You’re snuggling with your fur baby one afternoon, sipping tea and contemplating the meaning of life. And suddenly, Mr. Pawie gets up to leave, without even looking at you. You love him to death, you’ve gotten used to this kind of treatment, but you can’t help but wonder: is your cat loyal? And if yes, why does he seem so unaffectionate sometimes?
Or, if you don’t yet have a fluffy, lovable companion, maybe you’re asking yourself, is one worth adopting, given their seemingly nonchalant behavior and aloofness?
This has left many pet lovers with the burning question - are cats loyal to their owners?
Many people believe that cats tend to act distant, are emotionless, and do not form bonds with their owners. However, a recent study has shown that cats are incredibly loyal. Researchers at Oregon State University were able to establish that cats are friendly and calm when they feel a sense of security around their owners. So, have cats been long been misunderstood?
The runaway myth
It has been wrongly believed that cats are happier when they run away from their homes. However, this observation is incorrect: runaway cats behave the way they do because they do not have a secure attachment to their owner. They run off because they feel insecure and are in need of protection and care.
The study included over 100 cats and their owners and recreated several scenarios initially designed in the ’70s to examine the parent–infant bond. At the end of the study, it was observed that most cats had similar behaviors to those of dogs when they were suddenly neglected by their owners. The researchers put the cats and their owners in a quiet room. The hoomans were instructed to leave the room for about 120 s and then return. According to the research findings, over 62% of the cats felt worried, showing signs of unrest when their owners were not around.
Safe and Secure
In a chat with The Independent, Dr Kristyn Vitale, the lead author of the study, explained that “The majority of cats are looking to their owners to be a source of safety and security.” If there isn’t what is called a secure attachment between an owner and their feline pet, this may cause the latter to feel nervous, ignore their owner, and even run away from home in search for a more secure environment.
So believing that cats simply do not bond with their owners by default is not true! In fact, a kitty that feels safe and happy around their owner will greet them when they come home and then resume what they were doing (just like a human would do!). So let us not expect our cats to behave like dogs and become disappointed when we don’t get that response, because even if it’s more low-key, cats do care about their human parents and can definitely bond emotionally with them. Cats are not as nonchalant as you been made to believe, but more loyal than you can imagine!
Are you planning on visiting an animal shelter to get yourself a feline friend, or do you already have one, but that owner–pet bond is not there? Well, remember that cats are not dogs and are loving in their own way. All it takes to connect with your cat emotionally is to always ensure a safe environment for them. Need a few tips on how to do that? Check out this article on the different types of activities you can do with your kitty to keep them entertained and show them you love them!
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