“Hey Baby, guess what?” I asked Callaghan the other night.
“I realized that I’m not an introvert, and I’m not an extravert. Guess what I am!”
This took me by surprise. Wasn’t it obvious where I was heading?
“A mama bear.”
“No.” Although I am.
“I don’t know, mon amour. What are you?”
“I’m not an introvert, and I’m not an extravert,” I began again. “I’m a catrovert.”
Callaghan paused, then snorted with laughter.
“That’s a good one,” he said. “It’s TRUE.”
Yes, it is.
In a world of introverts and extraverts, I’ve always been a textbook introvert. The personality tests I’ve taken have reflected this unfailingly. According to Myers-Briggs, I’m an INTJ. But actually, I’m a CNTJ.
I’ve yet to see catroversion documented anywhere in the literature concerning personality types, but it should be, because I know that I’m far from the only one.
Introversion and extraversion are terms that describe how people replenish their mental and emotional energy stores, right? The way I understand it, introverts “recharge” best in solitude… they get their energy from within themselves, so they need alone-time. Extraverts recharge by being with others; they’re energized in the company of other people.
Catroverts, meanwhile, recharge by being with cats. We derive our energy from those of the feline persuasion, so the time we spend with them is the most profoundly therapeutic time we can know.
These pics with Nenette were taken on Sunday. Lots of Labor Day weekend fur-baby bonding went on around here!
And Nounours got all kinds of snuggles in the aftermath of his dental surgery a couple of weeks ago:
Since I just did a search and found no mention of catroversion anywhere online,* I figured it ought to be published somewhere, which, I guess, means here in this post. Let’s take it a step further and break catroversion down into two types:
- Type A catrovert: Derives energy from being with cat(s)
- Type B catrovert: Derives energy from being ALONE with cat(s)
The Type A catrovert often tests as an extravert on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (That would be Callaghan.)
The Type B catrovert is essentially also an introvert. (This would be me.)
“Voilà,” I said to Callaghan, “We’re not really opposites in this regard! We’re both primary catroverts.” It was easy to flesh out my theory as I went, so I kept going. “And your secondary extraversion and my secondary introversion complement each other.”
Seriously… with a few exceptions, if Callaghan wasn’t around to encourage me to go out and do social things (i.e. attend parties), I just wouldn’t. He’s good at busting me out of my comfort zones. Pretty much the only place at which I look forward to socializing is the gym. Outside of that, give me one-on-one interactions with friends, and small groups over large ones.
Callaghan had to admit that I was onto something when I presented catroversion to him.
So what are some things we should know about catroverts?
1). The catrovert with secondary extraversion (Type A catrovert) may be prone to:
- Overspending the household budget on cat birthday party preparations
- Bringing home every stray cat on the street
- Struggling to resist adopting all the cats in the shelter
- Feeding the neighborhood stray cats
- Insisting on going over to talk to the cats up for adoption at PetSmart and PetCo
2). The catrovert with secondary introversion (Type B catrovert) may be prone to:
- Being accused of being anti-social (if not an all-out misanthrope)
- Being labeled a “crazy cat lady” (even if not a lady)
- Taking longer than average to grieve the loss of a beloved cat
- Feeling inexplicably jealous if kitty responds to a visitor’s affection
- Dying alone with cats
3). Advice for the employer, since the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is heavily used as a resource in the workplace: the best way to handle your catrovert employees is to allow them to bring their cats to work.
4). Being a catrovert does NOT make someone a strict cat person; being a catrovert doesn’t preclude loving and/or appreciating dogs or other animals.
I could go on. I may even expand this topic into a book-length volume at some point. For now, I’ll just sign off with the observation that the only reason we don’t have a houseful of cats is that my being a Type B catrovert balances out Callaghan being a Type A catrovert.
*ETA: I just searched on a different engine, and I DID find references to catroversion elsewhere. Catroverts REPRESENT!