By Shelly Volsche of TheConversation.com |
Have you noticed more cats riding in strollers lately? Or bumper stickers that read, “I love my granddogs”? You’re not imagining it. More people are investing serious time, money and attention in their pets.
It looks an awful lot like parenting, but of pets, not people.
Can this kind of caregiving toward animals really be considered parenting? Or is something else going on here?
I’m an anthropologist who studies human-animal interactions, a field known as anthrozoology. I want to better understand the behavior of pet parenting by people from the perspective of evolutionary science. After all, cultural norms and evolutionary biology both suggest people should focus on raising their own children, not animals of a completely different species.