Cat’s Brain Releases the Same Love Hormone as Humans

The brains of domestic cats release a hormone called “oxytocin” which has been called the “neurochemical of love” in the same way that people do. Hence it could be said that all mammals love in a similar way to people judging by brain chemistry and the production of what is also called the “love hormone”. It seems that when a person or any mammalian animal falls in love a part of their brain (the hypothalamus) produces a large amount of a hormone called oxytocin.

Cats love like people
Cats love like people
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Paul J. Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University, who conducted the study into animals’ production of oxytocin says that both human and animal brains produce this hormone when people and animals are treated with kindness. It is a hormone which is also associated with intimacy and has been called the “bonding hormone”.

As can be seen, oxytocin, is closely associated with friendship, intimacy and, for the want of a better term, “love”. I say “love” because this hormone and was found to be released between lovers during sexual intercourse.

The hormone also encourages people to treat others with more care and compassion hence its association with love and friendship. Animals produce this hormone when they interact with each other and when they interact with people.

Prof Zak recites an interesting test he conducted on a goat and a dog, who were friends. After the goat and dog had played together, the professor measure the amount of oxytocin in their blood and there was so much of it in the goat’s blood that he concluded that it was quite possible that the goat was in love with his dog companion. As it happens the dog produced less of this hormone. Perhaps this was a case of unrequited love!

You can find out more about this hormone at a very scientific level by reading the Wikipedia article but I don’t want to dwell on the science in this article as this post is about recognising, once again, that there are great similarities between the domestic cat and people at an anatomical level.

I hope the knowledge that cats could have the same feelings of love (which I presume this hormone produces) leads to more people respecting the domestic cat and indeed animals in general.

Source: Article.

10 thoughts on “Cat’s Brain Releases the Same Love Hormone as Humans”

  1. Just with Jasmin and how every nite she cuddles up beside me in a ball, she never wants to just lay by herself and looks deeply into my eyes at times i just know she feels deep love. Even the other ones always want to be soo close. was reading an article on Facebook about how cats are very good how they help with serotonin levels the feel good emotions which i totally agree with.

  2. “close acquaintance, association, or familiarity” doesn’t even touch on what is there.
    It’s a communication that will take your breath away, that makes you want to clutch your chest, that gives you such a feeling of wellbeing that you wouldn’t care if you died at that moment.

    • I took Charlie to vet on Thursday (yesterday) and I always feel terribly anxious when I take him to the vet which as far as I am concerned is indicative of my love for him and cats in general. Almost nothing makes me more nervous than taking a cat to a vet! I think the nervousness is caused by a heightened concern for the welfare of my cat, which in turn is a reflection of my love for him.

  3. I may be inept at human love, but I know animal love. They’re easier to read and more honest than humans. It’s not complicated.

    When Restart walks across the counter to me to get her mouth kiss every morning and looks into my eyes for an eternity, I don’t need a scientific study to tell me that she loves and trusts me.

    • I may be inept at human love, but I know animal love.

      An interesting statement. Animals are easier to relate to intimately (meaning: close acquaintance, association, or familiarity). Is that what you mean?

    • I would like this sort of research and enlightenment to change the laws regarding companion animals so they are legally not possessions but living companions under the law with a whole new set of rights that goes with that legal status.

      • Exactly Michael! They are like domestic partners! Members of the family. I could have told you all of the above, just by watching. Have you noticed how you can just be watching them sleep, get filled with love, and they wake up instantly purring and returning the love. So sweet.

        • I could have told you all of the above, just by watching.

          I thought you might say that. And you are right. Good cat caretakers can see it in their cat’s behavior. We don’t need science. However, it is nice to receive scientific confirmation of what we believe through observation.


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