Cats Bond To Their Owners More Than Dogs, Study Finds

Even if they may seem cold and independent, this new research shows that cats do become bonded to their humans.

For years, cats have been viewed as cold, independent creatures who treat their humans as their servants. This stops now, as researchers at Oregon State University found that in fact, cats do bond with their caregivers, showing attachment styles like dogs and babies.

The researchers conducted an experiment which involved 70 kittens aged from three to eight months. The adorable fluffs were placed in a room with their caregivers for 2 minutes, then left alone for another 2 minutes. Afterward, they were reunited, while researchers observed their behavior throughout each of the 3 phases.

The scientists then classified the kittens' behavior in 4 different attachment styles: secure, ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized.

More than 60% of the kittens showed a secure attachment style. This means they became distressed when left alone, and showed a healthy balance of attachment and exploration upon their caregivers' return.

30% of them showed an insecure attachment style, which means they were still stressed after being reunited with their caregivers.

Similar experiments were conducted on infants and found that 65% of babies showed secure attachment to their caregiver, very similar to the results in the research on cats.

Compared to a similar experiment involving dogs, the cats demonstrated a slightly higher secure attachment rate. Scientist Kristyn Vitale said:

"Like dogs, cats display social flexibility in regard to their attachments with humans. The majority of cats are securely attached to their owner and use them as a source of security in a novel environment."

Researchers will continue studying the significance of these results in relation to the thousands of cats who end up in shelters. Their objective is finding how socialization and fostering opportunities can affect attachment security amongst shelter cats.

Cats love us, yay!

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