Most popular pets are cats, and dogs. They are all carnivores. Few people have pigs as pets. More commonly, people eat pigs.

  • Why are some of the most common human housepets carnivores?
  • Does this preference indicate anything more general about the human condition? (for example, do humans love violent beings?)

Note: Cows, horses, and rabbits are cattles, not pets. You don't develop emotional bonding with them. People would scream when dogs are being eaten in China. People don't scream when pigs are being eaten everywhere.

I am talking about the most popular pets that people form bonds with.

I am just wondering that perhaps we use cats in mutually beneficial ways. That is why we love them. Also cats and dogs would retaliate if we hit them.

We uses cows in parasitic ways (as food). That's why we don't love cows. Perhaps a good strategy to be loved is to be reasonably violent? That's what I want to know.

Or perhaps humans love those who kill for them (like our soldiers?). Cats and dogs kill for us or help us kill. That's why we evolve loving them as our "allies". Is it possible?

NB: I am well aware that cats are very cute. I prefer rational explanation I can easily verified without referring to some vague emotions.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Most pets are not carnivores, Some pets are. Some examples horses, rabbits, some birds and fish. See Pets for a good list of pets that are not carnivores. $\endgroup$
    – user10932
    Nov 22, 2013 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ horses are not pets. rabbits are not popular. $\endgroup$
    – user4951
    Nov 25, 2013 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ I am not going to argue with this. go and look at Pets to see what people regard as pets and please accept that your question is not a good fit for the site. Try editing and improving it perhaps $\endgroup$
    – user10932
    Nov 25, 2013 at 3:13
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    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is based on faulty assumptions, there is basic scientific evidence to the contrary, so the argument will be about pets not psychology. $\endgroup$
    – user10932
    Nov 25, 2013 at 3:15
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the edits and effort put into trying to help Jim @Skippy! Unfortunately I still feel your original comment holds, this question is based on false assumptions, and unless these are either edited out, or better motivated I feel this question isn't fit for CogSci. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Nov 25, 2013 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


Iguanas are not carnivores.

Look at it historically: we have had useful animals around us for thousands of years: dogs to help hunting, cats to keep vermin away.

Other non-carnivorous pets was at some point - and still are - domesticated for food (rabbits, guinea pigs). Pigs are a gray area: they will pretty much eat anything, meat included. Then you have gerbils, rats, mice etc. All little rodents; some omnivores, but mainly herbivores.

Sheep, goats, buffalo, cows, horses are all a little too big for pets; though some people - on farms - might have a pet sheep. Miniature horses have been trained as "seeing-eye-horses". There are some obvious reasons for this: the training of the horse may take a little longer than with a dog, but they live a lot longer.

Birds have not been domesticated for very long; some birds of prey have and can be trained as hunters; falconry. This is a working bird, doing what it will do in the wild. Parrots and other "domesticated" birds will easily suffer as pets, not matter how big an aviary you might build. They need to be part of a flock, they get easily frustrated, alone and sick.

Reptiles are not so common as pets. This, I think, is partly because they are associated with slithering, slimy things. We prefer our pets to be mammals. They are closer to us in the evolutionary tree, they are easier to "understand", they have been domesticated for much, much longer. And their babies are cute beyond measure.

To me, this question is over-psychologising the historical evolution. Humans do not necessarily love "violent" creatures. We like creatures that can either be useful (hunting dogs) or entertaining and understandable (kittens - who can not love them?).

And. Animals are not "violent" per se.

  • $\begingroup$ Totally agree. welcome :) $\endgroup$
    – user10932
    Nov 24, 2013 at 22:27

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