Is your cat attached to you? Think again, scientists say

A new study published last week confirms that cats do not need their owners love and attention to make them feel safe and secure, unlike they’re running mates, dogs.

The study says that cats mostly rely on their owners for a source of food, according to the Huffington Post.

“Animal-human relationships may be built on different priorities–for dogs clearly safety and security are important, but this is not the case in cats,” said Dr. Daniel Mills, professor of veterinary behavioral medicine at the University of Lincoln in England and lead author of the study.

“It seems cats are much more resource focused… I’m sure you know someone whose cat moved in with their neighbor who started to feed it (rather than offered it shelter and protection).”

The study was created from a classic psychology experiment called “strange situation,” that was developed by an American-Canadian psychologist named Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999). The experiment included a baby or small child who was left in a room to play by the mother or main caregiver while a stranger walks in the room. They used the original experiment model to gauge how attached children were to their mothers.

In the current cat study, researchers put 20 cats in an unfamiliar room, then they watched them to see how they would respond when they were left alone in the room with a stranger, then their owner and then by themselves.

The cats were all chosen from environments where the owners said the cat was extremely attached to them. But the scientists found that there was no evidence their cats were strongly attached to their owners and merely meowed a few times more when left with a stranger.

“This vocalization might simply be a sign of frustration or learned response, since no other signs of attachment were reliably seen,” Mills said in a written statement. “In strange situations, attached individuals seek to stay close to their carer, show signs of distress when they are separated and demonstrate pleasure when their attachment figure returns, but these trends weren’t apparent during our research.”

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