Hello readers, hope you are enjoying the summer break. Most schools in the US and around the world have started summer holidays; we started ours this week! This post is for all animal lovers- big or small. Pets come in different sizes and shapes. In addition to the most common pets as dogs and cats, other pets for companionship include birds, bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles and lizards, and there are also less common pets like snakes, frogs and tarantulas. In this post I share my experience of fostering both dogs and cats, and I try to take a poll about which pet lover are you. Are you a dog person or cat person? This article is not a professional writing but just a fun way to know what most people prefer to own or foster- dogs or cats. So read on.
A little background about my experiences- in my childhood growing up I had many dogs. They were always mixed breeds and mostly rescue or abandoned ones. I went on to study Veterinary Science and after five years of college in India, joined a non profit organization called People for Animals. I worked for PFA as a Veterinarian for about five years and then got married and moved to the USA with my husband, who is a software engineer. I tried to get my license as a Veterinary Doctor but it was a long process and I was required to do a 12 months internship out of state as Delaware did not have a Veterinary School. It was a difficult choice but I switched my profession to become a Science teacher. I am in education for almost 15 years now and love it! I feel that I have always been in a profession to serve others- first were the animals and now the youth! I am grateful and humbled by my experiences and look forward to continuing to make small differences around me.
Having a pet or a companion animal can be therapeutic. According to heart.org, studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety and depression; ease loneliness; encourage exercise and improve your overall health. For example, people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease. Watching cute cat videos can also lead to feeling more positive and energetic, and help lower anxiety.
You may all know that dogs are the most common pet or companion animals in the US and worldwide. According to worldatlas.com 50 million households own at least one dog making them the most popular pets in the United States. Cats come second followed by rabbits and reptiles.
There has been numerous articles about dog vs cat people. According to psychologytoday.com, “dog people” are typically loyal, direct, kind, faithful, utilitarian, helpful, and a team player while the typical cat person has been said to be graceful, subtle, independent, intelligent, thoughtful, and mysterious. So what are you dear readers? Do you identify yourself as a dog person or cat person?
My kids have always asked me and their dad to get them a dog, especially after knowing that both their parents have had pets growing up. But I always gave my reasoning- we are too busy with full time jobs, we take vacations twice a year, it is too much of work, etc. But in 2016 we gave in as my oldest, 13 at that time, started filling applications for fostering dogs. Kids understood fostering was a great way to have pets at home temporarily as owning a pet was not possible for our family. We have fostered 7 dogs from 2016 winter to 2021 spring, and these 5 years have been very rewarding and fulfilling. Kendall stayed with us for more than 2 years and she is the most long term foster dog we ever had!
When my older one was ready to leave to college last summer, my younger one filled fostering applications for cats and we got our first fosters- sweet pair of cats named Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist in July 2021. Since last year we have fostered 5 more and as I write this post, I am reflecting that we have fostered 7 cats (same number as the dogs we have fostered) but they have all been short term. Right now we have Zinnia since April 10 and we are taking her to the cattery on June 20 with the hope that she will find her forever home! If not, we plan to take her back when we return back from our vacation in July.
Dog and Cat personalities:
According to American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) analysis of cat owner responses suggests there are five reliable factors that depict domestic cat personality: neuroticism, extraversion, dominance, impulsiveness, and agreeableness. Neuroticism, the study explains, reflects the traits of insecurity, anxiousness, fearfulness of people, suspiciousness, and shyness. Dominance includes bullying as well as the characteristics of dominance and aggressiveness toward other cats. Impulsiveness traits include erraticism and recklessness. Agreeableness traits include affectionateness, friendliness to people, and gentleness. Extraversion traits include being active, vigilant, curious, inquisitive, inventive, and smart.
According to NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) one study found five personality traits link dogs and cats: sociability, protectiveness, reactivity, neuroticism, and fearfulness. According to an article published by Huffington post, a new study shows that dog lovers are more lively, outgoing and energetic whereas the people who prefer cats describe themselves as relatively “introverted” or “more sensitive than dog lovers.”
To wrap up, studies show that dogs and cats have different personalities just like people. Depending on one’s own personality, people choose to have a dog or a cat or both, as a pet in many instances. Having a companion animal may help people live better lives, as they reduce stress and may give positivity and purpose to life.
In my own experience with fostering both cats and dogs, I think that cats are more independent and less maintenance that dogs. Dogs on the other hand, are more affectionate, social, loving and attention-seeking. But again this is my personal experience, and I would love to hear from you all. We have been fostering both dogs and cats since 2016, and they give us so much happiness and joy! I can say my older one is a dog person and younger one is a cat person. Between my husband and I, I am unable to chose as we love them both for their specific traits but I may chose cat for convenience and less work while my husband may chose dogs for their affection and attention:)
Dear readers, we would love to hear from you. Are you a dog or cat person? Do you own pets, and how have they made a difference in your life? Do share your experiences and thoughts about your pets’ personalities.