Cats See Their Humans As Parents Maybe Even More So Than Dogs According To Study
Cats have a rotten reputation as a cold and distant domesticated animal at least compared to their main competitor, unjustly known as mans best friend.
But felines do feel affection towards their humans, they simply express it differently and its not just cat people saying it! Now theres science to prove it, too.
Oregon State University researchers concluded that cats really do actually love their humans or at the very least, see them as parents or caregivers after conducting a study on kittens, modelled after previous research on dogs and babies.
The study, published in Current Biology, examined how kitten subjects reacted after spending two minutes with their caretaker, being left alone, then reuniting for another two minutes. After the experiment, they categorised each kitten by the attachment styles assigned to human babies and dogs in previous studies secure, ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganised.
64 per cent of the kittens demonstrated a secure attachment style to their caregiver, meaning the cat seemed distraught when they left the room but displayed a reduced stress response upon their return.
Whats more, cats behavioural patterns remained consistent when the OSU team recreated the experiment with a group of fully grown cats. Thus: Kittens and cats show the same level of affection to their caretakers as human babies, and maybe even slightly more than dogs.
Do Cats Form An Attachment
Cats form strong attachment to their owners. There are many known cases where the owner had to leave, or died, and the cat showed signs of distress. Cats have been known to sit at the owners bedroom door meowing. They go into hiding. They even refuse to eat. Some perfectly healthy cats have had such a strong attachment that they simply died after the loss of their owner, the only cause seeming to be a broken heart.
;But the most remarkable evidence that cats love humans comes from the many documented cases where cats traveled hundreds or thousands of miles through places theyve never been to find their owners.
Cats Dont View Humans The Same Way Dogs Do
Nobody on earth can read a cats mind to find out what these animals think of us. However, scientists have been observing cats for a long time and tell us that cats dont view us in the same way dogs do.
Its been proven that dogs interact with humans differently than they interact with other dogs. Dogs play differently with humans than they do with other dogs, and they tend to zero in on human emotion when interacting with people. Cats on the other hand are much more aloof around humans and arent so willing to play and interact with people like dogs are. All this suggests that dogs see us as inherently different from them and that cats dont view us any differently than they view other cats.
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Cats Are Somewhat Colorblind
Cats arent colorblind in the sense that they see strictly in black, white, and shades of grey.
Yet, your four-legged friend does have trouble picking up on certain colors in the spectrum, specifically shades like red, pink, brown, and orange. This color blindness is due to a lack of cones in their eyes, approximately one-tenth of the number of cones we humans have.
So if youre standing far off in the distance and the color of your clothing isnt easy to distinguish from whats behind you, your cat may not even realize youre there at first.
Do Cats Understand Words
Living with cats can feel like a mystery. You talk to them, but you’re never quite sure what they’re thinking. Do cats understand words? Can cats understand humans? If you wonder what your kitty hears when you talk to them, you’re not alone. Let’s see what science has to say about this feline enigma.
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What Do Cats Think Of Humans
Taking into account the game dynamics observed during the study, it was concluded that:
- Cats have notion about the difference in sizes, but not that they are a different species. Therefore, they treat people as a pair .
- They may come to think that humans are slow as playmates, thus quickly getting irritated or bored.
- They enjoy the company of people once they have gotten used to it. This is evidenced by how much their mental and physical health deteriorate when they are separated from their caregivers.
It was noted that, after being separated, the cats began to show signs of stress and develop skin and urinary system problems.
- They know how to provoke specific reactions in their caregivers depending on the meows they make, so they;use vocalization to communicate different types of needs to their caregivers.
- They treat each member of their family differently, and this is based on the amount of benefits they can receive from one or the other.
- The relationship they have with their caregivers is similar to what they would have with their mother, for example kneading, lifting their tail, rubbing and purring.
- They believe that you belong to them, therefore by licking or rubbing someone they are impregnating them with their scent to mark them as their property.
Image courtesy of Cássia Afini.
Cats Behave Differently Towards Different People
Cats behave differently towards different people. If you have a household with several people, you will have likely noticed this yourself. Its believed this is because cats are a lot smarter than most give them credit for.
They read the signs that people give off, and interrupt them in a way to suit themselves. They are great at being close to the hand that feeds them, and will often keep their distance against someone who doesnt care for them.
