It is estimated that there are 750 million pets in the world. A figure that is almost double the human population of the United States. According to a 2017-2018 survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68 percent of US Households own at least one pet. The majority are freshwater fish followed by cats and dogs. Other popular pets in the US include birds, other fish, small animals, reptiles, and horses in that order.
Clearly, pets are very popular in the US and across the globe. But, did you know that your choice of a cat, dog, rabbit, horse, cold-blooded creature or other unusual pet reveals a lot about your persona? Well, according to scientists, cat lovers and dog lovers really do have different personality traits. And, even those who love birds, reptiles and other pets exhibit particular personas.
Let’s examine some of the studies and see what the research says.
Cats are one of the most populous pets in the US. A research study by the University of Texas found that cat lovers were creative and adventurous. However, they also scored highly on neuroticism. They were found to be more likely than average to be low-spirited and to experience such feelings as nervousness, anxiety, worry, irritation, frustration, jealousy, envy, guilt, depression, and loneliness.
On the sunny side, they were also found to be dependable and emotionally intelligent. These individuals are good and empathetic listeners. Cat people have also been found likely to be college-educated as well as divorced, widowed or separated and living in an apartment.
Dogs are also amongst the most popular pet in the United States. The study by the University of Texas came to the conclusion the dog lovers exhibit the traits of extroversion, agreeability, and conscientiousness. The study also found that dog lovers tend to be more fun to be around when compared to owners of other pets.
One certainly can’t argue with this point when you consider how dog people appear to have fun when frolicking with their pets at the park, beach or simply when walking around. According to researchers, people who love dogs seek attention and are in need of a companion to accompany them during outings.
Another interesting 2008 study by Gallup found that dog people tended to be republican. Your choice of a pet can apparently predict the way you vote. Interestingly, most dog people do not have a college degree and are likely to be living with family members compared to the general population.
Bird people are on a whole different level from dog or cat people. They are said to be expressive and outgoing. They also exhibit high dominance with strong personalities, especially if they are female.
When asked to describe themselves, bird people are likely to describe themselves as polite and caring. Interestingly, compared to other pet owners, bird people are also the most likely to be unemployed.
Reptiles and other Cold Blooded Exotic Pet Lovers
Unsurprisingly, reptile lovers are said to be the most independent people of all. It is, after all, not easy to cuddle most cold-blooded reptiles such as snakes and lizards. The majority of the population, in fact, fears these animals.
Males who own reptiles as pets are much less agreeable than lovers of traditional pets. Female reptile lovers, on the other hand, are much more open to new experiences than owners of traditional pets.
However, their independence comes at a price, reptile people have been found to have a low sense of humor and to possess eccentric qualities.
Snake owners are known to be unconventional, novelty seeking and unpredictable.
Turtle owners are more likely to be hardworking, reliable and upwardly mobile and tend to describe themselves as rational and goal-oriented.
Horse people have been found to be highly educated and likely to hold an advanced degree. Compared to other pet owners, they are more assertive and less warm or nurturing. Males are aggressive and socially dominant while females are easy-going and nonaggressive. They are also likely to be homeowners and live in a rural area.
Fish owners are said to be calm and emotionally stable. As for rabbits, one peer-reviewed study suggests that rabbit people are the most introverted and most neurotic of all pet owners but likely to describe themselves as warm, open to new experiences and sympathetic.
As with horses, hamster owners were also likely to be highly educated. People who own guinea pigs are not likely to describe themselves as extroverts. And, the owners of unusual pets such as ferrets are likely to have a large collection of other pets.
Pets are Windows into Our Lives
Clearly, our choice of pets reveals a wealth of information about our lives. We tend to choose pets that reflect our personalities, lifestyles and even economic demographics. Energetic and outgoing individuals are likely to select a pet that they can take along with them on their daily activities.
In fact, various hobbies can be associated with cat and dog ownership according to the Nuwber database, a people search and verification engine powered by a database of 250 million people.
And, it doesn’t stop there, our choice of a pet affects our health in positive and negative ways. For example, dog ownership has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In fact, some studies have shown that overall, pet owners are more healthy and have fewer trips to the doctor. A number of studies have also shown that there is a connection between allergies, asthma, and pets.
Pets have also been shown to help children develop higher self-esteem, empathy and increase their participation in physical and social activities. Pets have also been used as companion animals for the physically disabled and mentally challenged, elderly persons, and people who are chronically ill.
Pets now serve a greater purpose in our lives. In addition to providing insights into people’s personalities and lives, they also influence our health in positive ways. The future of big data portends a future where pet ownership data will be used in advanced population research and macro planning.