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The cute, cuddly and less lovely characters of our children…..

What kind of animals operate in your home? Sometimes family conflicts arise because one sibling is a ‘cat’ person and another a ‘dog’ person (see list below). You may be cat-parent with a dog- child who appears demanding of you, or a dog-parent who puzzles about the time the cat-child takes to themselves. Cats can not be rushed and may endure a lot but their claws come out if they feel threatened. Dogs are generally more ‘in flow’ but certainly need matching energy and attention.

Sometimes just thinking about personality in this way helps us to consider innate needs. Cats want comfort, ease and to feel safe. Dogs want activity and attention. Of course we can be a mix and there are lots of other animal types operating too! Talking about how one person’s personality differs from another and affects their needs, habits and characteristics responses is useful in a home. In this way we tend to reduce the sense of one aspect of self being right or wrong, and accept that diversity and difference can operate together with respectful acknowledgement.

Cat people - Indirectly confrontational

  • Are private, with less need to show and share, but welcome affection in their own time

  • Sometimes secretive or inclined not to spontaneously give

  • Perceived as defensive of their own space

  • Need their alone time – can get attention when required but need space

  • Non-conformist, more individualist

  • Can be sneaky to get what they need

  • Value serious, but can be playful

  • Avoidant of drawing attention to self

  • Abilities are a private matter – they don’t always welcome praise

  • Tendencies to be careful/precise/cautious

  • Can be viewed as inflexible

  • Pre-conscious, they operate ‘in the moment’ – everything is not planned ahead

  • Occasionally termed asocial / introverted

  • Less verbal, but often show how they feel with body language

Dog people - directly confrontational

  • Competitive, they enjoy noting and others noticing their success

  • Possessive sometimes, may want to control and organize

  • Hierarchical with a clear sense of who is in charge

  • Tend to be a bit of an on/off switch, full steam ahead or lazing

  • Conformist, in the main, prefer some rules to guide them

  • Has a group mentality - an understanding of what others need

  • Values popularity/recognition/proving ability

  • Can be daring/clumsy/impulsive

  • Enjoys being silly and exuberance

  • Visibly reactive and expressive, what you see is what you get

  • Flexible, in the main, willing to go along with things (though sometime reluctant to give too much effort)

  • Extroverted / social

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