London, Oct 27 (UNI) Pets and their owners share companionship just like married couples and they get more alike over time, a psychologist in Britain has said.
Prof Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, asked almost 2,500 people to complete online questionnaires about their characters and those of their pets and found that pets and their owners start behaving in the same manner and become more like each other over a period of time.
He said the longer an animal stays with its owner, the more likely it was to pick up their characteristics.
''For years owners have insisted their pets have a unique personality. Not only does this work suggest they might be right, it also reveals people's pets are a reflection of themselves,'' Mr Wiseman was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
Almost half of the respondents to his survey were cat owners, while 31 per cent had dogs, seven per cent fish, six per cent birds and six per cent reptiles.
The survey found about 20 per cent of pet owners rated their own personality and that of their animals in similar terms.
But for those who had owned their animal for seven years or more, the chance of them rating their pet's traits as broadly comparable to their own increased to about 40 per cent.
''Similarity promotes liking in humans. Research has shown couples that are like each other stay together longer,'' Mr Wiseman said.
''Extending this to the animal kingdom, I think it is likely someone who is fun and playful is more likely to go for a dog, for example,'' he added.
He said just like married couples grow to look like each other and acquire similar personalities, it's possible to have a similar effect with the pets.
Prof Wiseman's study also revealed owners of certain pets appear to share similar personalities.
Fish owners were apparently the most contented, with 37 per cent strongly agreeing that they were happy, compared with 24 per cent of people with cats and 22 per cent of those who had dogs agreeing.
Four out of 10 people with dogs believed they were fun-loving, compared to just two per cent of reptile owners.
Those with cats came out as the most dependable, but also the most emotionally sensitive, while those who kept reptiles were the most independent.