Earlier today I was at lunch with a friend. We were having a conversation about his latest ex-girlfriend. His reasoning for breaking it off with her was, “I’m a dog person, she’s a cat person, it would have never worked out”.
At first, this sounded like a really stupid reason. I assumed he was just making up an excuse to end the relationship. Then I thought about it, and it kind of made sense. People who consider themselves “cat people” are widely considered to be very different personality wise when compared to people who consider themselves “dog people”. This conversation prompted me to do a little research.
Our Domesticated Pets’ Wild Counterparts
Wild dogs (wolves, hyenas, etc.) are social animals. They play, work, and hunt together in a pack. They are active mostly during the daytime, and are actively social for most of that time.
Wild cats (cheetahs, leopards, cougars, tigers, etc.) are very solitary creatures. They do best hunting and living on their own. They are active mostly during the night, and don’t interact with their own kind very often.
Our furry friends have many of these same qualities. Dogs love attention and want to be part of everything us humans are doing. They love running around and playing during the day time, and want to feel like part of family. Cats on the other hand spend much of the day lounging around, and only want to be given attention when it’s on their own terms.
A study conducted at Bell University revealed that most pet owners considered their own personalities were similar to the pets they kept.
Keeping that in mind, I thought about what kind of people would seek out companionship from these two polar opposites. A couple of studies have provided some answers to that very question.
Facts About “Cat People” And “Dog People”
A study by Samuel Gosling revealed:
- 62% of US households have a pet. 39% have dogs, while 33% have a cat.
- Cat people are more likely to live alone, and even more likely to live in an apartment than dog people.
- Dog owners are more likely to live in a house, be married, and have children.
- Single women are the most likely to have a cat for a pet.
- Dog people are considered to be more outgoing, more extroverted, more agreeable, more conscientious, and less neurotic than cat people.
- Cat people are considered to be more aloof, less traditional, more creative, more neurotic, and more open than dog people.
Hunch.com did a survey of over 220,000 people and found:
Dog People are more likely to:
- Be male
- Be conservative
- Be active outdoors
- Be early adopters of technology (meaning they’ll be the first to buy something)
- Live in rural areas
- Enjoy slapstick humor
Cat people are more likely to:
- Be female
- Be liberal
- Not be active outdoors
- Wait for technology to prove itself before buying
- Live in urban areas
- Enjoy ironic humor and puns
- Actively use twitter
After considering all of this data, I can see why my friend and his ex may not have gotten along.
So, why does any of this matter from a marketing standpoint for pet industry companies? The answer is pretty obvious, right?
Think about who your target market is. Do you serve people who own dogs, cats, or both? Think about how you can use the information to craft the perfect message for your customers. Here are a few examples:
- The classic bandwagon marketing strategy might work better on dog people than cat people. Dog people tend to have a pack mentality and might be more susceptible to socially driven marketing than cat people.
- Since cat people tend to do more product research and are more hesitant to buy new things, they may need more proof that your product does what it says it does. Using more reviews, videos, and case studies could help them along the buying process.
- If you’re taking a humorous approach to your marketing, make sure that you’re appealing to what your target market finds funny.
- Using family and suburban imagery may be more useful in appealing to dog owners than to cat owners.
Now, take this information and use it your advantage! The more you can get inside of the mind of your customers, the better.
You can also check out and share our nifty infographic on pet choice and personality traits!
Click Below To Download The Cat People Vs. Dog People Infographic!