Human-Feline Bond Quiz

Does your cat help make up your personal identity?

A new theory about the human-feline bond developed by Sue-Ellen Brown, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist at the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama, is based on the field of self-psychology.

The theory states that a person or pet can act as a self-object (someone or something that gives a person’s life meaning) if it makes up a part of that person’s identity or personality. The test to determine whether a pet is a self-object is that if a person would lose that pet, they would fall apart to some extent. The loss would be so great that it would feel as though the person lost part of themselves.

Self-objects can play up to three different roles for a person:
1. Mirroring occurs when taking care of your cat makes you see yourself as a good person.
2. Idealizing occurs when a person looks up to or idealizes a pet for its qualities.
3. Twinship occurs when an owner feels so connected to the cat that they are one with each other on a spiritual level.

For each of the statements below, choose the number that best corresponds with your feelings about your cat. 

How does caring for your cat make you feel?
1.      2.      3.      4.      5.      6.      7.     8.       9.     10.
Somewhat good         Good                  Very good
How much do you look up to or idealize your cats for their beauty, independence, etc.?
1.      2.      3.      4.      5.      6.      7.      8.      9.     10.
No much                   Some                       A great deal
How close do you feel to your cat or that you are soul mates?
1.      2.      3.      4.      5.      6.      7.      8.      9.      10.
Not that close         Close        Only my cat understands me.        
Answering eight or higher on any question is a good indicator that your cat is a self-object for you and helps to make up a part of your personal identity.

Brad Kollus is a freelance writer specializing in the human-feline bond. He lives on the East Coast with his wife Elizabeth, son Dylan and their four cats.

Article Categories:
Cats · Lifestyle