There are some of us who love animals and have pets. Some of us have them, while others beg their parents to get them. Then there are those who absolutely couldn’t care less for animals and having a pet is something they don’t even think twice about.
But let’s be real, having a dog or a cat or both are pretty popular. In fact, according to the Independent, about half of the households in Britain alone include some kind of pet. Roughly 10 million of those are dogs, and cats make up another 10 million.
Though they cost a ton of time and money, pets remained almost unaffected by the 2008 financial crisis. This shows that having a pet is not a luxury but rather it’s more about being an important part of the family and being loved by the people around them.
So why are some people so into pets while others are just not interested? According to the Independent, it might have something to do with genetics.
According to author John Bradshaw, many believe that having a dog (or sometimes a cat) has a ton of health benefits. People have the idea that dogs can help alleviate depression, reduce the risk of heart disease and combat loneliness.
But Bradshaw believes that this isn’t exactly the case. In fact, there have been studies done that show that people who have pets don’t live any longer than those who do not.
So why do some love them while others don’t care for them? Bradshaw says it has something to do with families. Kids have the desire to imitate their parents’ lifestyles when they leave home.
But researchers have recently found that it also has a lot to do with a genetic basis. There are those, regardless of their upbringing, who are predisposed to look for the company of animals.
So Bradshaw notes that the genes that create the desire to have pets are unique to humans, but they aren’t necessarily universal. So that could be the reason why some love them while others simply do not.
Bradshaw also adds another explanation, focusing on pet DNA. During the late Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods, wild males couldn’t get to domesticated females who were contained within human habitations.
So these domesticated animals that were kept isolated evolved away from their wild ancestors and eventually became the animals that we know and love today.
So those same genes, according to Bradshaw, that predispose some people to take on their first pets would have spread among those early farmers. So how does that explain the difference in how we feel about pets?
Well, Bradshaw says it’s because, at some point, the different strategies in getting domestic animals or enslaving their human carers became pretty viable.
There are studies that have shown that the affection for pets goes pretty hand-in-hand with the concern for the natural world.
People are divided between having little concern for animals or the environment and having a strong connection to both. Bradshaw writes that there are those who believe that getting a pet is the one way how we can urbanize society.