Dogs may have always been called Man's Best Friend, but those aloof, cool cats are secretly needing you as much as canines do.
They may not show their neediness all the time, but a study published by the Current Biology journal on Monday has found humans have underestimated the strong emotional bonds truly cats have with them.
Much like dogs and babies, the majority of felines do demonstrate love, a 'secure bond' and a clear interest in their owners.
"Like dogs, cats display social flexibility in regard to their attachments with humans," said Dr Kristyn Vitale, according to Science Daily. "The majority of cats are securely attached to their owner and use them as a source of security in a novel environment."
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For the study, researchers had both cats and kittens participate in a ‘secure base test’ – a three phase test similar to those used to study baby and dog attachment behaviours.
The cat is first placed in a new room with their owner, followed by a stint alone, before being reunited.
Research found cats who have a secure attachment after the caregiver returns are less stressed.
But cats with an insecure attachment show signs of stress and either stay away from their caregiver or cling to them ‘ambivalently’ by sitting motionlessly in their lap.
Almost two-thirds of the cats analysed were "securly bonded", while the remainder were categorised as "insecurely attached."
The researchers had trialed a six-week ‘socialisation’ training course to see if the cats could be taught attachment, but the majority didn't change their behaviour.
"Once an attachment style has been established between the cat and its caregiver, it appears to remain relatively stable over time, even after a training and socialisation intervention."