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Cats can be as close to their owners as dogs

Are you one of those who think that cats are feline mini-diversions that live with their owners simply because they tolerate them and that the bonds between them have nothing to do with those established by the always faithful and loving dogs with their humans? Research published in Current Biology shows that cats can be as close to their humans as dogs. Maybe it’s time to change your mind …

“Like dogs, cats show social flexibility in their bonds with humans,” said animal scientist Kristyn Vitale of Oregon State University. Also, most kitties feel safe in an unfamiliar situation if their human is present.

Previous experiments with monkeys and dogs showed that two types of attachment occur in these species. On the one hand, we have the secure attachment and on the other the insecure one. The first is the one that occurs when the dog, in an unknown environment for him, meets his human and then calms down and continues exploring as usual. Insecure attachment occurs when the dog, being in the circumstance described above, remains stressed, clings in an exaggerated way to its owner or, on the contrary, avoids it as much as possible.

Kristyn Vitale and her team conducted a study with adult cats and kittens to study the two types of attachment in kittens. 79 kittens and 38 cats participated in the test. In it, a cat or kitten and its owner met in a room. The person sat inside a circle drawn on the ground and only if the animal entered, could they interact with it. After two minutes, the human would leave and leave the cat alone. After another two minutes, he would come back and sit inside the circle again.

Adult cats participated in the test only once, while kittens repeated it two months later. In the second round, 39 of the kittens had undergone a six-week training and socialization course. The remainder acted as a control group.

Well, the test results indicated that of all the kittens that participated, 9 were unclassifiable. As for the rest, 64.3% of the kittens showed a secure bond and 35.7% insecure . Furthermore, no relationship was established between the training that some animals received and the type of bond shown.

In the case of adult cats, the figures obtained were similar: 65.8% demonstrated a secure attachment and 34.2% insecure.

What is striking about all this is that both 64.3% and 65.8% are very close (in kittens it happens) to the 65% of secure attachment observed in human babies and, beware, they are higher than the 61% secure attachment rate observed in dogs in a study published in 2018.

This study suggests that cats can perfectly bond with humans .

Of course, they do it their way.

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