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Their Mystique Is Why We Love Them
We may think we have great insight into the mystery that is cat thinking, but we may never fully understand them. This is why we love cats, actually!
From sleeping on our heads to sitting on top of our laptops , cat thinking methods are perplexing. This can lead to lots of cat myths or misconceptions, most notably:
- Cats are aloof and prefer to be alone. Nope! They are very special, social animals who seek close companionship.
- Purring only means happinessIn fact, it can also indicate stress, fear, or pain. Keep an eye out for illness or injury, and be prepared in the case of an emergency.
- Cats scratch to annoy people. Wrong again! Cats need to act out this primal instinct that gives them great pleasure and relief. Install a sturdy scratching post and let your cat have at it.
Heres The Reality Your Cat Thinks Youre Its Mom
Yes, thats right. Experts agree that your cats behavior towards you means that it treats you more like its mother than a sibling or another animal. Sure, your cat understands that you look different, but most cats are around humans from birth.
As a result, the cat grows up, and you replace the role of its mother in caring for it while its young. So, the cat confuses you with its mother figure, assuming thats what all mother cats must look like, right? The thing is that your cat doesnt spend time dwelling on these issues; it relies on instinct to drive its decision-making process, not conscious thought.
Its also why cats are comfortable with other humans because it sees them as just another cat-mom. If you think of your cats behavior as more related to a spoiled teenager than a cat, youll start to see your cat in a different light.
However, even though they do appear like they are the boss sometimes, we love our cats and the time we spend with them. Theres nothing like sitting on the couch with your fur baby, watching some Netflix while your kitty purrs away on your lap its a calming experience for both of you.
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Cats See Us As Parents
Cats don’t just think of their owners as food machines. They actually see us as parents. A 2019 study revealed that cats have the same attachment to their owners that babies show to their parents. Kittens in the study acted distressed when their caregivers left and happy and secure when they returned. They still acted this way one year later. The responses were similar to how human children react to their parents.
How Do I Communicate With My Cat
The authors of the Animal Cognition study noted in The Independent that “cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans’ orders. Rather, they seem to take the initiative in human-cat interaction.” Keep this in mind the next time your cat doesn’t respond when you call their name. Try not to take their snub personally; it’s just their independent spirit.
But despite scientific evidence that your cat’s the boss, it’s important to regularly engage in conversation with your pet. Talk to them during petting sessions, while you’re folding the laundry or at bedtime.
Regularly interacting with your cat using positive vocalization and gestures such as smiling and speaking in an upbeat tone of voice will reinforce the bond between the two of you. It also provides insight into how your kitty uses their own cat language, both verbal and nonverbal, to converse with you. Although humans and cats don’t speak the same language, there’s no denying the special relationship between a cat parent and their feline friend.
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Cats Interact Very Differently With People Than Dogs
People are always quick to compare cats with dogs. As two of the most popular household pets its been a long-standing argument. But these are two very different species, both with their own personalities, and both very different.
For example, studies have shown that cats change their behavior very little when they interact with humans as opposed to other cats. While dogs see a dramatic change, becoming much more attentive and excited around humans.
Obviously cats are aware of humans and cats, and the differences in size and behavior from us. But they still behave very similar. Such as holding their tails high as a greeting, rubbing around our legs, and even doing a spot of grooming on us sometimes as they would another cat.
It was also highlighted that cats think of humans as larger counterparts, not as a pack mentality with an alpha as a dog would. This goes a long way to explaining why they often seem to use us for food and comfort, without that idolisation that a dog often shows its owner.
Something owners are usually blissfully unaware of is how stressful life can be for a cat around the home. There are a number of things both visible, and invisible can be causing the pet stress.
For example, more than one cat sharing a living space can cause some serious issues. There are a lot of territorial issues with cats, and this can simmer for a while before hitting boiling point.
Cats Like People Study Says
What do cats think about their owners? Do they love us? Will they protect us? Or are we just a meal ticket?
The popular stereotype of domestic pets says cats are aloof, remote, and arrogant creatures who tolerate humans as servants. But is it true?
The study.Researchers at the Oregon State University’s Human-Animal Interaction lab investigated;how cats interact with humans.
