New Study Shows Cats Really Do Bond With Their Humans

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I’m sure you’ve heard all the stereotypes about how cats are aloof, solitude-seeking animals that merely tolerate us. But a new study suggests that our feline friends actually bond with us.

The study compared attachment styles of both dogs and cats, and it was shown that cats are just as likely to form a secure, impactful attachment with their human caregivers as a dog is. In fact, it’s similar to the bond of a parent and child.

Researchers Observed Cats and Kittens to Determine Their Attachment to Owners

Researchers studied 38 adult cats and 79 kittens, observing how they responded to their owners while in an unfamiliar environment in order to determine their attachment style. They wanted to see if the felines exhibited more secure or insecure attachments.

For the behavioral experiment, cats were placed in a room with their human caregiver sitting in the center of a circle on the floor. The person was instructed not to interact with the cat unless they ventured inside of the circle as well. For part of the study, the person left the room, but returned after a few minutes.

With a secure attachment style, a cat in the strange environment will relax and continue to explore after being reunited with their owner. However, in an insecure attachment, a cat would continue to be anxious and nervous after being reunited, and would either cling excessively to their human or avoid them as much as possible.

Results Show Cats Form Secure Bonds Much Like Infants and Dogs

Researchers found that about 65 percent of both adult cats and kittens demonstrated secure attachment, which is the same rate seen in human infants. What’s even more interesting is that the cats had a higher percentage of secure attachment than what was found in a similar study done on dogs last year.

What I’m trying to say here is that cats really do love us. Cats certainly have the ability to form deep social bonds with humans, despite what popular stereotypes might have you think. Perhaps they just happen to show it a little differently than dogs do.