Study: Despite Appearances, Your Cat Loves You

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your cat loves you

American scientists at the University of Oregon have investigated cats’ attachment to their owners. Previously, experts had already concluded that dogs and young children have similar close bonds with their loved ones, but cats’ behavior is very different – they are more independent. The authors of the scientific article set up an experiment to determine whether a cat knows how to love as much as a dog or a child.

Cold outside – good inside

People are used to thinking that cats, unlike dogs, need less petting: they can live independently and enjoy their existence – for this they do not need to have an owner nearby. . However, the actual situation differs from this assumption. Cats bond to their owners the same way dogs and small children do – the only difference is that it only takes a cat to see you to feel safe, but a child and a dog must come in contact with you. you.

The experience

To better understand how cats relate to humans, Christine Vitale and her colleagues at the University of Oregon invited 79 owners of cats with their pets to take a test. During the experiment, the animals first spent time in the company of their owners, then were left alone, after which the owners returned to the room where the animals were. The entire cycle lasted six minutes.

During the experiment, scientists observed the behavior of the kittens and, as a result, identified several levels of the kitten’s attachment to humans. The authors considered the attachment to be strong if the animals allowed themselves to be picked up or petted, approached the returning owner, and tried to stay close to him. With fragile and contradictory affection, cats could be close to their owners, follow them when they left the room, but at the same time they did not tolerate well when they were hugged. A bond was considered fragile and avoidant, in which the animals did not resist contact in general, but showed little or no concern when their owners left the room, and reacted badly to their return.

The researchers were able to classify the behavior of 70 out of 79 animals (89%). 64% (46 kittens) developed a strong attachment to their owners and 36% (24 kittens) – a fragile attachment.

According to the authors, the results they obtained show that cats are able to form different types of attachments to the caregiver. In this sense, they are like dogs and little children.

“Like dogs, cats are socially flexible about their attachment to their owner. Most cats form a strong attachment to their master and in an unfamiliar environment turn to him in search of safety, ”explained Christine Vitale.

In addition, scientists suggest that attachment to the owner has become a form of adaptation of animals to life in an anthropogenic environment and is an integral part of evolution. So cats that “walk alone” are more of a myth that does not take into account the peculiarities of the culture of domestication.

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