Cats might be described as aloof and indifferent as compared to the loving and fiercely loyal dogs. But of course, many cat people would disagree, and so does science.
Cat cognition research suggests that cats do form emotional bonds with their humans, just like dogs do. They might look like they do not care about their hoomans, but study also suggests that cats experience separation anxiety, and are more responsive to their owners’ voices than to strangers’.
However, a new study by researchers in Japan could possibly complicate our understanding of cat behavior. The researchers found that, unlike dogs, cats do not avoid strangers who refure to help their owners.
In the experiment, a cat watched its owner try to open a box to get something inside. Two strangers sat on either side of their owner and turned to each one of them and asked for help. During the “helper” trials, the stranger helped, while in the “non-helper”trials, the stranger sat passively, refused, and did nothing.
After that, both strangers offered the cat a treat and scientists observed the cat’s reaction and who it will approach first. This method was first used to test dogs, and showed negativity bias, which meant the dog refused to take food from a stranger who refused to help their hooman.
In contrast, the cats showed no preference for the helpful person and unhelpful person. For them, food is food.
In conclusion, researchers say there is still so much to learn about how cats think. Future research might show cat’s understanding of humans, and it might turn out, cats are better at recognizing human social dynamics in different contexts.
You might want to read:
– The psychological benefits of having dogs or cats for seniors
– Graves of nearly 600 cats and dogs found in ancient Egypt may be the oldest pet cemetery
– Fishing cats: Saving one of the world’s most elusive wild cats