay, here we go.

Question #1: Do you prefer licking or purring?
Question #2: Do you prefer barking or meowing?
Question #3: Do you prefer watching a movie or reading a book?

Chances are, if you prefer purring and meowing, you also prefer reading – and if you prefer licking and barking, you also prefer watching movies.  Why?  Well, research shows that cat owners are generally more scholarly, educated, and intelligent than dog owners.

Don’t take my word for it (although dog owners may have been satisfied to do just that…).  The research speaks for itself. In 2007, a group of colleagues from the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science at Bristol University in Bristol, UK conducted telephone surveys to discover pet-owner characteristics.  This study found that, in 2006, there were approximately 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs in UK homes.  Furthermore, they examined the characteristics of these pet owners.  Of all of the characteristics examined, one of the most striking differences is that cat owners are more likely to have a college degree than dog owners.

Dr. Jane Murray, one of the researchers in the UK group, said she is unsure as to why education plays a role in pet ownership.  She explains, “It is unlikely to be related to household income as this variable was not shown to be significant but it could be related to household members with longer working hours having less time available to care for a dog.”

Is pet ownership determined by lifestyle (as Dr. Murray guesses) or intelligence (as the study suggests?) Let’s see what others have had to say.

A more recent article, published in January of 2010 at The University of Texas at Austin, agrees with the UK findings that there is a significant difference between people who own cats and those who own dogs.  The Texas group surveyed 4,565 individuals about their pet and personality preferences.  According to this research, dog owners are more extraverted, more agreeable, and more conscientious; cat owners are more neurotic and more open.

For the dog owners who need the extra help and the cat owners who are just intellectually curious, I will translate these results for you.  Dog owners are more extraverted (more likely to spend time partying rather than studying), more agreeable (more susceptible to peer pressure), and more conscientious (more concerned about what others think of them).  Cat owners, on the other hand, are more neurotic (haunted by the possibility of receiving poor grades) and more open (willing to embrace the liberal views of academia).

Of course no test is air tight and there are always outliers.  You may feel like you are an exception to the pet owner/education connection.  Perhaps you own a dog, you have a college degree, and you consider yourself a pretty educated individual.  You enjoy reading literature, discussing current events, sipping fine wine, and even watching educational specials.  The fact that you own a dog takes nothing away from your scholarly, intelligent lifestyle.  And if anyone tries to tell you differently, you absolutely refuse to believe it.

You might be able to convince others of this, but ask yourself this: Is ignorance really bliss?

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