It is said that pet owners can and sometimes do look like their pets and I am referring to cats and dogs. This topic is normally discussed in relation to dogs. Research has been carried out on why dog owners look like their dogs. It’s been scientifically proven that they can and they do although it doesn’t happen all the time.
A Japanese psychologist, Sadahiko Nakajima, proved in his study that it’s all about the eyes. People choose dogs with similar eyes to theirs and a major reason according to Nakajima is the “mere exposure effect”. People choose dogs with a similar facial appearance to themselves because there is a preference for the familiar. I will speculate that people have a preference for the familiar because it is reassuring. Humans like the reassurance of the familiar particularly in a fast-changing world that is arguably getting worse.
And now to cats. There is a brilliant photograph on the Reddit.com website published by a member of that community who said: “Someone said me and my cat lookalike”. The photograph is below.
Undeniably, they do lookalike and conveniently it is mainly to do with the eyes. The eye colour is identical; a beautifully delicate, diluted blue. The hair colour is also very similar. And you could argue that the general facial appearance is similar as well.
The argument is, therefore, that, when possible, sometimes people choose cats that look like themselves. This makes sense because there should be no difference in human preference between cats and dogs. Although, arguably, it is more difficult to choose a cat that looks like yourself partly because dogs have more facial expressions or more overt facial expressions than cats because they are more social animals due to their grey wolf origin. They need to expressions for signalling.
We don’t know the percentage of people who look like their cats or dogs and this topic does not apply to me 😉. A rescue centre gave me my cat to look after as a foster carer and I adopted him. I made no selection whatsoever. And many people adopt cats because they wander up to them. Often there is no selection but, then again, equally often there is.
I think we have to look to the eye colour to see a matchup based on Mr Nakajima’s research on dogs. He discovered that the eyes were the most important facial feature when he masked out the eyes of the dogs and their owners. This prevented the participants of the study being able to match up dog and owner. When other areas of the anatomy were masked, they were still able to match dog to owner based on the appearance of their eyes.
Although it is not always only to do with the eyes:
Below are some more articles on cat appearance.