According to the author of a new study on pet-owner personality types, it seems that neurotic people tend to make very good pet owners. Published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, the results indicate that of the 1,000 pet owners surveyed, the people who scored higher in neuroticism and conscientiousness also reported higher levels of affection for their cats and dogs. This likely translates into a better life for the animals, according to lead study author, Mikel Delgado, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley.
The online survey also asked questions to determine the participants’ attachment styles (these surveys are typically used to assess the relationship between romantic partners or parents and their children). “The fact that higher levels of neuroticism are associated with affection and anxious attachment suggests that people who score higher on that dimension may have high levels of affection and dependence on their pets, which may be a good thing for their pets,” explained Delgado. Ideally, he wants to analyze these early results — that certain personality types may be linked with better pet care — in follow-up studies.
Cat people, specifically, are the most likely to show signs of anxious attachment — in other words, neediness or clinginess — which is probably a very good thing for the cat in question. However, it may not do much to dispel the stereotype of the crazy cat person!