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Tails of animal attraction: Incorporating the feline into the family

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  • Downey, Hilary
  • Ellis, Sarah
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    Abstract

    Increased urbanization and female employment have led to the cat overtaking the dog as the companion animal of preference. However, this article looks beyond lifestyle changes as reasons for the popularity of the cat. The article explores the emotional consumer-socialization process involving the incorporation of the cat into the family. Subjective personal introspection (SPI) and supporting vignettes of female humans in their families (all of which were high-involvement owners) explore the hows and whys of feline incorporation. The study identifies several categories of incorporation. The findings suggest that this complex process involves many factors -- namely, consumer socialization, intergenerational influence, brand loyalty, commitment, near-instant loyalty, immediacy, distress, anthropomorphism, and nostalgia. These factors underpin the intimacy and care the human-feline relationship expresses. The ability for humans and cats to bond in a way that fosters emotional intimacy can be considered one of the purest forms of relationships.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Business Research.

    Volume (Year): 61 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 434-441

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:61:y:2008:i:5:p:434-441

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbusres

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    1. John, Deborah Roedder, 1999. " Consumer Socialization of Children: A Retrospective Look at Twenty-Five Years of Research," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 183-213, December.
    2. Moschis, George P, 1985. " The Role of Family Communication in Consumer Socialization of Children and Adolescents," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 898-913, March.
    3. Arnould, Eric J & Price, Linda L, 1993. " River Magic: Extraordinary Experience and the Extended Service Encounter," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 24-45, June.
    4. Allen, Douglas E, 2002. " Toward a Theory of Consumer Choice as Sociohistorically Shaped Practical Experience: The Fits-Like-a-Glove (FLAG) Framework," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 515-32, March.
    5. Childers, Terry L & Rao, Akshay R, 1992. " The Influence of Familial and Peer-Based Reference Groups on Consumer Decisions," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 198-211, September.
    6. Thompson, Craig J & Locander, William B & Pollio, Howard R, 1989. " Putting Consumer Experience Back into Consumer Research: The Philosophy and Method of Existential-Phenomenology," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 133-46, September.
    7. Ward, Scott, 1974. " Consumer Socialization," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 1-14, Se.
    8. Hirschman, Elizabeth C, 1994. " Consumers and Their Animal Companions," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 616-32, March.
    9. Fournier, Susan, 1998. " Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 343-73, March.
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