How Japanese companion dog and cat owners’ degree of attachment relates to the attribution of emotions to their animals
How Japanese companion dog and cat owners' degree of attachment relates to the attribution of emotions to their animals
Bingtao Su 0 1
Naoko Koda 1
Pim Martens 0 1
0 International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), Maastricht University, MD Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2 School of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology , Saiwai-cho, Fuchu, Tokyo , Japan
1 Editor: Mariska E. Kret, Leiden University , NETHERLANDS
Recently, studies in the United States and European countries have shown that the degree of attachment is associated with the attribution of emotions to companion animals. These studies imply that investigating the degree of attachment to companion animals is a good way for researchers to explore animal emotions and then improve animal welfare. Although a promising area of study, in Japan, no empirical studies have examined the correlation between the degree of attachment and the attribution of emotions to companion animals. In this research, we aimed to assess companion animal owners' attribution of six primary (anger, joy, sadness, disgust, fear and surprise) and four secondary (shame, jealousy, disappointment and compassion) emotions to their dogs and cats, as well as how the degree of attachment related to such attribution of emotions from a Japanese cultural perspective. The ªPet Bonding Scaleº (PBS), which is used to determine the level of bonding between humans and animals, was introduced to measure respondents' degree of attachment to their companion animals. The results of a questionnaire (N = 546) distributed throughout Japan showed that respondents attributed a wide range of emotions to their animals. Companion animals' primary emotions, compared to secondary emotions, were more commonly attributed by their owners. The attribution of compassion and jealousy was reported at a high level (73.1% and 56.2%, respectively), which was surprising as compassion and jealousy are generally defined as secondary emotions. All participants were highly attached to their companion animals, and this attachment was positively associated with the attribution of emotions (9/10) to companion animals (all p < 0.05). This study is one of the first to investigate animal emotions by analyzing the bonding between companion animals and owners in Japan, and it can therefore provide knowledge to increase Japanese people's awareness of animal welfare.
Data Availability Statement: All relevant data are
within the paper and its Supporting Information
Funding: The author(s) received no specific
funding for this work.
Competing interests: The authors have declared
that no competing interests exist.
Human attribution of companion animal emotions is commonly used in an attempt to
improve animal welfare [1±3]. An important ethical issue in animal welfare appears precisely
due to the opinions held by many people that most animals have emotional experiences. If
animals experience disappointment and fear due to an inability to perform their natural
behavior patterns or, more directly, due to animal cruelty, then this has moral importance and, in
turn, may have a major influence on animal welfare [
]. Therefore, a better understanding
of animal emotions is an important step toward promoting optimum animal welfare. Emotion
is the mental state expressed by animals, and it reflects animals' psychological reality . A
direct attempt to explore animal emotions is to attribute their emotions from human
perspectives. However, the question of whether animals experience the same range of emotions as
humans has long been argued [
4, 7, 8
]. Emotions can be classified into primary (e.g., anger,
joy, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise) and secondary (e.g., shame, jealousy, disappointment,
compassion) ones [9±12]. Primary emotions are, more than any secondary emotions,
accessible to observation [
]. A growing number of studies have revealed that primary emotions are
experienced by both humans and animals [
], while secondary emotions are unique to
mature humans and perhaps other primates, at least as presently understood [
Several approaches have been adopted to study animal emotions [
]. For instance,
researchers may investigate the role of emotions in human beings and then examine whether the
function is the same in humans and non-human animals [
], or whether the mechanisms
underlying emotions are similar in humans and non-human animals [
]. In this research,
we aimed to study animal emotions in a new way, investigating whether companion animal
owners can attribute emotions to their animals and how the degree of attachment influences
such emotion attributions from a cultural perspective. During the last several decades, many
scales have been designed and developed to assess people's attachment to animals . After
comparison with other scales, the ªPet Bonding Scaleº (PBS) [
] was introduced in the
present study to measure companion animal owners' degree of attachment and its correlation with
the attribution of emotions to their animals in Japan. The concise design, simple language,
specific purpose and explicit meaning of each statement of the PBS allow it to be more easily
understood by respondents and enable us to arrive at a single aggregated outcome [
Additionally, compared to the lay public, companion animal owners would be a better choice
when approaching animal emotions because their direct experience in interacting with
animals may allow them to better comprehend animals' behavior associated with emotions [
To date, some studies conducted in Western countries have reported that companion
animal owners can attribute a wide range of emotions to their animals [19±22]. Female owners
are more likely to attribute emotions to their animals than are male owners [
companion animal owners are more likely to attribute emotions to their dogs than to their cats
. Nevertheless, no significant differences in such emotion attributions have been found
between companion dogs and cats in China, where people have a relatively low awareness of
animal welfare [
]. Therefore, it is plausible that the attribution of emotions to companion
animals might differ between different countries with varying awareness of animal welfare.
