Updated: May 4
Recent studies have shown what cat lovers have always known: cats can and do bond with their humans as securely and loyally as dogs. Understanding the human-cat bond is essential for catventurers and below are 5 things 'pawrents' should know.
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Despite being one of the most popular and prevalent human companion animals worldwide, surprisingly little scientific literature is available regarding human-cat attachment and social bonds. More detailed study and a deeper understanding of cats’ socio-cognitive behaviour in relation to humans could help provide improvements to both human and feline health and quality of life. This information may be useful in understanding the bonds that favour successfully introducing cats to a catventurous lifestyle, as well as those that may be formed between humans and their catventurers.
More detailed study and a deeper understanding of cats’ socio-cognitive could help provide improvements to both human and feline health and quality of life.
The "Pet Effect" describes the many observed benefits to overall physical and mental health of humans that are bonded with a pet, including cats. The positive effects that living with a cat can have on human health are not to be underestimated. Both humans and cats may benefit from the potentially enhanced human-cat attachment and social bonds a catventurous lifestyle cultivates.
Animal scientist Kristyn Vitale of Oregon State University is quoted as saying that, "the majority of cats are securely attached to their owner and use them as a source of security in a novel environment". Catventurers, who routinely experience new environments with their humans, benefit immensely from a secure, trusting human-cat bond.
Studies are being planned and performed to examine how early feline socialisation has an impact on the formation of attachment bonds in refuge and foster cats, and how this information could be applied to help improve how these cats bond with humans. Cats who can form secure attachments to humans are more likely to be adopted into loving forever homes. Questions remain around whether cats can learn to form these bonds as adults or whether they must be imprinted early.
Cats who can form secure attachments to humans are more likely to be adopted into loving forever homes.
There is much variation in the ways cats display social and attachment behaviour toward humans. While we can never truly know what cats think, below is a list of behaviours that show your individual cat is likely bonded with and attached to you. When combined with other favourable factors, a cat that is exhibiting signs of being socially bonded with you may be more receptive to a catventurous lifestyle.
Kneading you (making muffins, making biscuits, smurgling)
Sitting on you or sharing space with you
Slow blinking at you (kitty kisses)
Head-butting to imprint scents (head boop)
Purring in situations of contentment
Meowing to you to fulfill their needs as they would have done with their mother (cats don't generally meow to other cats past kittenhood)
Trilling (mostly a vocalisation made by female cats)
Rubbing against you to share scents
Gazing into your eyes in non-confrontational situations
Grooming you, and grooming themselves after you have touched them
Exposing their belly to exhibit vulnerability and trust
Curved tail-tip like a question mark showing a friendly response to your presence
Nibbling you to gain your attention
Following you around (this may also signal anxiety or a simply indicate a need that hasn’t been met, such as hunger)
Honouring you with ‘gifts’
Enlarged pupils in situations of contentment
Presenting their butt to you as they would to their mother as a kitten
Do you have something to say about the human-cat bond or the bond you have with your cat? How does your catventurer show you affection? We would love to hear from you in the comments or via email at email@example.com.
Charlotte & Melba
Le lien entre l'Homme et le chat : 5 choses que les « pawrents » des cha'venturiers doivent savoir
Des études récentes ont démontré ce que les amoureux des chats ont toujours su : les chats peuvent se lier à leurs humains et le font avec autant de confiance et de loyauté que les chiens. Comprendre le lien entre l'Homme et le chat est essentiel pour les cha'venturiers et voici 5 choses que les « pawrents » doivent savoir.