Cats are often viewed as aloof, independent, callous creatures while dogs are viewed as man’s best friend. However, a recent research project showed that despite popular belief, cats are just as needy as their dogs.
Cat lovers around the world aren’t surprised by this research, which supports another scientific study that says cats aren’t selfish – they’re just confused.
This Oregon State University study focused on the attachment styles of cats and was published in Current Biology.
Over the course of this study, a team of researchers examined the characteristics of 70 kitten and 38 feline subjects and examined how they behaved both with and without their human caregivers.
Amazingly, they found that cats display a similar ability to form safe and unsafe bonds with their human caregivers as dogs and even children!
The experiment used by the researchers is called the “adhesion test” and saw the furry friends in a room with their owners for two minutes. After that, the owners left their cat alone for another two minutes.
At the reunion, the researchers observed and categorized the cats’ behavior in terms of several specific attachment styles – safe, insecure, ambivalent, and disorganized.
“After the caregiver returns from a short absence, people with a secure bond show a reduced stress reaction and a contact-exploration balance with the caregiver,” explains the study.
“While people with an insecure attachment remain stressed and display behaviors such as excessive proximity (ambivalent attachment), avoidance behavior (avoidance attachment) or approach / avoidance conflicts (disorganized attachment).”
The researchers found that around 65% of cats, both young and older, had a secure attachment style. This means that when they left the room they showed signs of stress and a “reduced stress response” – in other words, a healthy mix of bonding and exploration when they came back.
Animal welfare organizations reported an increase in pet adoptions during the pandemic. There was even a virtual cat and dog adoption event, and there’s no denying that pets helped countless people survive the lockdown.
However, many experts have raised concerns about pet separation anxiety after lockdown. Additionally, in the run-up to Christmas, some newer cat owners may not know about cat-safe Christmas trees and the flowers and plants that are poisonous to our feline friends.