Arahori, M., Kuroshima, H., Hori, Y., Takagi, S., Chijiiwa, H., & Fujita, K. (2017). Owners’ view of their pets’ emotions, intellect, and mutual relationship: cats and dogs compared. Behavioural Processes.
Companion animals have established special relationships with humans, as demonstrated by many studies describing their abilities and bonds to communicate with humans. In this questionnaire-based study, we explored owners’ views of pets in terms of their emotional and intellectual functions and their relationship with owners, and compared the results between cat owners and dog owners. We found that although both types of owners most often regarded their pets as “family members,” this tendency was weaker in cat owners. Cat owners also scored significantly lower than dog owners for some emotions and intellect they thought their pets might have. Additionally, cat owners who regard their cats as family members tend to attribute “compassion” to their cats more strongly than cat owners who regard their pets as non-family. This study revealed that some aspects of cat owners’ views of their pets differ from those of dog owners. These finding may help us to better understand our heterospecific companions and establish good relationships with them.