Volume 7

The Perception of Men and Women and the Pets They Own: Does Female Necessarily Equal Feline?

Santina D. Masters and Steve Colletes

While much research had investigated factors that influence the decisions to own pets, little is known about perceptions of people who own pets. In an examination of the perceptions of people who own animals that do not fit the gender stereotype for pet ownership, 134 volunteers from a local state college were randomly assigned to one of four scenario conditions. The scenarios depicted either a man or a women living with three cats or three dogs. Participants rated the character’s level of masculinity or femininity. Scales of comfort around animals, empathy, liking of animals, and masculinity and femininity were also measured. Analyses indicated that participants found women to be less feminine when they owned multiple dogs. Results also showed that when participants displayed a high level of pet enjoyment, they also showed high liking for animals in general

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