Even If They Don’t Always Show It, Your Cat Does Need You
In more adorable heartwarming news, or should we say mews, cats really do need their humans, even if they don’t always show it; cats see their humans as sources of comfort and security, meaning that while they may ignore you at times they do love you.
You are more than just a food source to your cat, recent research published in the journal Current Biology found that cats form attachments to their humans that are similar to those that dogs and babies form with their caregivers.
“We took [attachment styles] from other previous studies and just thought, ‘Do cats actually fit these different styles or not?'” lead study author Kristyn Vitale, a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon State University, said.
This study replicated the so-called strange situation test designed to evaluate parent-infant bonding, but they used 70 kittens, 39 adult cats and their humans instead of parents and infants. A feline furry was placed in a room with its human for 2 minutes, then the human left the room for 2 minutes and returned for another two minutes.
The fur ball’s response to its human returning was assessed to determine the type of attachment style the furry had to its human. Attachment styles included secure attachments and insecure attachments. More secure attachments indicate that the feline trusts that its human will look after its needs and it feels comfortable exploring the surroundings. More insecure attachments tend to exhibit anxiety and fear towards their humans, signs may include twitching tails, licking their lips or avoiding their human when they return.
“The characteristics of a secure cat, for example, [are] greeting their owner and then going back to what they were doing,” Vitale told NBC News. “That’s how a secure human also behaves.”
Around 64% of the felines were found to be securely attached to their human, which is similar to what is seen in dogs and babies. According to the researchers, their findings debunk the myth that cats are always standoffish and they don’t feel a strong connection to humans other than as food sources.
“As humans, we maybe sometimes don’t give the animal world the dignity of sentient emotional existence,” said Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviour and wellness expert and the host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell, adding that cats get an unfair reputation for being emotionally distant — especially when compared to their canine counterparts.
“We’re looking at cats through dog-coloured glasses,” Galaxy said. “We are disappointed in them because they don’t wag their tails, meet us at the door, demonstrate in a way that humans innately recognize that they love us.”
“The majority of cats are looking to their owners to be a source of safety and security,” Vitale said. “It’s important for owners to think about that. When they’re in a stressful situation, how they’re behaving can actually have a direct impact on their cats’ behavior.”
These findings may come as no surprise to those who adore cats, these people tend to have a good grasp on just how much their feline companions count on them, as well as that every cat has its own personality. These findings go along with others that show cats do understand their names, but they only respond on their terms, and cats can also be trained, again on their terms. Meow.