Last Updated on August 12, 2021 by Pets Feed
Scientists at the University of Oregon (USA) set out to test the truth about the widespread belief that cats, known for their independence, are not as strongly attached to their owners as dogs. However, the result of the study showed that the opposite is true: cats seem to show the same degree of affection as dogs.
The relationship between cats and their owners is very similar in depth and nature to the relationship that has developed over the years between dogs and their owners, according to the authors of the journal Current Biology.
The experiment involved 79 kittens aged three to eight months. To determine the relationship between an animal and a person, the scientists used a test that has already been proven in other studies to determine the nature of the relationship between humans and dogs, monkeys and children.
According to the conditions of the test, the kittens were first in the same room with the owner for two minutes, then they were left alone for two minutes, then there was a two-minute meeting with the owner. The researchers observed the behavior of the animals during each phase of the test. Scientists evaluated the degree of affection by the behavior of young cats when their owners returned.
With a fragile connection, the cats reacted badly to the owners leaving the room. However, they were tense and clearly stressed when the owner returned to the room.
Just under 65% of the kittens showed strong and reliable affection. They showed curiosity when they found themselves in an unfamiliar room, behaved calmly after the owners returned, allowed themselves to be picked up or petted. Interestingly, a similar percentage was obtained when the attachment levels of dogs and children were studied.
And some animals weren’t even interested in surrendering their owners.
In the second phase of the experiment, 39 young cats and their owners underwent six weeks of training, during which experts showed how to get the animals used to the controls. After the end of the training, we again carried out a test on the nature of the bond between the animal and the owner. It turned out that the relationship remained the same as in 80% of cases. That is, six weeks of training had almost no effect on the dominant attachment style: the owners learned a lot about the social behavior of cats, but the bond between them has not fundamentally changed.
Similar results were obtained after an experiment with adult cats over one year old.
The results of the experiment suggest that “cats, like dogs, are social all-rounders and their socio-cognitive abilities are underestimated”. According to the study authors, cats can become very attached to humans and a lot more praise or treats value contact with the owner when played or cuddled.