However, in addition to human demographics and the different awareness of animal welfare,
other variables, such as the degree of attachment to animals, traditional culture and ideological
condition, might also influence companion animal owners' attribution of emotions to
companion animals. We selected Japan as the representative of this study since Japanese people are
open-minded to different cultures. They appreciate the Western values of human rights and
freedom and, simultaneously, respect the traditional Confucian and Buddhist values of
harmony and humble behavior [
The relationships between humans and animals in Japan are largely influenced by its
mentality of collectivism, traditional culture of Animistic Shinto, Confucianism and Buddhism, as
well as the Western values of human rights and freedom [
]. Japanese people are collectivistic
and not concerned with foundations or universal laws. They understand animal emotions in
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terms of complex interactions between dispositions of animals and contextual factors, and
they might find it relatively difficult to separate animal emotions from the situational context
in which they occurred [
]. Therefore, the fundamental attribution error is much harder to
demonstrate with Japanese people than Western people [
]. Regarding traditional Japanese
culture, Shintoism advocates reciprocal care and compassionate relationships between humans
and animals. In addition to Shinto ideology, Japanese attitudes toward animals and animal
emotions have been influenced by Confucianism, which highlights the symbiosis between
humans and animals, although humans are regarded as the lords of creation [
]. Animals are
often portrayed as being appreciative of and dutiful to humans in Japanese folklore and fables
], which reflects the earlier attribution of emotions to animals in Japan. Buddhism, one
of the most important religions, influences Japanese social values, including attitudes toward
animals. Japanese mainstream Buddhist philosophers regard animals as sentient beings with
the potential for better rebirth and salvation in the cycle of death and rebirth. The memorial
service for dead companion animals is indicative of Japanese tradition, since premodern and
many modern Japanese people believe animals have souls, emotions and feelings, even after
their death .
The primary purpose of this research was to examine Japanese companion animal owners'
attribution of emotions to their dogs and cats. Additionally, we aimed to investigate how the
degree of attachment influences the attribution of emotions to companion animals from
Japanese cultural perspectives. Considering that many previous studies conducted in Western
countries have demonstrated how human demographics and the communications between
animals and owners influence the relationship between humans and animals [
19, 31, 32
assume such variables would also influence the degree of attachment to companion animals in
Japan. Therefore, we examined the role of these variables in the relationship between
companion animals and their owners.
This study was conducted using protocols approved by Maastricht University's Ethical Review
Committee Inner City faculties (ERCIC).
Using the Emotions of Pets Questionnaire (S1 Questionnaire), we wanted to investigate how
the degree of attachment of Japanese owners of companion dogs and cats relates to the
attribution of emotions to their animals.
The questionnaire consisted of four sections. The first section covered demographic
information including age, gender, educational level, companion animal species, animal
protection/nature conservation/human health organization participation, the existence of a private
garden, attitudes toward religion, and the main source of inspirations.
In the second section, respondents were asked to supply information about their
companion animals' basic characteristics (e.g., gender, size, age, neutered status and owners'
perceptions of their animals' health condition), as well as their husbandry practices (e.g., how often
do you brush your dog? Where does your pet sleep?). Additionally, respondents were asked if
they were the main caregivers of their pets, whether they have other pets, how many years they
have owned their pets, and why they have chosen to have pets.
The ªPet Bonding Scaleº (PBS) [
], a 25-item Likert scale, was introduced in the third
section. The PBS is a five-point scale ranging from 0 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). The
sum of the PBS scores indicates the degree of owners' attachment to their companion animals,
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and a high score reflects a strong attachment. Examples of questions include ªI like to spend a
lot of time with my petº; ªI can tell secrets to my petº; and ªI keep pictures of my pet.º
Furthermore, respondents were also asked how their pets communicated with them (e.g., meowing/
barking, body language, touching, scratching, looking, sniffing) and how they communicated
with their companion animals (e.g., watching, touching, petting).
