COVID- 19 lockdown provided a unique, in situ opportunity to probe caretaker experiences of living with companion animals during a stressful event. We launched an online survey in the United States that included standard demographic questions, questions related to household structures, and 25 Likert scale questions that probed perceptions of whether and how respondents’ relationships changed during social isolation. This paper uses a subset of that data specific to dog and cat guardians. A principal components analysis and Mann-Whitney U test returned no significant differences between cat and dog guardians on three scales (Scale 1: Psychological Well-being, Scale 2: Bonding, and Scale 3: Companion Animal vs. Family). However, subtle differences emerged on specific items (e.g., “my pet is an extension of me”). We suggest guardian perceptions of species-specific needs and cognitive/emotional capacities may bias relationships with companion animals. Furthermore, we suggest these differences are the result of persistent cultural myths about the differences between cats and dogs.
|Publication Title||People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice|
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