For cat owners who have referred to themselves as their feline’s parents in all seriousness, a new study has confirmed that yes, your cat probably sees you in the same capacity. A new study, conducted by Oregon State University, shows that cats can form bonds with their caretakers, similar to how dogs and babies do. Cats are just more aloof. But we already knew that, didn’t we?
For the study, which was published Monday in the scientific journal Current Biology, researchers observed a total of 70 kittens between the ages of three and eight months. First, the cats were put in a room with their owners for two minutes, then, separate for the same amount of time, returning for a two-minute reunion. About 64 percent of the kittens displayed a secure attachment to their owner.
The remaining 36 percent of “insecurely attached” felines were categorized as ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized, so, yes, there are still some cats out there that would rather have absolutely nothing to do with us. However, while some may argue that cats generally don’t have the same companionship qualities that dogs do, this study proves otherwise.
Researchers also studied cats who were over a year older and found similar findings, proving the attachment doesn’t go away. “The characteristics of a secure cat, for example, [are] greeting their owner and then going back to what they were doing,” Kristyn Vitale, lead study author, told NBC News. “That’s how a secure human also behaves.”
Vitale also said that most cats are looking to their owners for safety and security. “It’s important for owners to think about that,” Vitale said. “When they’re in a stressful situation, how they’re behaving can actually have a direct impact on their cats’ behavior.” So if you’re feeling zen, your cat will be, too.