Last Updated on October 9, 2021 by Pets Feed
Japanese scientists conducted an experiment and found that cats are more indifferent to the “enemies” of their owner than dogs. However, this does not mean that they are not attached to those who care about them.
The work was published in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition. Dogs are known to be considered more loyal animals than cats. The latter are symbols of freedom and a certain indifference. That being said, research shows that cats actually form emotional bonds with their owners. They are likely to experience anxiety during separation, are more responsive to the voice of the owner than to an outsider, and in frightening situations also seek protection from a person they know.
Scientists from Kyoto University (Japan) conducted an experiment in which cats watched their owners try to open a box to get to its contents. On either side of the owner were two strangers. During the first part of the experiment, the owner asked one of them to help him, and he helped. In the second part of the experiment, the owner also asked for help to open the box, but the stranger continued to sit passively, doing nothing. After that, both strangers offered the cat a treat.
Prior to that, the same method was tested on dogs: the results showed that the animals refused to take food from a stranger who refused to help the owner. A study on cats showed that they were completely indifferent to who exactly to take the treat from. The cats showed no preference for any of the strangers – neither the one who helped the owner, nor the one who remained indifferent to his request. Obviously, for cats, food in this case is more important than some kind of human “showdown”.
However, one cannot conclude that cats are more selfish than dogs. Scientists warn that then we will fall into the trap of anthropocentrism – the interpretation of animal behavior from the point of view of humans. Meanwhile, cats, like dogs, have their own peculiarities of thinking and behavior, which can be very different from human ones.
Perhaps cats, as opposed to dogs, are simply not able to capture such social interactions between people as mutual assistance. And this is not because they are stupid: they are probably simply not “sharpened” at observing interactions between people and are more inclined to grasp the nuances of their own relationship with a person.
The fact is that cats were domesticated much later than dogs, in addition, they were originally more solitary, rather than gregarious animals. Domestication, according to scientists, increased the social skills of dogs, but did not affect cats in this regard. They – like bears, for example – are certainly less social creatures than dogs. Therefore, the researchers emphasize, before judging cats as selfish, it is necessary to learn to look at the world through their eyes.