Attachment bonds between domestic cats and humans

Our research on cat-human attachment bonds was recently published in Current Biology. We found that cats display distinct attachment styles toward their owners. These styles are the same styles that human infants and dogs display toward their caregivers. As seen in this video, secure cats use their owner as a source of security and comfort and are able to freely explore the room while the owner is present. Insecure cats do not use their owner as a secure base and instead either cling to their owner’s side or avoid the owner. Similar to findings with infants and dogs, the majority of kittens and cats (~65%) were securely attached to their caregiver. Half the kittens also participated in a 6-week training and socialization class, but cat attachment styles did not significantly change after the class. This indicates cat-human attachment may be relatively stable once established.

Vitale, K. R., Behnke, A. C., & Udell, M. A. R. (2019). Attachment bonds between domestic cats and humans. Current Biology29(18), R864–R865.  DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.036

 

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