NEW YORK — You might be smarter than a fifth grader, but what about your next door neighbor’s pet cat? Three in five Americans think their pet has a higher level of intelligence than the average person, new research suggests.
The survey of 2,000 cat and dog owners shows that 61 percent believe their furry friend is actually smarter than the average human being. Regardless of intelligence, 81 percent say they treat their pets the same way they treat people. This may be why the majority of those polled think it’s “cute” (50%) and “relatable” (41%) when people treat their pets like children, compared to only 21 percent who find it “annoying.”
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Pet Honesty, the survey also explored other ways that respondents treat their pets like people. One in four even admitted to calling their pet their “child,” and almost twice as many (47%) use “baby” as a nickname.
Similarly, one in three call themselves their pet’s “mom” or “dad,” roughly the same as the number of people who use the term “owner” instead. Three in five prefer to include their pet in family group photos more than half the time, while one in five do so every time.
“It’s not hard to imagine why many people treat their pets like people,” a spokesperson for Pet Honesty says in a statement. “Some pets can live for several decades, which is a long time to take care of anything! So, of course we end up feeling a connection to them that’s as strong as the ones we feel with other people.”
Do pet supplements help?
Although most of those polled brought their pets home for companionship (59%), many others did so as a way to improve their own health (40%) or stress levels (40%). Similarly, half of respondents (53%) feel supplements are important to their own health, and half also feel the same way with regard to their pet’s health (49%).
Forty-five percent have already bought some kind of supplement for their pet, versus 53 percent who’ve bought supplements for themselves – most commonly multivitamins, in both cases.
“Humans aren’t the only ones who can improve their overall health by taking dietary supplements,” Pet Honesty’s spokesperson adds. “Many pets can benefit from taking supplements as well, which are often made with similar ingredients as human-grade products.”
Many respondents also perform many of the same activities with their pets as they do with other people, including buying them presents for the holidays (57%) and throwing them a birthday or “gotcha day” party (40%).
Two in five (40%) have even dressed their pets up in clothing, most commonly costumes (47%), sweaters (46%), and jackets (43%). Only 23 percent have dressed their pets up in formalwear, like tuxedos and dresses – but 32 percent have still brought their pets to weddings and other formal events.
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,004 cat and dog owners was commissioned by Pet Honesty between October 3 and October 7, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).