Many believe that dogs are ideal, loyal, loving companions. And that cats only tolerate us. Cats bond just as much as dogs to their human friends, new research shows.
CAT-MASTER RELATIONSHIPS OBSERVED IN DETAIL
In this behavioral experiment, the results of which were published in the journal Current Biology, a research team observed how cats react to their owners in a particular environment. They tested 79 kittens and 38 adult cats for two types of attachment, secure and non-secure.
At first, the kitten or cat and its owner are together in a room. The human being seated in a marked circle. If the cat entered the circle, the human could interact with it. After two minutes, the human left, leaving the cat alone. After two more minutes, the human returned to the room to sit in the circle again.
While adult cats only took part in the test once, kittens were tested twice. A first time and a second time two months later, after 39 of the kittens had taken a training and socialization course. The other 31 acted as a control group.
Percentages close to those of infants and dogs
Among the kittens, 64.3% were classified as being securely tied and 35.7% as not tied. Adult cats had similar rates: 65.8% showed secure tether versus 34.2% insecure.
Interestingly, these percentages are quite close to the attachment percentage. 65% observed in infants. And cats showed a slightly higher rate of secure attachment than found in a test of 59 companion dogs published in 2018. Canids were 61% bound and 39% unrelated.
This new study suggests that cats have the ability and traits to form deep social bonds with humans. It’s just that they express themselves in their own way.