Have you ever wondered what your pet choice says about you? We all know people who resemble their pets to an uncanny degree, your extroverted BFF who's just as excited to hit up the dog park as her puppy, your flighty cousin who has full-fledged conversations with her parrot, and, of course, yours truly. Just like my cat, I spend a solid 40 percent of my free time trying to avoid human interaction, and another 10 percent is devoted to staring out the window at birds. (The remaining 50 percent is sleeping.) As hilarious as it is to compare people with their pets, though, anecdotes aren't exactly a great basis for making assumptions. Is there actually any truth to stereotypes about pet owners?
According to Scientific American, the short answer is... Well, yes. Researchers for the magazine analyzed available data on the subject, which largely consists of market surveys and a few peer-reviewed studies, and they found that our pets — or lack thereof — reveal more about us than you'd expect. Some findings are more intuitive than others; for instance, people who don't have pets are more likely to value cleanliness, consider themselves independent, and live in urban areas, which makes sense considering the demands of pet ownership. As adorable as you might think it is when your cat chucks everything off your desk because she's a jerk, not everyone would agree.
Similarly, research indicates that families are more likely to own pets, although "empty nesters" are quickly catching up. Pet owners are also more likely to own their own home, and studies indicate that they're more social and empathetic than non-pet owners. (Scientific American also notes that women are also much more likely to become the primary caretakers of any kind of pet, but that's for another article.)
But enough about the big picture. What does your pet say about you?
Dog owners are more likely to:
- Be extroverted and agreeable
- Live with family members
- Have no college degree
- Live in Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Kentucky, or West Virginia
Cat owners are more likely to:
- Be neurotic and open to new experiences
- Be less socially dominant
- Have a college degree
- Be divorced, widowed, or separated
- Live in an apartment
Bird owners are more likely to:
- Be socially dominant — but only if you're a woman
- Be outgoing
- Describe themselves as "polite and caring"
- Be unemployed
Horse owners are more likely to:
- Be married
- Be more assertive and introspective
- Be less nurturing
- Own a home
- Have an advanced degree
- Turtle owners are more likely to be hardworking and reliable
- Snake owners are more novelty-seeking and describe themselves as relaxed and unpredictable
For more information, in handy-dandy infographic form, head over to Scientific American .
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