It is already a known fact that cats are not as affectionate ass dogs are. It has become a cliché to say that cats have very unique personality traits and are very independent. Even if many cat owners might have noticed that a long time ago, they probably don’t know why that happens.
A new study aims to give an explanation to this mysterious attitude that felines display. A team of researchers from the University of Lincoln in Great Britain shows that, while cats bond with their human owners, they do not consider them their source of security and safety, even if they are.
In order to reach such conclusions, the experts carried out a test called “Strange Situation”. This test was initially designed in the ’70s to check how small children act when their mother is not around.
The toddlers would be in a room with the mother and then had their mother leave, while a stranger approached them. Those considered securely attached regarded their mother as a safe base from which they were free to explore the world.
The same test was carried out with small puppies a couple of years ago. It was shown that dogs are very similar to human babies, because they can be very much securely attached to their owners and cling to them whenever a stranger is around.
Cats, on the other hand, are nothing like their canine counterparts. When the experts, led by Alice Potter, who is a researcher at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in England, carried out the same test with cats, they saw a very different outcome from the one they had expected.
They selected only cats whose caregivers said that they were very attached to them. They saw that the pets did not show any particular sign of attachment, even if they sometimes started meowing when the owner left the room.
However, the researchers believe cats do that as a way of showing their frustration. Generally, cats tend to be more vocal when their owners talk to them, so this might be a conditioned response.
By revealing these findings, researchers don’t mean to say that cats do not love their owners, but simply that they don’t see them as parent figures, with whom they can form an attachment.
The results of the study were published in the journal PLOS One on Wednesday.
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