Anthrozoologist and professor of psychology at Western Carolina University Hal Herzog told The Atlantic: "Talking to our pets is absolutely natural. Human beings are natural anthropomorphizers, meaning we naturally tend to [ascribe] all kinds of thoughts and meanings to other things in our lives."
Although your dog or cat can’t respond verbally to you, it doesn’t mean the conversation is one sided.
"They give us a lot back!" says Herzog. "When you talk to them, they respond. Your dog might cock his head, give you a sort of quizzical look, like, Huh? I say ‘Do you wanna go outside?’ and my cat will come up to me and she'll meow. I don't think she's processing words the same way we process words, but we have this communication system based on language."
Although anthropomorphizing animals - giving them human attributes - was often associated with childishness, a study released earlier this year says otherwise.
Dr Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago and an anthropomorphism expert, told Quartz: "Historically, anthropomorphizing has been treated as a sign of childishness or stupidity, but it’s actually a natural byproduct of the tendency that makes humans uniquely smart on this planet."
"No other species has this tendency."
This article originally appeared on Better Homes And Gardens.