Cats and Humans: Cats use their owners as a source of security

Image via JMD
  • Most people think that the majority of cats are proud, snobbish, and sometimes indifferent
  • But according to a new study, cats use their owners as a source of security, especially when they are in an unfamiliar place or environment
  • This connection between cats and humans can also be considered similar to the bond between dogs and baby
Image via JMD

It is common for people to think that cats are indifferent. This may be because cats are known for their chilly image and snobbish attitude. However, a new study showed that cats also depend on their owners whenever they find themselves in an unfamiliar situation.

Researchers from Oregon State University’s Human-Animal Interaction Lab represented the first empirical investigation on the attachment bonds between domestic cats and humans which was published on Current Biology last September 23.

“Attachment is a biologically relevant behavior,” says co-author of the study Kristyn Vitale.

“Our study indicates that when cats live in a state of dependency with a human, that attachment behavior is flexible and the majority of cats use humans as a source of comfort,” she added.

The study tested the attachment security between cats and humans utilizing the same “secure based test” used to assess attachment in dogs and infants.

The experiment allowed the cat and its caregiver to spend two minutes together in an unfamiliar place. Then, the human leaves so that the cat can spend an alone phase for another two minutes. After that, the human returns and they can both spend two more minutes together.

Image via JMD

According to the results, 64.3% of the kittens aged 3–8 months were categorized as securely attached to their caregivers while 35.7% displayed insecure attachment. Meanwhile, 65.8% of adult cats aged more than a year showed secure attachment, while 34.2% were insecure.

This study can change what most people think about cats. Despite their cold personality and desire for independence, they still need their human friends as their source of security.