Why are dogs more social than cats

New study on the attachment behavior of cats

A cat doesn't care if a person is known to be around. In the cliché picture, the independent house tigers only occasionally let themselves be condescended to allow their master or mistress a short crawl session - otherwise all they want from them is a full bowl of food and a clean toilet. But that doesn't seem to be quite true - this is now shown by a study published in the journal Current Biology.

Cats respond to their name

The connection between cats and humans has so far hardly been explored. The tail-wagging dog with its faithful eyes seemed to have the more interesting social behavior, research has paid more attention to its bond with humans.

But meanwhile the relationship between cats and humans is moving more and more into focus: And the first results gave the impression that cats are not particularly social animals, at least as far as their human roommates are concerned: In smaller studies, cats did not behave differently, no matter whether the owner or a stranger was present.

At the same time, however, Japanese researchers were able to show that cats recognize their own name and react to it.

New study on the social behavior of cats

In a new study, researchers from the USA have now carried out an experiment with almost 70 young kittens. They wanted to investigate the social bond between cat and owner. To do this, they confronted the cat with a stressful situation:

Animal and owner entered a strange room together, but after two minutes the person left the room again and left the cat alone.

After another two minutes, the human returned to the room and now the scientists observed the cat's behavior. This type of experiment is otherwise used to investigate the attachment of young children to their parents or of dogs to their owners.

Bonding with humans gives the cat security

Two thirds of the cats showed the same behavior here: They made contact with the returned person, they let themselves be cuddled briefly and then continued to explore the room. According to the researchers, this speaks for a secure bond - the incoming person is taken as reassurance, their presence gives security.

The remaining cats - about a third of the animals - either completely ignored the person, did not move from the side at all or showed themselves torn to and fro.

Cats also attach themselves to people

The results can be compared well with the attempts at bonding between small children and their parents or dogs and their owners - two thirds react similarly to cats to a returning caregiver.

From this, the researchers conclude that cats, like dogs, not only develop social bonds with their conspecifics, but also with their humans - even if they sometimes don't feel like showing us.