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The Phenomenon of Dogs & Cats Looking Like Their Owners

Updated on February 5, 2015
I think this dog has been hypnotized by its owner, what do you think?
I think this dog has been hypnotized by its owner, what do you think?
Otto looked identical to this cat.
Otto looked identical to this cat.

I was working as an outside salesman selling windows on a cool, sunny, autumn, morning day. Driving my car down an old street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I noticed an older, heavy set gentleman. and his dog sitting in a garage. I stopped, waved, and asked the man for directions. He got up from his chair (dog got up at the same time) and they walked towards me, side by side, yet this was very intriguing. As the owner walked across his old dilapidated driveway (with potholes and rocks) he walked with a slow gait and a limp in his right leg, the fascinating thing to me was his dog was walking with the same right leg limp and looked just like him. I commented to him, "I said hey man, your dog walks just like you and he looks like you too!" He said, "Oh yea? I didn't notice." Yet I could tell he was pretty proud and touched by my statement. It left a nostalgic, warm feeling in my heart . Here's a dog and his owner, going through life together, completely loyal, with a seemingly endless time, and without a care in the world. I got home that night and I began thinking..l thought about 18 years ago, I had rented a room from Jeff Heinz. He's a general contractor (very outgoing personality), works out of his house, stands 6 ft. 2" and weighs about 350 pounds. Needless to say he did a lot of sitting. I bring this up because he had this cat (named Otto) who was a portly looking, I mean this cat was fat. The funny thing was, Otto would come up to you and head butt you, until you pet him. You could say he had an outgoing personality as well (alpha cat).

Do pets look more like humans or do humans look more like their pets?

Notice the visible ear and soft eyes.
Notice the visible ear and soft eyes.

Psychology Today says a lot of owners choose dogs that look like themselves solely because "familiarity."

We look at ourselves daily in a mirror, and I think most people who have pets that look like themselves, validate their existence and emanate their good-hearted nature. On the flip side there are aggressive breeds that people choose to have, to mirror an aggressive side, generally a mean-spiriteded individual. Society, influence, and upbringing determine our companions, the fascinating part is that pets can sense our moods, detect fear, seizures, etc. They're smart, but not smart enough to premeditate harm or dwell in the past and hold a grudge. They just want to be around us, protect us, and love us. What an awesome thing this is.

I like this girl here on the right, her dog has a soft fluffy sensitive aura with prominent perky ears (so does she). Notice how the dogs owner pulls her hair tightly around her ear to showcase it. The dog's ears are a showcase as well. Here's an obvious example of when an owner is trying to simulate the prominent features (eyes and ears) of her dog. She's done a great job!

I've heard that animals protect their owners (merely for selfish reasons) because they're protecting their food source and habitat. That's a bunch of "hogwash," check out this video below, do you think this 4 year old kid is putting this cat up with "room & board?" This cat has simply morphed into a family member protecting its family.

Heroic Cat Protecting its Family

Notice the ears, the cat is trying to concentrate and is agitated by the photographer, notice the lack of eye contact.
Notice the ears, the cat is trying to concentrate and is agitated by the photographer, notice the lack of eye contact.

For the Journal of Veterinary Behavior study, researchers studied two groups of cats. Each group received excellent care, in terms of food, medical attention and grooming. The owners of all the cats worked during the day and returned home in the evenings.

The first group of cats, however, lived in smaller homes and stayed closer to their owners. The second group lived more of an indoor/outdoor lifestyle on larger property. These cats were also kept outside at night.

Over time, the cats in the first group mirrored the lives of their owners. Their eating, activity and sleeping patterns were very similar. The cats left out at night became more nocturnal, matching the behaviors of semi-dependent farm cats with more feral ways.

"Cats are intelligent animals with a long memory," Jane Brunt, DVM, and the executive director of the CATalyst Council, told Discovery News. "They watch and learn from us, (noting) the patterns of our actions, as evidenced by knowing where their food is kept and what time to expect to be fed, how to open the cupboard door that's been improperly closed and where their feeding and toileting areas are."

Love and Loyalty of a Pet is Earned

I bought a Siberian Husky and a Golden Lab when they were two years old from a family just starting out. They just had a baby and didn't have time for the dogs (the dogs were both chained to a dog house. I asked the owner what would happen if I left them off the cable and just left them in my back yard. He said they would get out and take off. He was right. I brought them home that day, put em' in the back yard (they dug a hole under the fence) and they took off. For two weeks they were gone. One day I came home from work and the husky (Nino) was doing donuts in my driveway wagging his tail, we were both happy to see each other again. Then the Lab (Jake) was found a week later by my brother's friend. He was jogging and saw a "found dog" sign, it was Jake! Ever since that day when both of my dogs were back, I took them wherever I went. I went running with them everyday and lo and behold over time, we all morphed into one unit. Now, instead of taking off from the back yard, they would hang out at the front waiting for me to get home so we could go on our run. I would approach them, they would stretch out their front legs, the husky with howl with excitement and the lab would imitate the husky by letting out a bear grumble. It felt like they were greeting royalty. The Lab would take his running harness (in the house), put his nose under it and flip it up in air so high, it would hit the ceiling. The Husky was always watching me, waiting for me to say: "Do you want to go for a walk?" Both dogs would go ballistic with excitement, I would struggle getting their harnesses on because they would be bouncing around so hard. We ran everywhere, the streets, the beach, the park, anywhere where there was room to run. I used harnessed to they would be able to tow me on my skateboard. It was like an urban dog-sled team. The loyalty and love we had for each other was phenomenal.

If you own a pet do people say that it looks just like you?

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In Conclusion

Do you have what it takes to care for a pet, a place for it to live comfortably? Pets today are our friends and family members and we shouldn't take animal neglect lightly. The HSUS estimates that nearly 1 million animals a year are abused or killed by careless owners. Statistics:

It's important as a society to be on the look out for any animal that is being mistreated and report it to the Our pets deserve to be treated with the utmost, care, respect, and love. That's the least we can do for them, in reciprocation for all they do for us. Happy Trails...


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