|Maggie and me in my library|
There has always been a difference between dog owners and cat owners. Sometimes those differences can be quite strong with dog owners hating cats or vice versa. According to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll, there are many more dog people out there, since 74 percent of their test sample favored dogs, opposing the 41 percent who liked cats. Fifteen percent said they really disliked cats while the number of those who disliked dogs was only two percent.
Several new studies have focused on the different personality traits between dog and cat owners. Recently, Sam Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas in Austin and his graduate student Carson Sandy conducted a web-based study in which they asked 4,565 individuals whether they were dog people, cat people, neither or both. They were given a forty-four item assessment that measured them on the so-called Big Five personality dimensions psychologists often use to study personalities.
|My cats Moggie and Brat Cat - sisters|
Stanley Coren, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia’s study involved 6,149 people aged 16 to 94. He tried to get more dog people than cat people so he had 3,362 dog people, 1,223 people, who only owned cats, and 1,564 who owned no cat or dog. He found people who owned both a cat and a dog seemed to be more like the dog owners so his study put those with dual ownership under dog owners. Much of his research agreed with Gosling’s.
Both studies found cat owners, those with only a cat, were one-third more likely to live alone than dog owners and twice as likely to live in an apartment or flat. A single woman was the most likely individual to have a cat. Individuals who grew up in a home with a cat were more likely to have a cat. Cat owners tend to be more introverted, more neurotic, and more open minded than dog people with a greater appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination and curiosity.
They also tend to be better at breaking rules. They’re more likely to prefer staying at home reading a book which suits their personality since cats don’t need to be taken for a walk. Also, cats are more independent and don’t require as much attention as a dog.
Dog owners are more sociable, more likely to be extroverts, more energetic, more rule abiding, more conscientious and tend to be conventional with traditional interests. Dog owners are far more likely to enjoy the outdoors and like taking their dog for a walk. Being married, living in a house and having children made it more likely the pet owner would have a dog. Dog owners found dogs more companionable which is one of the reasons why they preferred them.
A study by Denise Guastello, an associate professor at Carroll University in Wisconsin, who recently spoke at the annual Association for Psychological Science in Chicago. Guastello claims that the differences in personality can be related to the environment cat or dog people prefer. Much of this we probably already knew, but her finding that cat owners scored higher on an intelligence test than dog owners regardless of their pet’s intelligence made the news.
As writers how does this relate to writing mysteries? Many cozies have a cat in them. In fact for some reason it’s almost a given that they need a cat. Could it be the popularity of Carolyn Hart, who wrote a mystery series about a book store owner with a cat? Or maybe it’s the popularity of Lillian Jackson Braun's Cat Who books. Or could it simply be because writers tend to spend more time at home writing and a cat doesn’t need as much attention as a dog? Of course, there are dogs in books, too. I think that probably most writers who include cats or dogs in their books have one, too. After all writers are told to write what they know.
Do you have a dog or cat?
Do you include a dog or cat in your mysteries?
Do you like reading books with a cat or dog in them?