We all know that cats aren’t as warm-loving towards their owners as dogs are, but it turns out that some are just as attached as babies and dogs are! Ain’t that cute?
Anyways… a study conducted at Oregon State University and published in the academic journal Current Biology looked into how kittens react to their owners, investigating their stress levels when interacting with people and aligned them with four traits: secure; ambivalent; avoidant, and disorganised. Pretty sure I’d be the latter if I were a cat, but besides the point…
Whilst many would expect cats to be a little hesitant, the study found that the majority of kittens involved had similar maternal reactions to babies and puppies. Most of them even had a ‘reduced stress response’ whenever owners returned after leaving a room, which usually points towards a secure attachment.
To carry out the experiment, kittens aged four to eight months would spend two minutes with their caretaker before they’d leave for two minutes and come back again. To their surprise, 64% of them had a secure attachment style like babies do, concluding that kittens are just as attached to their caregivers as dogs are!
As for the remaining kitties, 36% did not have their stress levels fluctuate, so there’s still a decent chance that kitten you’ve been thinking about getting will be ambivalent towards you!
As the study remarks, ‘It seems that if a kitten takes a shining to you this will carry on throughout its life. Cat attachment style appears to be relatively stable and is present in adulthood’.