Research into loneliness and cat and dog ownership among single women in 1994 made an interesting finding.
I’ll quote from the document that I am referring to:
“…That cat owners living with others should be significantly more attached to their pet than those living alone, however, is curious.”
The scientists found that if a women is living alone with her cat companion the attachment that she has with her cat is likely to be less strong than if she was living with another person and the cat. Note: Out of convenience I have referred to cat owners as women but the same would (or might) apply to both sexes.
They suggested that in homes were there is a cat owner and cat living with other people, the cat takes on the role of a ‘bulwark and diversion’ from the needs of interacting with other people.
I’ll interpret that as meaning that in homes where there are two and more people plus a pet cat that the cat helps to keep harmony between the people. The cat’s presence achieves this by providing the cat owner with a way of legitimately and without upset getting away from the other person or people. It is a way for the cat owner to temporarily disconnect from the people with whom the cat owner lives.
If that interpretation is correct, the cat is providing a useful service. Also there is likely to be increased interactions between cat and owner if there is friction between the people which would lead to a greater human-to-cat attachment.
My comment: This scenario may happen in divorce. In divorce it seem where the human parties are still living together, if the woman has a cat companion she is likely to rely on that relationship more at this stressful and more lonely time. This fosters a greater attachment between cat and owner (guardian).
If you wish you can read the entire research document by clicking on the link below.
Study: Loneliness and Pet Ownership Among Single Women 1994 Psychological Reports.