There’s an English joke that goes, “Dogs are loyal to their owners, and owners are loyal to their cats.” The issue of loyalty between cats and dogs has been debated for centuries, with some believing dogs to be more loyal and cats ungrateful. Yet, some experts assert that cats are loyal, albeit differently from dogs. They are freedom-loving animals that care about you but do not obey you.
But, according to a recent study, that claim may not be true. Research from Oregon State University investigated the parent-child bond, as previously measured by a study designed in the 1970s, but this time using cats and their owners. The results showed that 64.3% of cats displayed “secure attachment” when tested.
For the tests, 108 cats were examined, with 70 kittens being left in an unfamiliar room with their owners for two minutes, followed by two minutes in which the owners were removed from the room. During this two-minute period, 64.3% of the cats displayed signs of “secure attachment.” When the owners returned to the room, the cats began relaxing and showing an interest in their surroundings. However, the rest remained stressed, some became more reserved, and some avoided their owners entirely.
Previous similar studies have shown that 65% of children and 58% of dogs demonstrate “secure attachment.”
“Cats expect a sense of security from their owners when they are stressed. Cat owners should definitely consider this. The behavior of cat owners when they are stressed has a direct impact on their cat’s behavior,” said head researcher Dr. Kristyn Vitale.
The study shows that stereotypes should be questioned and may not be true. It becomes more important where we place cats and dogs in our lives and how we approach them instead of sticking labels like “loyal” or “ungrateful.”