In the fourth section, a list of six primary (anger, joy [happiness], fear, surprise, disgust and
sadness) and four secondary (shame, jealousy, disappointment, compassion) emotions was
given to the participants. They were asked whether they had witnessed any (or all) of these
emotions expressed by their companion animals. Ratings were made on a three-point Likert
scale (1 = never, 2 = sometimes, and 3 = often). A high score indicates a strong attribution of
emotion to companion animals.
Data were collected from Japanese dog and/or cat owners using paper-based and online
(n = 400) questionnaires (S1 Dataset). The paper questionnaires were conducted using the
authors' networks. By means of snowball sampling [
], 146 Japanese dog and cat owners filled
in our questionnaire. The online questionnaire was conducted via Cross Marketing, one of the
pioneer research companies in Japan, by means of simple random sampling . The
invitation email with the hyperlink to our questionnaire was sent to participants and they were
asked to visit the website of our questionnaire and click ªsubmitº when they complete all the
questions. A total of 400 dog and cat owners were obtained from 1841 people throughout all
the 47 prefectures of Japan. The response rates for the two survey methods were 100% and
21.7%, respectively. The inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) volunteers who were older than
18 years and who agreed to attend the study and 2) volunteers who were the main caregivers of
their companion dogs/cats. To keep the answers consistent, participants were asked to respond
for only one dog or cat. For those owners who owned more than one companion animal, we
asked them to respond according to the animal they had owned the longest [
]. In the
questionnaire, we explained the purpose of our study to the participants and stated that all
information they provided would be kept completely confidential. Personal information would not be
released to or viewed by anyone other than the researchers involved in this project.
The correlations between respondents' attribution of emotions and the degree of attachment
to companion animals were analyzed with SPSS version 24 statistical software. Mann-Whitney
U testing was performed to examine the different attribution of emotions between dogs and
cats. Pearson correlation analysis was conducted to explore the relationships between the
degree of attachment and the attribution of emotions to companion animals. Cocor, a software
package, was utilized to determine the difference in correlations between dog and cat owners,
as well as between male and female owners [
]. All results are based on two-sided tests, and
values of p < 0.05 were considered significant. Considering that the PBS scores in this study
followed a normal distribution, a stepwise linear regression was used to relate the degree of
attachment (measured by PBS) to demographics and other basic information, such as animal
welfare organization participation, the relationship with pets, how owners communicated with
their pets (e.g., by watching, by taking care of pets) and how pets communicated with their
owners (e.g., by looking, by touching). An alpha value of 0.05 was used for forwards and
backwards regression of variables. To ensure that the observed correlations were not caused by
autocorrelation, the Durbin-Watson statistic was used. Values of 2.0 were considered to have
no autocorrelation, while values approaching 0 indicate positive autocorrelation and values
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approaching 4 indicated negative autocorrelation . Stepwise regression was regarded as
problematic because it could result in an inappropriate selection of predictors and the final
model can vary according to the selection procedure chosen [
]. Therefore, we only
considered predictors appearing in the final model as influential variables in order to address
these problems and simultaneously reduce type-I errors . Additionally, using this method
may also increase type-II errors, but given the relatively large sample size in the present study,
this risk should be reduced [
In total, 546 completed surveys (50.5% from men, 49.5% from women) were received. The
mean (±) age of all participants was 48.66 (± 13.87) years. Companion animals' basic
information is reflected in Table 1. We compared our data from the two survey methods (i.e.,
paperbased and online questionnaires) in the present study, and the results showed no significant
difference in the final results except that the participants from the paper-based questionnaire
(M = 77.53) had slightly higher PBS scores than participants from the online questionnaire
(M = 73.57, p = 0.01). Therefore, we combined the data from the two surveys in the following
The attribution of emotions to companion animals
More than half of the respondents reported that they could often or sometimes attribute
primary emotions of joy (96.2%), surprise (85.9%), anger (80.6%), fear (75.7%), sadness (61.9%)
and disgust (57.7%) and secondary emotions of compassion (73.1%) and jealousy (56.2%) to
their companion animals. According to the Mann-Whitney U test, emotions of joy and
sadness were more frequently attributed to dogs than to cats (Fig 1). Our results also showed that
female owners were more likely to attribute emotions of anger, joy, disgust, fear, surprise,
jealousy and disappointment to their companion animals than male owners were (not presented
in the figure).
The degree of attachment to companion animals and its predictor variables
Our results showed that the Cronbach's alpha value for the PBS in the present study was 0.958.
