If the words "single" and "cats" are inexplicably joined together in your mind, you're not alone -- and your idea of a single person's preferred pet may not be too far off.
According to a new Facebook study, there may be some truth to the saying that people often take on the characteristics of their pets.
Cats are typically the more reserved and independent members of the household, while dogs are usually quite the opposite. The same traits tend to show up in their humans, impacting their social lives and friends lists.
Dog people Vs. Cat people
Like their happy-go-lucky pups, dog owners tend to be social creatures, boasting an average of 26 more Facebook friends than cat lovers. Twenty-six isn’t the largest number, but Facebook points out that every connection counts.
“Maybe those extra 26 friends helped dog people find a mate,” Facebook said in a statement.
Cat owners usually aren’t as extroverted as dog owners, the study found. In examining data from 160,000 people who shared photos of themselves with the special pet in their lives, data scientists found that cat people are more likely to be single.
Approximately 30% of cat people in the sample were listed as single, compared to just 24% of dog people. Wondering if age or gender had anything to do with it? Facebook wondered, too.
Age and gender
The social networking platform’s study revealed that being a single cat lover doesn’t necessarily mean you’re old or a woman.
Age and gender did not affect cat lovers’ relationship status in any way, meaning old spinsters aren't the only ones who get to love cats. Old or young, male or female, you are just as likely to be single if you’re a cat lover.
But if cat lovers aren’t in a relationship, with whom are they spending their time? According to the study, cat people often choose to befriend other cat people. Similarly, dog people prefer to spend time with other dog people.
Where people socialize and enjoy their free time may also be influenced by whether they consider themselves a cat lover or a dog lover. Indoor activities and hobbies were preferred by cat lovers, who might believe an afternoon to be best spent reading a book or watching a movie (just not Marley and Me).
But whether we naturally gravitate toward creatures that reflect our personalities or if our disposition is somehow influenced by our pets, one thing is clear -- similarities seem to prevail one way or another.