Study: Relationships Between Cats & Humans Mirror Human Bonds
And that’s not all. The research shows that cats prefer to buddy up with women, and not (only) because we carry the can openers!
I actually came across this story a while ago, but I thought it still warranted posting. According to a study in Behavioural Processes, the bond between cats and their pet parents is much more intense than imagined. And while we probably all knew that already, it’s nice for science to take note.
The study found that cat-owner relationships mirrored human relationships, especially when the owner was a woman.
It also found that cats are somewhat controlling in our relationships with them – much like human children in some households – especially when being fed and handled. But I guess we didn’t really need science to tell us that.
As they looked into why cats tend to cozy up to women more, they discovered a few things. While the age, sex, and personality of the owners impacted the human-cat relationship, the sex of the cat didn’t. That may be due to the fact that they found women tend to interact with their cats more than men do, which may contribute to a closer, more intense bond.
Consequently, in some homes, cats become our “furry children.” Since we place them in such high regard, we are often in tune with their needs and desires. In fact, the research found that cats and their owners influence each other, and often control the other one’s behaviors.
From the blog post: “Extroverted women with young, active cats enjoyed the greatest synchronicity, with cats in these relationships only having to use subtle cues, such as a single upright tail move, to signal desire for friendly contact.”
I guess it really does help to be in tune with your cat’s body language!
A related study also suggests that cats may be more in control of our relationship than we think. They concluded “household cats exercise this control with a certain type of urgent-sounding, high-pitched meow,” but that shouldn’t be too surprising.
As we know, a cats meow largely to communicate with us. We can also encourage this behavior by talking back and giving them what they want, two normal and common responses. (If you think your cat is too chatty, check out this post.)
Again, this research tied similarities between a cat’s cries and a baby’s cries, once again suggesting that our nurturing side wants to attend to anything that cries.
While I think all of these findings certainly have merit, I tend to take a much less scientific approach to my cats. They’re my little buddies. I spend time with them and care for them. Naturally I pick up on their cues and signals for what they need. I think that’s only natural when you’re around another life, whether it’s a plant, cat, or husband. It’s one of the joys of being in a relationship, but I’m still glad that science has taken note.
What do you think? Who does your cat have a closer relationship to in your household? Who spends the most time with your cat? Please share in the comments!