Obsessed With Your Pet? Science Says You're Neurotic (And Needy)

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Take a look around you. Do you have photos of your pet everywhere? Do you find the compulsion to talk about your pet at any given opportunity even if it doesn't really fit in with the conversation? Are you the type of person who is over the top, madly in love with your pet (like me!) and the thought of functioning in this world without them wrecks such havoc on your soul that you can't even allow yourself to go there with those wickedly dark thoughts?

Yes? Then there's a good chance you're neurotic, too, on top of being obsessed. And not just sort of neurotic, but really neurotic, which is actually good for your pet. Go figure.

A recent study of pets and their owners was also the first to find a link between the affection of one's pet and anxious attachment and neuroticism. As co-author Mike Delgado pointed out, "The fact that higher levels of neuroticism are associated with affection and anxious attachment suggests that people who score higher on that dimension may have high levels of affection and dependence on their pets, which may be a good thing for pets."

Unlike human babies, furry babies need constant care their entire lives. Human babies up and jump out of the nest eventually. Furry babies are in it to win it until the end, so that need to smother them with affection and provide for them makes for a great pet owner.

The survey of 1,000 pet owners had each participant identify themselves as a dog person, cat person, neither or both. They were measured by five human characteristic traits and whether they suffered from "anxious attachment" or "avoidant attachment." Those who scored high on the former were more needy in reassurance of their affection, many of which happened to be cat people who were on the younger side of the participants.

The study also found that both groups, dog and cat people, scored low on the scale of avoidment attachment, whereas people who would score high on such a scale could be labeled commitment-phobe. Most pet owners happen to be anything but that.

What does this mean? Basically, attachment mixed with high doses of neuroticism is great for a pet. You may be heckled for your neurotic ways and you may even drive the humans around you crazy with your need to be reassured of things, but the reality is that your pets are greatly benefiting from your neuroses. It's the neurotics of the world, although somewhat grating to others, who are actually better providers and have a greater "understanding of their pet's needs," as the study points out.

So go ahead and add yet another photo of Max to the wall above your desk at work, you crazed pet owner you! You're doing wonders for your furry buddy with all that love so don't let some weird non-pet person tell you anything different or shame you for being so obsessed. They just don't get it. But you get it, I get it, and a lot of others get it. That's all that matters.

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