When a cat greets a person, they generally make a big deal out of it. This can lead people to believe that cats are all about cupboard love, and the person who feeds them is only adored due to their ability to provide food. For those who would rather have a dog or baby for love and affection, taking another look at cat behavior might show them a side of cats that has long gone unexpected except by those who know and appreciate their own feline.
A recent study was conducted to see just how well cats bond with their people, and the results were surprising. More than two thirds of the cats and kittens in the study had formed a secure attachment to the person who took care of them. This was not a study about being fed, so the idea that only food will attract the affection of these furry wonders is not part of the issue.
Put in a room with their person, cats spent about two minutes there with them. The people then left for another two minutes before returning. The behavior of the cat was then measured in terms of their actions, and it showed that cats act an awful lot like dog and babies.
Some of them would cling to their owners as a comfort, and others would divide their time between the room and their person. These are the exact same types of behavior that has been exhibited by dogs and babies, so it is a correlation that cats find their humans to be part of their sense of security in a relationship that is about being the offspring of the person who is their caretaker.
Further exhibited behavior in cats is that they tend to be twitchy, aloof or ready to hide when they feel stressed. The cats in the study that had bonded with their person did not display these signs of insecurity once they had returned, so their affection is not just a theory.
The investigators have extrapolated that this type of cat behavior leads to the conclusion that cats are able to form a true bond with their people. They go to them when they want affection, but the relationship is also one of security. It has also been observed that cats can relate in this way to more than one person, and the additional bonds provide them with the same sense of safety provided by the person who feeds them.
Cats do tend to be a bit more independent than other creatures, but the fact they continue to return to those they have a bond with shows they have the ability to provide their own love and affection for others. When it becomes time to choose another animal for the household, a dog could be a good choice for those who seek constant attention from their pet. Other households might just benefit from choosing a cat that is more independent, less prone to jumping wildly but still has the ability to form a lasting bond that will please everyone.