London, Sep 6 (IANS) You might be missing your cat when you are away from home but your feline companion does not reciprocate that feeling, research reveals.
This is because cats don’t see their owners as a source of safety and security in the same way dogs do, making them much more independent and less reliant.
In particular, the researchers found cats don’t suffer from separation anxiety and any noise they make when their owner leaves is more likely to be out of boredom or frustration, Daily Mail reported.
“While it is increasingly recognised cats are more social and more capable of shared relationships, this latest research shows adult cats are more autonomous, even in their social relationships,” said lead researcher professor Daniel Mills from University of Lincoln.
This means they don’t necessarily depend on others to provide a sense of protection.
A test known as the Ainsworth Strange Situation Test (SST) has been widely used to demonstrate that the bond between children and dogs to their primary carer typically meets the requirements of what’s known as a ‘secure attachment’.
This is defined as the carer being seen as the focus of safety and security in otherwise threatening situations.
By developing an adapted version of the SST, Mills and his colleague Alice Potter were able to test this theory on cats.
During the experiments, the researchers observed the relationships between 20 cats and their owners, placing the pets in an unfamiliar environment together with their owner, with a stranger and also on their own.
In varying scenarios, it assessed three different characteristics of attachment including the amount of contact sought by the cat, the level of passive behaviour, and signs of distress caused by the absence of the owner.
“Although our cats were more vocal when the owner rather than the stranger left, we didn’t see any additional evidence to suggest that the bond between a cat and its owner is one of secure attachment,” Mills said.
The findings are published in the journal Plos One.