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Dogs, cats, and their people: The place of the family pet and attitudes about pet keeping

By Jill Johnson

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Category Theses

The perception of pets as ‘family members’ is an important area of research in the study of human-animal relationships. The objective of this thesis is to assess the ways in which pets are integrated into the home, and to explore how pet owners regard their dogs and cats within their constructed circles of kinship and social bonds. This research also examines a sample of attitudes toward some important issues with pet keeping, from what constitutes responsible pet guardianship to modern issues in animal welfare. Thirty-four participants were recruited, and data was collected through individual qualitative interviews. Data analysis shows the level of integration of the pet into the family has some correlations with the gender of the primary pet caretaker, and shows the impact of  individual experiences of participants, particularly in childhood, which strongly  influenced preferences of pet type, and their view of the role of animals in the home. 

Date 2009
Pages 93
Publisher University of Waterloo
Department Anthropology
Degree Master of Arts
University University of Waterloo
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Culture
  3. Human-animal relationships
  4. Individual & family studies
  5. Pet ownership
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Social sciences