The mean attachment (PBS) score of all the respondents was 74.63 (SD = 14.94) out of 100.
Female owners showed a higher attachment score to their animals (M = 79.04, SD = 13.37)
Dog: N (%)
Fig 1. Attribution of emotions to companion dogs and cats. Note: An asterisk indicates significance of
the attribution of emotions (joy [p < 0.001] and sadness [p < 0.001]) between companion dogs and cats;
df = 544.
than did male owners (M = 70.13, SD = 15.14, z = -7.04, p < 0.001). Dog owners showed a
higher attachment score to their dogs (M = 75.64, SD = 14.94) than did cat owners to their cats
(M = 72.91, SD = 14.82, z = -2.25, p = 0.024).
Companion dogs. We considered all the possible demographics variables and the
interaction paths between companion dogs and their owners that might associate with the PBS score.
The Durbin-Watson statistic suggested no autocorrelation (d = 2.13). According to stepwise
multiple regression analysis results, respondents who considered their relationship with their
dogs to be ªgoodº had a higher PBS score than those who felt they had a bad relationship.
Female respondents had a higher PBS score than male respondents. Respondents who liked
watching their dogs and who brushed their dogs frequently had a higher PBS score than those
who did not. Companion animals' numbers and their living places also influenced their
owners' PBS score: those respondents who owned other pets had a higher PBS score than those
who only had one dog, while respondents whose dogs slept in their bedroom had a higher PBS
score than those whose dogs slept in other places (e.g., kitchen, living room, garage and
basement). In addition, the results also showed that those reporting that their dogs can stay at
home alone scored higher on PBS than those who thought their dogs could not stay at home
alone (Table 2).
Companion cats. We also identified several predictor variables on the PBS score from the
information we collected from cat owners. The Durbin-Watson statistic suggested no
autocorrelation (d = 2.11). The results showed that respondents who considered their relationship
with their cat to be ªgoodº and who owned their cat for themselves showed a higher PBS score
than those who considered their relationship with their cat to be ªbadº and those who owned
their cat for work or for children. Respondents who thought their behavior resembled their
pet's behavior had a higher PBS score than those who did not. Female respondents had a
higher PBS score than male respondents. The PBS scores of respondents who had belonged to
an organization involved in improving animal welfare were higher than the scores of those
who did not. Furthermore, the interactions between owners and animals were also associated
with the degree of attachment to cats: the PBS scores of respondents who liked taking care of
their pets and who thought their pets communicate with them by touching were higher than
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Note: Unstandardized and standardized coefficients refer to the partial effect of one predictor after adjusting for the others.
Zero-order correlation test
** p < .01.
* p < .05.
the scores of those who did not. We also found that owners who had a garden had a higher
PBS score than those who did not (Table 3).
The correlation between the degree of attachment and the attribution of emotions to companion animals
Significant correlations were found between the degree of attachment (according to PBS
score) and the attribution of primary (r = 0.262) and secondary emotions (r = 0.317, both
7 / 14
p < 0.001). Specifically, there was a significant correlation between the degree of attachment
and the attribution of joy, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, shame, jealousy, disappointment and
compassion to companion animals (all p < 0.01). Our results also showed significant
correlations between the degree of attachment and female owners' attribution of joy, disgust and
compassion. Regarding male owners, this correlation was significant for five of the six primary
emotions (with the exception of anger) and all four secondary emotions (all p < 0.05). The
correlation between dog owners' degree of attachment and their attribution of five of the six
primary emotions (with the exception of anger) and three of the four secondary emotions (with
the exception of disappointment) was found to be significant, while for cat owners, this
correlation was significant for four of the six primary emotions (with the exceptions of anger and
fear) and all four secondary emotions (Table 4). According to the results of cocor, we also
found that the correlations between male respondents' degree of attachment and the
attribution of sadness, jealousy and compassion to companion animals were stronger than those of
female respondents (all p < 0.05), and the correlation between cat owners' degree of
attachment and their attribution of joy was stronger than that of dog owners (p < 0.05).
The aim of this study was to investigate Japanese companion animal owners' attribution of
emotions to their dogs and cats, as well as how their degree of attachment relates to the attribution of
emotions to their animals. The results indicate that respondents attributed a wide range of
emotions to their companion animals, with women attributing more emotions than men. Dog owners
showed a higher level of attachment to their dogs than cat owners to their cats, while female owners
showed a higher level of attachment to their companion animals than did their male equivalents.
