Study Finds Crazy Cat Lady Stereotype is invalid | NatureCity
A cat lady is a cultural stereotype of a woman, often a spinster, who compulsively hoards and dotes upon cats. According to a new study though, cat owners do not differ from dog owners and non-pet owners on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, or experiences in close relationships.
Participants in the study included 561 adults, of whom 47% were pet owners. Researchers used the Edinburgh Depression Scale to assess symptoms of depression and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire to assess symptoms of anxiety. The Experience in Close Relationships measure was used to assess interpersonal relationship functioning.
The researchers also used animal distress vocalizations to assess how participants interpreted and reacted to the emotional content of animal vocalizations.
Participants who owned a pet were not significantly different from non-pet owning participants in symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition, no difference was found in their experiences in personal relationships. However, pet owners tended to rate the animal distress vocalizations as sadder than non-pet owners. Cat owners gave the most negative rating of cat meows compared to the other participants.
The study was conducted by researchers from Aarhus University, the University of Oxford, and UCLA. It was published on August 21, 2019 in the journalRoyal Society of Open Science.