As a cat owner, you may have wondered if your feline companion loves you as much as a dog would. A recent study investigated if cats show attachment towards their guardians similar to dogs. Here’s what the researchers found.
Many aspects of cat behavior are not consistent with the characteristics of attachment. For instance, cats show more behaviors that are independent. They may not form strong social bonds like dogs do because they are solitary hunters. However, this does not mean that cats do not enjoy their relationship with their guardians.
Cats seek human companionship for different reasons and in different ways from dogs. Unlike dogs, who have been working and living with humans for far longer, cats do not look to people for their daily needs. But they do form social bonds with their owners and show “affectionate” behavior, as well as a preference for their guardian(s) over non-household humans.
The Ainsworth Test
The researchers used the Ainsworth test to determine attachment and separation anxiety in both cats and dogs. The test involves observing how an animal behaves when their guardian leaves and when a stranger leaves.
Standing by the door where the guardian exited was a key measure for determining attachment and separation anxiety in dogs. However, cats did not show this behavior, which may not necessarily mean they don’t miss their guardians. Rather, cats do not show distress in the same way as dogs do.
Differences Between Cats and Dogs
Cats do not display the same type of attachment to their guardians as dogs do. Dogs see their guardians as a source of safety and show more dependence. In contrast, cats show more independence and may not see their guardians as a source of safety in the same way. However, cats do form social bonds with their owners and prefer them over non-household humans.
In summary, the bond between cats and their guardians is not of secure attachment. Cats do not display the same type of attachment to their guardians as dogs do. However, this does not mean that cats do not enjoy their relationship with their guardians. They seek human companionship for different reasons and in different ways from dogs. So, if you are a cat owner, don’t let catchy headlines make you doubt your cat’s love.