If you have ears (even if you just have one ear) at one point in time you’ve most certainly heard someone say that over time people start to look like their pets. Now, I have two cats and one is a large Tabby and the other a mixed kitty who is all grey. The last time caught my reflection my face was not half black/orange/brown and the other half all grey. However, I’ve not checked myself in the mirror in a couple of hours so if I do see myself and find that the previous statement is in face false then I will surely report back with an update. Regardless, it’s something that you know you’ve heard and I’m certain then went home to look at your own pet to test this theory out. So this week Raise A Paw is curious, do pets look like their owners?
Well believe it or not there is just a smidge of truth behind the theory but it’s not as deep as some believe. The link, turns out, has more to do with the physical nature of the pet as opposed to the personality of the pet.
Studies have shown that people purchase a pet, specifically dogs, based on how they fit in with their lifestyle. So, if you are tremendously active, love being outside and have a lot of excess energy then there is a strong change that you will purchase a dog with the same sort of physical characteristics. Likewise, if you are older, moving a bit slower, need more time to relax, then you will most likely choose a pooch who calms down a bit quicker, is apt to snuggle with or next to you and doesn’t need to run 50 miles a day.
The idea that an owner morphs in to their pet over time can be explained in the same way. Over time if you stop exercising, don’t really eat well and generally just don’t take great care of yourself then you gain weight and you start to look a little scruffy. So, if you have stopped being active then the chances are high that you’ve lessened the amount that you exercise your pet as well, even if you don’t realize it. So, then they will eventually start to become a little less fit and look a little scruffy as well. There you have it – you’ve just morphed yourself into your pet or vice versa.
Also, if you look at the additional factors of a person’s lifestyle they play a role in what the pet may look or be like as well. Typically people who own a Westminster-level dog have a little bit of extra cash. Chances are they groom themselves well – getting facials, manicures, pedicures, can afford a style not donned by the Hair Cuttery – and they administer the same sort of gifts on to their animals as well, ensuring they are scrubbed, groomed and quaiffed to perfection. Their lifestyle spills over to on to their pet so of course you think they look alike.
That’s not to say that a family with a little less cash flow can’t own a purebred poodle or that those taking up real estate in the 90210 can’t own a rescue mutt, obviously they can and do. But when it comes to lifestyle and what they can offer and afford their pet is different from food to hiring a daily walker to grooming to toys and beyond. However, the end result is that people then start to think that the a persons pet looks like them when in reality, it’s lifestyle reflecting lifestyle.
So, having a pet with similar physical characteristics really isn’t that odd – it makes perfect sense. But, what’s with people saying they look like their pet, as in “Don’t we have the same smile?”
Well, there is some evidence that tells us that human have an automatic distrust of dissimilar others and that the trust we feel for another person actually increases with our own perceptions of growing similarities. Way way way back when humans lived in small tribes this was thought to have increased a tribe member’s chances of survival. So, perhaps without knowing it, we also choose pets who have, what we believe in our minds, similar qualities. Perhaps a round face, an almond eye shape, or lighter hair.
But, more likely is the idea that somewhere along the way you probably have seen someone who looks like their pet. Perhaps it was a robust man walking a bulldog or a lithe, tall model walking an italian greyhound and you think to yourself, “holy crap, it’s true!” Once that seed is planted in your mind you go home and then look at your own pets and it just keeps growing from there. See, chances are that you are looking for the similarities rather than the differences between you and your favorite animal. If it has brown eyes and you have brown eyes, suddenly you decide that the theory is correct. But if you were to make a list of all the similarities and differences then chances are that the differences would far outweigh the similarities even if you are skewing the similarities to prove what I’m saying, wrong.