Cat People vs. Dog People

As I’ve mentioned before, I like both cats and dogs. Picking one or the other is not something I’m keen on, but gun to my head?:

*earmuffs Patronus*

Dog.

 

Obviously, I have an unhealthy obsession with my cat and love him very much. I just grew up with dogs, I’m not allergic to them (I wash my hands a lot with Patronus and avoid touching my eyes at all times), and I’ve always felt like they kind of looked into my soul in a way my cats didn’t always do (except my first cat, Shadow).

Side story: Shadow was my first real pet (I don’t count parakeets. You can’t cuddle a parakeet). I loved Shadow. He was the PB to my J. He would let me lay my head on his belly and when I was sad, he knew. I swear. He had these orb-like eyes that just said “I know, I love you, it’s okay.”

After seeing Beauty and the Beast as a young, impressionable child, I was convinced that shadow was a man in some animal-type prison. For a good week, I tried casting spells on him to see if he’d turn into a prince or something. No dice. Eventually I realized he was just a really empathic cat.

Anyway, besides Shadow and now Patronus, I’ve had a more of a kinship with dogs my whole life. I must have been a dog in a past life or something. Who knows.

I posted this slideshow on my facebook yesterday and after talking with Jesse (he’s a self-professed cat person) about it during dinner last night, I thought it would be a cool post. I found the article it’s based from that was published in January 2010 (sidenote: Good job recycling news, WebMD!).

Disclaimer: I have no idea what personality inventory they used to do this survey, so as someone who generally backs validity and reliability in assessments, I can’t technically support the findings of this survey. It’s fun to talk about anyway though, right?

They measured the following personality traits (pasted from the article):

  • Conscientiousness – behaviors include self-discipline, sense of duty, and a tendency toward planned vs. spontaneous behavior.
  • Extraversion – tendency toward being gregarious, enthusiastic, positive, and energetic.
  • Agreeableness – attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection, and sociability.
  • Openness – traits such as appreciation for the arts, curiosity, creativity, and nontraditional thinking and behavior.
  • Neuroticism – characteristics such as being easily stressed, anxious, or easily worried.

Their findings?:

Dog people are:

  • 15 percent more extroverted
  • 13 percent more agreeable
  • 11 percent more conscientious

Cat people are:

  • 12 percent more neurotic
  • 11 percent more open

Jesse and I talked about the results. We definitely feel like to a certain extent we debunk some of the outcomes of the study. While I feel (and Jesse agreed, ha) I am definitely more agreeable out of the two of us, I channel my love for Patronus when I’m neurotic. I am easily stressed, worried, and anxious and Jesse just… isn’t. He doesn’t get ruffled by much of anything.

We both felt we strongly exhibited the remainder of the traits, including extroversion, openness, and conscientiousness. I wouldn’t say either of us are more of one than the other person.

It was an interesting read and conversation. The researcher who did the study was quick to say that it’s not necessarily law that cat people and dog people exhibit these traits uniformly.

“These are not huge differences,” Gosling says. “There are certainly many, many cat people who are extroverts and many, many dog people who aren’t.”

What about everyone else?

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Do you agree with the study?

 

Conversations with my Cat

Now that I have my new job, I have a little more extra time in my life to spend at home. I tend to be really productive in my spare time doing things I love, like painting, cooking, or typing in this void thinking my family reads it and they probably don’t. It’s okay, family, I know you’re not dying to know my terrible kale chip and pizza recipes.

I had a realization today that I am devolving into one of those women who talks to their cat. Generally, I inquire about his day, ways I can make it better, and his opinions on what the hell is going on in Libya. While he generally replies in a way that indicates the need for an attitude adjustment, with retorts like “Nooooooo,” I am just happy I have a companion and someone to talk to about the weather.

If you don’t believe me, watch:

He usually ends up vetoing like 95 percent of my ideas, but if I leave the room he usually follows me, so I win!

Also, I think he has kitty ADD. He can’t freaking stay still!

Do you talk to your animals? Do they talk back? Do I need to tell Jesse to bring me to a therapist?

Hemingways

My cat makes some people uncomfortable. I’ll be honest, the first time I saw his paws up close, it gave me that feeling you have when you see a guy that has a gigantic Adam’s apple. I get all gaggy and wonder how that person carries around all that extra cartilage in their neck. Same with Patronus. He’s got seven toes on each of his front paws. It makes the space between my thumbs and index fingers feel crampy. Like, how could I manage more than 10 digits? *shudder*

But now, I think it’s just the coolest thing ever, especially because he’s got the most baller cat personality. Seriously, if cats could host game shows, he’d be the Bob Barker of cats. He’s just such a little ball of awesome. He chats all day with us and is like a dog. He greets us when we come home, wants to be in all the rooms we’re in, and is so friendly.

Hemingways are also known as polydactyl cats, which generally have six toes. Patronus is a double polydactyle because he has seven toes.Traditional cats have five toes on the front two paws and four on the back two.

For those of you who may not be literature buffs or just have no idea who Ernest Hemingway is (shame on you), the reason polydactyls are called Hemingways comes from this author.

A man after my own heart. Wine. Cool cats. Literary genius (although sometimes really drawn out). Hemingway got his first polydactyl cat from a ship captain in Key West. It was common for these cats to be found on ships traveling the Atlantic because sailors preferred these cats. They were better hunters because of their extra toes and kept the ships more rodent-free than lesser toed cats. Although, I will not vouch for this as an enduring trait. I’ve tried to get Patronus to kill several palmetto bugs, and he just follows them around like he’s supervising their migration into our pantry.

So, maybe he’s part herding dog, too? I’m doubting it.

As these ships came over from Wales and southwest England (where polydactyls originated) these cats bred with the local feline population and spread up the east coast. Now, they are most commonly found in Key West where Hemingway’s home was made into a museum and the cats are allowed to roam freely.

My favorite thing about Patronus having this cool little genetic mutation is his affection for bendy straws. A boy after his mother’s heart, he found my cup of bendy straws about a month after we got him and literally picked the straw out of the cup with his paw-thumb! He loves grabbing the straws and throwing them around the house. Another thing that’s head-explosion adorable:

He looks like a ballerina when he stands! How fantastic is that turnout?