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

 

FULL TEXT AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AT THIS LINK

 

Announcing CatSci Podcast Coming this Summer!

I am so excited to announce we are launching CatSci Podcast this summer! The podcast will cover the current science behind cat behavior and cognition and discuss cat training and enrichment ideas. This is a collaboration between myself and Tori Peterson of Space Cat Academy.

Kristyn & Tori, Creators of CatSci Podcast


Please follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on the release of our first episode!
@CatSciPodcast

If you think cats are antisocial, maybe it’s you, scientists find

New media mention about our cat sociability research!

Washington Post
By Karin Brulliard
January 16, 2019

Dogs may have stolen the Internet from cats, but cat memes endure — and many center on one theme: Cats are aloof jerks.

The primary ambassador of this notion, naturally, is Grumpy Cat. But cats of all sorts, these memes tell us, desire to be left alone with their coffee, or demand darkness, or prefer ankle attacks to head scratches.

Okay, maybe you know cats that fit the bill. But it is not the case that “cats skew toward independency,” in the words of a new study on cat social behavior. In fact, researchers at Oregon State University found, many pet and shelter cats are pretty eager to interact with humans — particularly people who seek out kitty caresses…..

Read the full article online at Washington Post!

Interview with an American Cat Researcher

Lincoln Animal Ambassadors

Photo from Kristyn Vitale Photo from Kristyn Vitale

Kristyn Vitale has always owned cats. As a child, she used to watch them and wonder what was going on in my cats’ heads. Kristyn feels that her curiosity about how cats see the world led her to a career path where she could explore how cats think directly by measuring their behavior.

Although Kristyn’s dream was to work with cats, there were so few opportunities for this line of work that she decided to instead study Zoology, which she felt would allow her to work with animals in some capacity. During her undergraduate studies, she met the late Dr. Penny Bernstein, a professor who studied cat behavior. “When I saw that someone had made a career out of studying cat behavior I decided this was the route I wanted to take,” Kristyn said.

With cats being the number one companion animal in several countries, but very few people…

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