Family & Pets
Good news for cat lovers! New study finds cats are just as “emotionally attached” to us as dogs or infants
New research is disputing a common trail of thought: Dogs are more loyal where cats are aloof.
The study from Oregon State University looked for signs of attachment in both cats and kittens when reunited with their owners in a strange place.
It’s the first time that scientists have shown that cats display the same sort of behaviour that’s witnessed in dogs as well as human babies.
According to The Daily Mail, most cats (65.8 per cent) and kittens (64.3 per cent) showed a “secure attachment” with humans and were just as interested in their owners as their surroundings.
Human babies, for example, are 'securely attached' to their caregivers in 65 per cent of occasions.
Study lead author Dr Kristyn Vitale, of Oregon State University in the United States, said: “Cats that are insecure can be likely to run and hide or seem to act aloof.
“There's long been a biased way of thinking that all cats behave this way.
“But the majority of cats use their owner as a source of security. Your cat is depending on you to feel secure when they are stressed out.”
The study involved enrolling cats in a six-week “socialisation” training course to see if they could be taught attachment styles, but the proportion of securely and insecurely attached cats did not budge.
Dr Vitale said: “Once an attachment style has been established between the cat and its caregiver, it appears to remain relatively stable over time, even after a training and socialisation intervention.”
“Attachment is a biologically relevant behaviour. Our study indicates that when cats live in a state of dependency with a human, that attachment behaviour is flexible and the majority of cats use humans as a source of comfort..”
The findings were published in the Current Biology journal.