A Study Has Found: People choose dogs based on looks; cats, based on interaction

This cute pup would have a good shot and getting adopted, according to the study.

As pet owners, we share a special bond with our cats or dogs, which often take on the roll of a four-legged family member within our homes. Now, a new study has shed light on the mental process that takes place when people choose those beloved pets.

According to an ASPCA study reported by the Wall Street Journal, the reason that people settle on a particular dog is rather superficial, really. The lyrics of a favorite children’s song prove to ring true:

How much is that doggie in the window? (arf! arf!)
The one with the waggley tail

That’s right, it’s all about looks for 76.8 percent of people when they’re picking out a cute, rambunctious puppy, and 78.3 percent of adopters when picking out an adult dog.

When it comes to picking out a cat, though, people tend to look more within. The study shows 77.9 percent of adopters said how a cat interacts with people is the deciding factor on choosing it — probably because they all look the same anyway (full disclosure: we are dog people here at Metro). It’s also the most important factor for 69.3 percent of people picking out a kitten.

The study was particularly important for the ASPCA because it provided insight into how people select pets that are up for adoption. Sure, it’s easy to settle on a cute, clean puppy or a frisky kitten — but many animals that wind up in shelters have had a rough life on the streets or have suffered abuse, causing dogs to sometimes lack that freshly groomed look or cats to shy away from people.

A person’s tendency to choose interactive pets was especially evident when adopters answered the question, “What did this pet do when you first met him/her?”

Sounds like picking out a pet is a pretty similar process to picking out a dating partner.

More adventures in psuedoscience:

  • If someone adopts a pet, they’re probably a pretty nice person, right? A new study says niceness (and meanness) might be in the genes.
  • On that note, nice people probably have a more positive outlook, which could be good for your heart, according to research.
  • Have chinplants replaces breast implants? More women are opting for a chin makeover


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