A veterinarian has identified three potential indicators your cat has developed a bond with you similar to that of parent and child.
A recent survey of 2,000 pet owners conducted by OnePoll found that 61 percent considered their pet to be their child.
Given the amount of affection directed their way, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many pet owners would hope to see these feelings reciprocated. But while dogs have largely been an open book in this respect, happy to show their human companions affection, cats are famously aloof and harder to read.
That’s not to say there aren’t indicators to suggest cats are capable of forming these loving bonds with their owners as Dr. Jo Myers, veterinarian at Vetster, a veterinary telemedicine platform told Newsweek.
“Felines have evolved to embrace human companionship differently than dogs, but they’re still social animals who often enjoy interacting with people,” she said. “Even though today’s house cats are not adapted to form long term relationships with their feline parents, cats often form strong and lasting bonds to their human family members.”
The Secure Base Effect
Further proof of this can be found in a 2019 study published in the journal Current Biology, which saw researchers conclude that the relationship between owner and cat is similar to that of parent and infant.
It followed a series of experiments involving 108 cats and their owners. Each cat was placed in a room with its owner for two minutes. Then their owner was asked to leave for two minutes before returning for another two minutes. During this time researchers observed the cats’ behavior, with a particular focus on how they reacted upon their owner’s return.
The results showed that 64 percent of the cats who took part in the study exhibited signs of secure attachment to their owner. This means they essentially felt more comfortable in a new scenario due to the presence of a parental figure.