Your cat loves you – they just have a different way of showing it! You know your dog is happy to see you when they come running as you walk in the door. But cats often act aloof – as if they’re saying “Oh you’re home?” But new research from Oregon State University finds that cats are just as bonded to their people as dogs and human babies are. To figure it out, they used what’s called the “strange situation test” – which has been used on human babies.
To gauge an attachment response, researchers look at how babies respond when they’re reunited with their parent after being separated for a few minutes. When they’re reunited, securely bonded babies return to exploring their surroundings. About 65% of babies have a secure attachment. Insecurely attached babies will either avoid their parent or cling to them because they have anxiety over being abandoned again or a reluctance to bond at all.
The Oregon study used that same experiment on cats. And just like with babies, about 65% of cats were found to be securely bonded to their owners. They greeted their humans and then went about their business again. Insecurely attached cats showed signs of stress, and either avoided their owner or clung to them. And the researchers say, this is the first experiment to show that cats bond to their owners the way babies bond to their parents.