DOI: 10.1079/hai.2024.0007 ISSN: 2957-9538

Exploring the impact of dogs on the human-cat relationship in private homes

Sara T. Clarkson, Lori R. Kogan, Emma K. Grigg


Despite the growing numbers of dogs and cats cohabiting in US households, little research has focused on the influence of dogs on the human-animal bond of their feline roommates. The present study investigated whether cohabiting with a dog has an impact on the human-cat bond and the ways in which cats interact with humans. Based on existing knowledge of the differences between human-dog and human-cat interactions, we predicted that cats who have lived with a dog for at least 1 year will exhibit differences in the bond and interaction frequency with their owners. A 46-item survey was administered to 682 US cat owners via social media (SM) and Mechanical Turk (MTurk), Amazon’s crowdsourcing service, to collect data on demographics, interaction frequency, behavioral issues, and pet-owner bond. Although owners in cat-only households tended to report slightly higher bond scores with their cats ( μ SM = 30.34; μ Mturk = 28.32) than owners in mixed households ( μ SM = 29.33; μ Mturk = 27.42), the differences were small, and the association between household type and bond score was not significant ( p SM = 0.973, p MTurk = 0.124). Owners who engaged in more frequent active interactions with their cats had higher bond scores. These results indicate that spending more time engaging in active interactions with one’s cat is associated with a stronger bond, and the frequency of these interactions may be more important than the presence of a cohabiting dog.

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