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Tails of animal attraction: Incorporating the feline into the family

By Hilary Downey, Sarah Ellis

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Increased urbanization and female employment have led to the cat overtaking the dog as the companion animal of preference. However, this article looks beyond lifestyle changes as reasons for the popularity of the cat. The article explores the emotional consumer-socialization process involving the incorporation of the cat into the family. Subjective personal introspection (SPI) and supporting vignettes of female humans in their families (all of which were high-involvement owners) explore the hows and whys of feline incorporation. The study identifies several categories of incorporation. The findings suggest that this complex process involves many factors — namely, consumer socialization, intergenerational influence, brand loyalty, commitment, near-instant loyalty, immediacy, distress, anthropomorphism, and nostalgia. These factors underpin the intimacy and care the human–feline relationship expresses. The ability for humans and cats to bond in a way that fosters emotional intimacy can be considered one of the purest forms of relationships.


Megan Kendall

Purdue University

Publication Title Journal of Business Research
Volume 61
Issue 5
Pages 434-441
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.jbusres.2007.07.015
Notes This article was used with permission by Elsevier
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Hilary Downey; Sarah Ellis (2013), "Tails of animal attraction: Incorporating the feline into the family,"

    BibTex | EndNote

  1. Animal roles
  2. Branding
  3. Cats
  4. Consumers
  5. Human-animal bond
  6. Human-animal relationships
  7. Mammals
  8. open access
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Pet ownership
  11. Pets and companion animals
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed