Cat People Are More Intelligent, But Dog Lovers Have Their Positives Too

Conflict of interest disclosure: the author of this article has a cat.


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

A woman pets a ginger dog and a grey cat on her lap

Dog lovers are extroverted, cat owners are introverted, and those who love both are indecisive.  Image credit: Chendongshan/

Research has shown that “cat people” tend to be more intelligent than “dog people.” On top of that, the study found the pro-cat camp tends to be more creative, independent, and rebellious. However, the science suggests it isn’t all negative for dog lovers – and not all positive for feline folks either. 

The findings come from a study published in 2017 by a trio of psychologists from the University of Florida, Carroll University, and Marquette University. They gathered 418 undergraduate students who were either self-professed dog people or cat people, then gave them a detailed questionnaire that pried into their personality traits. 


As a side note, 352 were self-declared dog people and just 66 confessed to preferring cats. 

The cat admirers scored higher in a test for reasoning and general intelligence, plus they also proved better at abstract thought, self-reliance, and open-mindedness.

On the flip side, dog people were more likely to have extroverted and warm personalities that are very rule consciousness.

“Taken together, these findings describe the personalities of the average cat person as shy, solitary, impersonal, serious, and nonconformist, but also creative, sentimental, independent, and self-sufficient. Conversely, these findings describe dog people as grounded, pragmatic, and dutiful, as well as warm, outgoing, sociable, expressive, and group oriented,” the study authors write.


"The findings suggest that people who score higher on rule consciousness and liveliness tend to prefer dogs and people who score higher on reasoning and emotional sensitivity tend to prefer cats," they add.

They found no significant differences between cat people and dog people in regard to anxiety and neuroticism. 

So, what to make of these results? Well, the researchers argue that the trend can be explained by creativity. The traits linked to creative people, such as open-mindedness and lower attention to rules, are also shared by cat lovers. Meanwhile, traits that tend to inhibit creativity, such as conscientiousness, were more often possessed by dog lovers. 

“The personality profiles of creative people and cat people are remarkably similar, suggesting that people who are considered creative may tend to prefer cats as pets,” the study authors added.


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  • intelligence,

  • animals,

  • dog,

  • cat,

  • Pets,

  • personality,

  • Personality types