The degree of attachment was significantly correlated with Japanese respondents' attribution of
five of six the primary emotions and all four secondary emotions to their companion animals, with
the higher the level of attachment, the stronger the attribution of emotions to animals.
Emotions attributed and species differences
Our findings indicate that companion animal owners more commonly attributed primary
emotions than secondary emotions to their animals. This finding is in line with the results of
earlier studies that reported a trend in which primary emotions were more commonly
attributed to companion animals than were secondary emotions [19±21, 23]. However, the
secondary emotions of jealousy and compassion, two exceptions to this finding, were frequently
attributed to companion animals in Japan. The result of jealousy parallels earlier findings in
Western countries, while the result of compassion is inconsistent with findings from Western
] but is in line with findings from China . Compassion is a necessary
condition for actions that are hardly ethically neutral, and it is more easily aroused among
identified situations than among unidentified situations [
]. Japanese and Chinese people are more
collectivistic than Western population. Their mentality is holistic, focusing attention on the
contextual situation in which animal emotions are occurred and ascribing causality by
reference to the relationship between animal emotions and the contextual factors [
Therefore, we suppose the relatively higher probability of animal cruelty in China and Japan,
compared to that in Western countries, would promote owners' empathic abilities of
compassion, which may affect their attribution of compassion to animals. Additionally, in Japanese
and Chinese culture, the feeling of compassion reflects the principle of benevolence, one of the
five basic elements of Confucianism . Dogs and cats are regarded as sentient beings and as
having the nature of compassion to all misfortunes [
]. Japanese and Chinese people
therefore tend to give more anthropomorphic descriptions of animal emotions than Western
population. Another reason to explain companion animal owners' similar attribution of
compassion in China and Japan is their relativistic ideology. Animals in Japan and China have
been respected as an essential part of human society. Nevertheless, due to the concept of
special omens (e.g., a hen pheasant was seen as a good omen), they were commonly used in
ceremonies, including sacrificial offerings of various sorts [
]. Therefore, Chinese and
Japanese people's attitudes toward animals, including the attribution of emotions, are based
on situational analysis, while Western populations' attitudes toward animals are formed by
their universal principle of animal welfare [
]. Notably, the attribution of emotions
(particularly secondary emotions) to companion animals is complicated, and no one simple reason or
theory can explain all of the psychological phenomena that are called ªemotionsº and
ªattribution of emotionsº. Further evidence from neuroscientific or psychological perspectives is
therefore needed to confirm and clarify this point.
Previous studies have demonstrated that people's attribution of emotions to animals
changes significantly depending on the different animal species, such as dog and cat [
Our results also reveal this difference between dogs and cats, yet this difference was only
reflected in the emotions of joy and sadness, which confirms that dogs are more expressive in
their body language and facial expressions than cats are, especially when they feel joy and
]. However, the lower number of emotional attributions implies that the
relationship between companion animals and owners in Japan is different from that in Western
countries. Many Japanese companion animal owners relate to their animals emotionally and
with little knowledge about animal characteristics, such as their habit and behavior [
Therefore, it is not surprising that Japanese companion animal owners can attribute emotions
to their animals, but their attribution of emotions to companion animals was not as
significantly different as that of Western populations regarding animal species. Women were found
to be more frequently to attribute anger, joy, disgust, fear, surprise, jealousy and compassion
to their companion animals than men were. This finding confirms previous surveys conducted
in China and Australia reporting that women, compared to men, were more willing to
attribute emotions to companion animals [23, 49].
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Predictor variables of the PBS
In addition to the attribution of emotions, we were also interested in the variables that
predicted companion animal owners' degree of attachment to their animals, since determining
these variables is an important way to improve human-animal relationships and animal
welfare. Our results reveal that there is general consent on considering the mutual interactions
between animals and owners (e.g., for owners: watching and taking care of their pets; for pets:
interacting with their owners by touching them) as rewarding experiences that can improve
owners' degree of attachment to their animals. In opinion surveys on relationships with
animals, gender is sometimes found to be a correlated factor [
19, 23, 50
]. Our results confirmed
this finding by showing that women had a higher PBS score than men, suggesting that women
are more concerned with animals and are likely to have a more positive relationship with
animals. Another interesting finding is that the independence of dogs can promote the good
relationship between dogs and their owners. This result is in accordance with a previous finding
on the relationship between livestock and owners [
]. We interpreted this result as likely
resulting from the lower degree of trouble they cause their owners.
