Tails of animal attraction: Incorporating the feline into the family

Hilary Downey, Sarah Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Increased urbanization and female employment have led to the cat overtaking the dog as the companion animal of preference. However, thisarticle looks beyond lifestyle changes as reasons for the popularity of the cat. The article explores the emotional consumer-socialization processinvolving the incorporation of the cat into the family. Subjective personal introspection (SPI) and supporting vignettes of female humans in theirfamilies (all of which were high-involvement owners) explore the hows and whys of feline incorporation. The study identifies several categories ofincorporation. The findings suggest that this complex process involves many factors — namely, consumer socialization, intergenerationalinfluence, brand loyalty, commitment, near-instant loyalty, immediacy, distress, anthropomorphism, and nostalgia. These factors underpin theintimacy and care the human–feline relationship expresses. The ability for humans and cats to bond in a way that fosters emotional intimacy canbe considered one of the purest forms of relationships.© 2007 Published by Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-441
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Applied Psychology


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