On standardized information questionnaires, mothers of children who owned dogs or cats scored their children significantly higher on measures of prosocial behavior than did mothers of non pet-owning children. Empathy is a two-way street. Not only do children with pets learn to be more empathic, they benefit from the empathy they perceive in their pets. Other studies indicate that companion animals serve as important sources of comfort for children in stressful situations.
Read More: Are Some Dogs Inherently Mean?
Children, especially girls, who own a cat or dog, have been found to display more coping behaviors including expressing emotions, seeking social support, and solving problems. One study of seven and ten-year-old children found that they were as likely to confide in their pets as in a sibling.
Pic of the Day: This is Ron. The world’s most interesting cat.