Does your dog love you? Most likely, yes. What about a cat? What about the fish? And in general, what is the love of your pet, and how to understand, how it applies to you? Desperate to find answers in the nearest veterinary clinic, the correspondent of the portal Melmagazine.com interviewed the breeders of popular pets and biologists – specialists in animal behavior and compiled this list. In it, animals are listed in descending order of their ability to love a person ( that is, to become attached to the owner and express this affection). The list does not pretend to be objective or academically rigorous ( although experts often relied on research data), but still sheds light on the relationship of the owners with the pets.
1. Dog: Adoration Machine
The relationship between dogs and humans is unique; according to various sources, our common history dates from 12 to 25 thousand years. All this time they learned to live next to a person: digest human carbohydrate-rich foods, read our emotions and distinguish between the words of human languages. Kyle Kittelson, animal behavior specialist: “The main way to express love in dogs is by touching. Dogs lick people and allow them to stroke themselves, thereby expressing a good attitude and affection. And the dogs read your behavior and adapt to it – therefore, when a child appears in a house where there is a dog, the dog, as a rule, begins to protect him. ” Dogs are able to love like no other animal – and therefore top our list.
2. Parrot: love is on the verge
The dog loves the owner as a sibling or best friend. He loves parrots (except budgies, which will be discussed later) differently – as a jealous and often unbalanced romantic partner. “Parrots need a lot of attention,” says biologist, a specialist in large fauna, Deji Asiru-Balogun, and adds: “If a parrot lacks attention and love, it can even perform strange, self-destructive actions – for example, pulling out its own feathers or banging its head on walls”. Parrots are not just social; in the wild, they are VERY social, Deji explains, they live in large packs, and their survival depends on constant and close interaction with their own kind; communication is necessary for these birds to maintain a healthy body and mind. If you meet alone parrot in the forest, it means that he is either injured or sick.
Asiru-Balogan adds that the parrot becomes a good pet only for the person to whom it got a chick: they are very attached to the first owner, but with great difficulty – to a new one. This is worth remembering when starting a parrot: they live a very long time – sometimes more than 70 years!
4. Rats: mind and tenderness
Rats are great pets. Sonia Jörg, Ph.D., who defended her thesis on animal behavior, notes: “In nature, rats talk a lot with relatives, and people who live close by are perceived as big rats.” The indicator of confidence, according to Jörg, is the distance between you and the animal: in nature, rats live closely, often touch each other, so if your pet spends time quietly in your hands or on your knees, it means that it considers it your own.
5. Horses: singular
Horses do not quite fit into the category of “pets”, but they are definitely able to become attached to those who care for them, so several experts surveyed for this article immediately voted to include the horses in the list. In addition, their story of living together with people is not much shorter than a dog. Horses are not favorable to all people, sometimes their connection with the owner becomes exclusive – in the sense that a horse allows only one person to ride it or even take care of itself. They accept affection and even seek it, are sensitive to intonations. To call horse affection love or not is a matter of style, but it certainly can be strong and multifaceted.
6. Cats: continuous contradictions
Cats are the most controversial pets on the list: experts say that they don’t care about people – but some examples of behavior are difficult to interpret as a manifestation of affection for a person.
Sociality for cats is optional: in the wild, they live alone, but sometimes they form groups in which they communicate quite closely. However, their survival does not depend on the ability to recognize signals and guess about the emotions of other cats; homemade Felis silvestris catusand their closest wild relatives do not hunt and raise offspring together, therefore their social skills leave much to be desired. On the other hand, domestic cats have five thousand years of close proximity to people. The time spent side by side, and often – under one roof, softened their character and made gentle companions – but hardly taught to love. “Cats look at you as attendants,” says Asiru-Balogun. Jörg holds a similar point of view: “You are probably a source of food and sometimes entertainment for a cat, so the cat can leave you and find a new table and house.” On the other hand, for cats, attempts to “feed” the owner are not so rare – to bring a killed mouse or bird; in addition, many domestic cats distinguish owners from outsiders – they trust the first and are afraid of the latter.
7. Ferrets: love outdoor games
that interesting pets usually come out of predators. “Predators are characterized by a wide variety of behavioral patterns, including game behavior – when playing, they master hunting skills. If predators live near people, there’s more time and energy left for games than in the wild, so they can play all their lives. ” In addition, they are paired animals, and a person is quite capable of replacing a ferret of another ferret, with whom you can fool around.
8. Hamsters and gerbils: distinguish their own from strangers
Hamsters and guinea pigs are not as affectionate as rats, but they, according to Kittelson, have precisely formed preferences: they will always prefer a host society to a stranger society – and this is already something.
9. Budgies: good buddies
If large parrots (Jaco, macaw, cockatoo) love the owners hysterically, are jealous, offended, and fall into depression when they receive less attention, then budgies and other medium-sized flocking parrots (Korells, lovebirds) love the hosts more like good friends. They live in small flocks or in pairs, love to communicate, but they are unlikely to begin to tear out their feathers when they see that you stroked another bird.
10. Aquarium fish: too far
“They are in the water, and you are not, and this is a serious obstacle to communication,” Jörg states, and Kittlson adds: “Goldfish can be pretty quick-witted, they can be trained, but don’t expect the fish to attach to you.”