Are cats emotionally attached to their owners?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Are cats emotionally attached to their owners? We also talk about the human-cat relationships, its paradoxes and health effects.

Are cats emotionally attached to their owners?

Yes, cats can be attached to their owners even more than dogs.  We often see cats as laid-back jesters who only tolerate us because we feed and care for them well, but a recent study showed that we’ve probably been underestimating these pets. It turns out that cats really need their owners and are emotionally attached to them, just like dogs. Well, maybe, after all, cats are also man’s best friends.

Scientists at Oregon State University conducted a study to find out if cats could develop an emotional bond with their owners. They invited 70 cat owners with their respective pets and asked them to do a simple task. Each owner had to stay with the animal for 2 minutes in the same room, then leave the room for another 2 minutes and return to stay with the animal for an additional 2 minutes.

Cats show a higher level of a secure emotional attachment than dogs

The results turned out to be quite surprising: about 64% of the cats seemed to be less stressed when their owner was in the same room than during the separation. Scientists believe this is a sign that cats can form a so-called “secure attachment,” just like dogs and children do. This means that they feel more confident, as well as being more likely to be active and explore the world around them when their caregiver is present.

About 35% of cats surveyed showed “insecure attachment”, revealing signs of stress, such as avoiding their owner. Surprisingly, the levels of secure or insecure attachment between cats and their owners are almost similar to those shown by children (65% safe, 35% insecure). Even dogs scored lower on this scale, presenting only 58% secure attachment.

Levels of safe emotional bonding in cats are similar to those shown by children

Kristyn Vitale, the study’s lead writer, is sure that both cats and dogs demonstrate the same kind of bond with their owners as children with their nannies. Most cats spend a lot of time with their owners, so they become more dependent, see them as a source of security, and even come to them when they need comfort.

It’s about the genes – Scientists say that increased training and socialization may have a small impact on how cats feel about their owners. It is hereditary factors (such as temperament) that matter most. The researchers stressed that if a cat manages to connect with its caretaker, its relationship will be stable in the long term.

However, more research is needed. Sceptics say this experiment should be repeated with strangers because we cannot now know for sure if the cats were responding to their owner’s presence or if they had reacted similarly to any human. But felines definitely form an emotional connection with their owners; We simply cannot be sure that it can be classified as a secure psychological attachment in the traditional sense, without further investigation.

Your emotional instability is affecting your cat

The behaviour of cats will be due to your character. This raises new research, which suggests that owners’ personalities, specifically emotional instability, may influence the behaviour of their feline pets. 

Research suggests that cat owners’ personalities, and more specifically emotional instability, may influence the behaviour of their feline pets. Research by Lincoln University and Nottingham Trent University investigated the relationship between different personalities of cat owners and the behaviour and well-being of their furry friends.

The findings suggest that just as a parent’s personality can affect a child’s personality, the same may be true for a cat and its owner. The research involved the study of more than 3,000 cat owners predominantly in the UK. 

As part of the study, the researchers asked questions about the owners ‘personalities, as well as their cats’ behaviour, health, and lifestyle. The results showed similar findings to previous research on parent-child relationships. For example, studies of human personality have shown that neuroticism, better known as emotional instability, is strongly linked to negative outcomes for a child. 

These include poorer physical and mental health, as well as a generally lower quality of life. This new study found a parallel, with higher levels of neuroticism in cat owners, perhaps leading to negative well-being for their pets.

Owners who scored higher on the neuroticism scale were also found to be more likely to report that their cats had a “behavioural problem,” showing more aggressive and anxious/fearful behavioural styles and more disease-related behaviours; stress, in addition to having a continuous medical condition and being overweight. 

Owner personality traits were also found to correlate more positively with various parameters of lifestyle, behaviour, and well-being. For example, increased owner awareness was associated with the cat displaying less anxious, aggressive, and elusive behaviour styles. 

Lauren Finka, a postdoctoral researcher in animal welfare at the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Nottingham Trent, worked on the research while studying in Lincoln and is co-author of the study with Professor Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioral Medicine at the University of Lincoln.

