While most believe that cats are aloof and unloving — you may be surprised to know that they actually view us like parents.
In a new study published in Current Biology, it is revealed that cats displayed very similar attachment styles toward caregivers similar to dogs and babies in an experiment according to researchers from Oregon State University.
Researchers performed an attachment test that has been used on primates as well as dogs. The test compromised of 70 kitten subjects who were put in a room with their caregiver for two minutes before being left alone for two minutes and then reunited. The researchers then observed the kittens’ behavior and organized them into attachment styles familiar to human babies and dogs: secure, ambivalent, avoidant and disorganized.
Over 60 percent of the kittens in the study displayed a secure attachment style — which meant that they were distressed when their caregiver left the room but displayed a healthy balance of attachment and exploration when they came back. And over 30 percent of the kittens displayed an insecure attachment style — which meant they remained stressed upon reunion and either displayed excessive contact, avoidance, or some disorganized mix.
The split of secure and insecure styles was similar to that found in the literature for human children.
The finding remained the same even after a follow — up exactly two months later according to the study — and in adult cats when the experiment was done with 38 cats older than one year.
Social cognition in dogs, according to the study, has received much more research interest than in cats but science is slowly proving that cats are actually nice.