If you missed the signs that indicate your pet cat is more independent than a pet dog, a new research comes to strengthen the popular hypothesis.
A study focused on the behavior of 20 cats when left in the company of a stranger or on their own found that our furry friends do not suffer the symptoms of separation anxiety in the same way as dogs for instance.
Cats can handle new situations on their own perfectly. The study, published in the PLOS One journal doesn’t look to contradict that the domesticated felines are capable of affection and forming strong bonds with their owners. Rather, it should come as an encouragement for cat owners considering to leave their furry friends alone or in the company of a stranger for a while.
The research was conducted by a team of researchers with the University of Lincoln, UK. According to the researchers, specialized in animal behavior:
“while dogs perceive their owners as a safe base, the relationship between people and their feline friends appear to be quite different”.
Recently, statistics have shown that owning a cat has become increasingly more popular than owning a pet dog. Could it be a youtube influenced trend? The internet of cats might have played a role with all the cuteness display. Nonetheless, this preference seems to be based more on the popular assumption that cats make a better friend and pet for people who work longer hours or need to be away from home for longer.
Canine companions are displaying clear signs of separation anxiety when left alone or in the care of another person whom they perceive as a stranger. Our feline friends however, are not as impressed. They are indeed independent companions that will cuddle and brighten our days, but that won’t miss us much when away. What previous research has coined anxiety separation with cats seems to be more of a frustration according to the new study.
The 20 cats involved in the study were placed by the researchers in unknown environments. They were in turns accompanied by their owners, left alone or left in the care of strangers.
Under all scenarios the behavior of the cats was monitored. The research team looked specifically at how much the feline friends sought contact with humans, how passive they were in relation to others present or when left alone and registered signs of unusual behavior or distress when their owners were not around.
The research team concluded:
“Although our cats were more vocal when the owner rather than the stranger left them with the other individual, we didn’t see any additional evidence to suggest that the bond between a cat and its owner is one of secure attachment”.
Dogs seem to perceive their owners as a safe haven and form really close bonds, being almost dependant on their owners to cater to their needs and provide affection. Cats on the other hand can deal perfectly fine by themselves and are certainly more independant.
We are not their safe haven. And while they might not miss us as much as dogs, they still love us.
Photo Credits: CatChannel