To conduct their experiment, these scientists recruited 38 cats. Half came from shelters and half from loving homes. The researchers isolated each cat for 2 hours and 30 minutes, giving the animal no food or social attention during this time.
Then, they brought each cat into a room and offered it access to its choice of a cat-friendly person, food, a cat toy, or a cloth that smelled like either catnip or a gerbil. Half the cats chose the person and spent about 65% of the time interacting him or her. Only 14 cats went to the food, four to the toy, and one kitty chose the cloth.
The shelter cats and pet cats showed no difference in their preferences. At the experiment’s conclusion, the researchers wrote, “Although it is often thought cats prefer solitude to social interaction, the data of this study indicate otherwise.”
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So How Exactly Did Cats Come To See Us As Mom
Because cats socialized themselves, it seems like they saw us as potential caregivers from the beginning. Dr. Bradshaw explained, Almost all domestic cat social behavior must have started out as mother-kitten behavior. Their ancestors were solitary, territorial animals, and the only friendly behavior between two cats would have been between mothers and their kittens.
So if cats learned to recognize their loving mamas as safe creatures that they could be friendly with, then they probably drew a similar conclusion about humans.
Do Cats Have Feelings Do Cats Feel Love
Is it true that only humans have deep emotions like love? What do cats really feel when they purr, head-butt or curl up with us?
;Were told that only humans have deep emotions like love. Animals have only their natural instincts. A cat shows affection to you because he needs you for food and shelter. You give your cat what he needs, and his instinct tells him to buddy up to you.
;Anyone who believes that never had a cat!
;No one can prove that a cat feels love any more than that a person feels it. Love is one of those things that just cant be proven.
;But what is love anyway? A feeling? An emotion? Here are some Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions for love:
1. Strong affection
3. Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for others;Cats, of course, show affection and not just when a meal is about to be served. Unless a cat has had a traumatic history with humans, she will seek out her owner for affection in the form of play, stroking or perhaps a chat.
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What Do Cats Think About Us You May Be Surprised
Unlike dogs, our feline friends treat us like other cats, author says.
Since cats first got their adorable claws into us about 9,500 years ago, humans have had a love affair with felines.
Today more than 80 million cats reside in U.S. homes, with an estimated three cats for every dog on the planet. Yet there’s still a lot we don’t know about our feline friendsincluding what they think of their owners.
John Bradshaw is a cat-behavior expert at the University of Bristol and the author of the new book Cat Sense. After observing pet cats for several years, he’s come to an intriguing conclusion: They don’t really understand us the way dogs do.
Bradshaw recently shared some of his insights with National Geographic.
How did you get into cat behavior?
For the first 20 years of my career I studied olfactory behavior in invertebrates. I’ve always been fascinated by this other world that animals live inprimarily of odor, which is dogs’ primary sense. So in the early 1980s I started working on dog behavior. I very quickly became fascinated with cats, and what their idea of the world is compared to the one we have.
What do you do in your research?
A lot of observationwatching groups of cats to see how they interact with one another and deducing their social structure. cats in colonies that are free-ranging, and in animal shelters where quite a number will be housed togetheryou get interesting dynamics .
Why did you conclude that cats don’t “get us” the way dogs do?
Recent Studies Into Cat Behavior
There is a wealth of information on cat behavior. The interesting thing to keep in mind is that its still an ever evolving study. New bits of information are formed all the time as we try to figure out these complicated animals.
I have looked into in-depth studies between people and cats. There has been a number of recent studies looking at how people interact with their cats, and how their cats respond. This is then compared with how cats interact with other cats in a more natural, wild environment. I like these comparisons, it shows how their behaviour differs between humans and other cats, there are a lot of conclusions we can draw from this.
Here is some of the results of such studies summarized:
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Can I Train My Cat
This is another question commonly asked, and a question research has tried to answer. There is a lot of evidence to show that cats can be trained. Although you will not have your cat rolling or sitting on command, you can train them to not do certain things.
Such as jumping on the kitchen side, a problem in the lives of a lot of cat owners. The treat angle doesnt work as well as it does with dogs. Cats respond to loud sudden noises. So clap your hands or startle your cat if you find it on the kitchen side.
This isnt as harsh as it sounds, and your cat will soon associate being on the kitchen side with a being suddenly startled and think twice in future. Make sure you also show your cat appreciation when its doing things right. They have a good memory you know.