Owner attachment and attribution of emotions
Our analyses demonstrate that all respondents were highly attached to their companion
animals, and the attachment levels positively correlated with the willingness to attribute emotions
to companion animals. This finding implies that a combination of animal experience (pet
ownership) and strong attachment may promote owners' brain activations to attributing
emotions to animals [
]. The identification of this correlation could serve as an alternative to or
complementary part of existing methods to assess animal emotions, as well as animal welfare.
The correlation between the attribution of emotions and the degree of attachment was
significant for most of the animal emotions in Japan. This finding is in accordance with earlier
observations in European countries [
] but is different from results reporting that attributions of
only a few significant animal emotions exist among female and male owners, as well as dog
and cat owners in China [
]. Therefore, it seems that the degree of attachment plays a more
important role in predicting Japanese and European people's attribution of certain emotions
to companion animals than that of Chinese people.
In addition, our results reveal that the correlation between male respondents' degree of
attachment and their attribution of certain emotions (sadness, jealousy and compassion) to
companion animals was stronger than that of female respondents. Indeed, female respondents
tend to be more attached to their animals than male respondents. Nevertheless, according to
our results, the attribution of these emotions generally agreed between female and male
respondents (with only minor deviations for jealousy), suggesting that the degree of
attachment may be more prominent when considering such correlations. These results also
demonstrate that the differences in the attribution of these emotions between male and female
respondents were not as strong as the difference in the degree of attachment between male and
female respondents. Additionally, our results reveal that dog owners were more attached to
their dogs than cat owners were to their cats, although a stronger correlation between the
degree of attachment and the attribution of joy existed among cat owners. This finding
confirms that the difference in the degree of attachment between dog and cat owners was not as
strong as the difference in the attribution of joy between dog and cat owners in Japan.
Limitations of this study
Although this study is innovative, as it attempts to investigate the relationship between the
degree of attachment and the attribution of emotions to companion animals from a Japanese
10 / 14
cultural perspective, it is appropriate that we acknowledge the limitations. We used both
paper-based and online questionnaire surveys to collect data, which may make the findings
inconsistent. However, many previous studies reported that findings obtained by web survey
are consistent with findings obtained by traditional paper-based survey [52±54]. Our results
also showed non-significant differences between the two surveys, except for the minor
deviations of the PBS score. We think this minor difference may be due to the unbalanced
distribution of participants from the two method surveys.
In the present study, companion animal owners are reported to attribute a wide range of
emotions to their animals, with a trend toward primary emotions being more frequently attributed
than secondary emotions. Most owners of dogs and cats also attribute a restricted range of
secondary emotions of compassion and jealousy to their animals at levels comparable with
primary emotions. Japanese people relate to their animals emotionally. They regard both
companion dogs and cats as equally important, and both of them are associated with the spirit
world. Therefore, their attribution of eight out of ten emotions to companion animals was not
significantly different between dogs and cats. These findings are different from studies in
Western countries showing that companion animal owners were more likely to attribute
emotions to companion dogs than cats. We suppose the more collectivist mentality in Japan would
explain these different findings between Japan and Western countries. Japanese people
understand animal emotions in terms of complex interactions between dispositions of animals and
contextual factors, whereas Western populations often view animal emotions primarily as the
direct unfolding of animal dispositions. Additionally, our results provided evidence that the
correlation between the attribution of emotions and the degree of attachment was significant
for more animal emotions by Japanese and Western owners than by Chinese owners, which
means that the attribution of emotions was more associated with the degree of attachment in
Japan and Western countries than in China. Animal emotions have been identified as a critical
marker for animal welfare, and thus, investigating methods for approaching animal emotions
and exploring the correlations between the degree of attachment and the attribution of
emotions to animals is essential to understand animal feelings and promote optimal animal welfare
worldwide. Professionals who are expected to advise on animal welfare and human-animal
relationships should take this correlation into account.
S1 Questionnaire. The emotions of pets.
S1 Dataset. Animal emotions in Japan.
We thank the reviewers for their comments; these improved the paper. We acknowledge the
effort of all the respondents for their participation in this survey.
Conceptualization: Pim Martens.
Data curation: Naoko Koda.
11 / 14
Formal analysis: Bingtao Su.
Methodology: Bingtao Su.
Writing ± original draft: Bingtao Su.
Writing ± review & editing: Pim Martens.
12 / 14
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