Finka said: “Many owners consider their pets as a member of the family, forming close social ties with them. Therefore, it is not surprising that our pets can be affected by the way we interact with them and manage them, and that these two factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences. The research concluded that owners ‘personality traits can be an integral part of our pets’ well-being, similar to that of the parent-child relationship.”

The human-cat relationship. Paradoxes and health effects

The relationship between humans and cats never ceases to amaze with its paradoxes. On the one hand, countless local authorities around the world consider cats a danger and euthanize them by the millions. 

Indomitable and uncontrollable

While many are wondering how people support these felines who take control of everything, others open cat bars in Asia, Europe and North America, which are hugely successful.  There are cosmetics for cats, all kinds of objects to help them not get bored, a whole arsenal of care to make their living as comfortable as possible.

All this while these cats have worrying similarities in behaviour with older cousins, 

lions. “Cats are a disaster for the environment. They kill between 1.5 and 4 billion birds each year in the United States alone. They can’t be completely domesticated and they don’t have a hierarchy to help us control them, “explains journalist Abigail Tucker, author of “The Lion in the Living Room. How the cats managed to conquer the world“.

Calming and distracting

However, there are countless studies that attest to a large number of effects of the presence of cats on human health. One of them is to reduce stress and anxiety by lowering the level of chemicals in the body – the simple caress of these animals, which generally need a minimum of care, can remove the human mind from worries. 

Reducing the risk of stroke is another benefit. Recent studies have shown that cat owners have a much lower risk not only of those who do not have pets but also of owners of other species that fall into this category. 

The release of a calming hormone called oxytocin is also the result of the presence of a cat nearby. This substance has a calming effect, inducing a state of affection and confidence. Even in the case of children diagnosed with autism, a visible calming was found while stroking a cat.

It lowers cholesterol levels and attracts the opposite sex

Cats help their owners reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, even with a surprising percentage of 40%, according to research from the University of Minnesota. 

Lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels have also been reported among cat owners. The benefits of the presence of a cat in human life also include increased sociability (a recent study showed that women are much more attracted to men who have cats, because this is an indicator of intelligence and sensitivity); discreet company and the evolution of a relationship that can become of significant affectivity (Swiss research shows that, for many owners, the relationship with their cat is emotionally equivalent to a romantic relationship.

Increases the human body’s resistance to allergies

The presence of the cat as a pet makes many people think of the hair they leave, but it has been found that, on the contrary, it contributes to increasing the human body’s resistance to increasingly common allergies in contemporary human life, as well as increasing the system’s resistance. immune. 

At the same time, cat owners have lower blood pressure, thanks to the soothing, somewhat static, presence of the cat. In a recent study, several people were placed in the same room who experienced increased tension while talking to each other aloud. Then the cats were brought to the room: when they started talking to them, all these people immediately had a much-diminished tension and it remained constant.

Despite the fact that cats aren’t threatening to one’s life or potentially harmful, some people say I hate cats. Though they themselves don’t know why.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

FAQ on Are cats emotionally attached to their owners?

Do cats get attached to their owners?

Yes, cats can get attached to their owners, just like dogs and other pets can do, according to the journal Current Biology Journal

Why is my cat so attached to me lately?

Your cat can suddenly be more attached because they need you for comfort and support. Perhaps your cat is going through a stressful time, and you should notice any changes in its behaviour, eating and sleeping habits. 

Do cats have a favourite person?

Yes, cats can have a favourite person. Most of the time this is the person who plays and pets them the most. It is perfectly normal for cats to get attached to their owners. 

How do you tell if your cat is bonded with you?

You can tell if your cat is bonded with you if they are doing grooming behaviours such as licking the hair or ears in front of you. Generally, you will know if a cat likes you.

Do cats forgive abuse?

Cats do not forgive abuse. They are among the animals who do not forgive those who hurt them. 

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References

Sciencealert.com -Cats Do Bond Securely to Their Humans – Maybe Even More So Than Dogs

Oregonprogress.oregonstate.edu -A first-ever study to train cats and their people for better health

Medicalnewstoday.com -Cat Owners Have Lower Heart Attack Risk, Study

Phys.org – Do copy cats really exist? A new study shows that cats may reflect their owner’s personality

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