Thanks to a new research study published in Behavioral Processes in late March from Oregon State University, there’s scientific evidence that cats are nice. In fact, cats would rather interact with humans than eat food! Michael covered this a few days ago in a PoC article. I’m adding information, plus asking readers to give their opinion at the end.
Cognitive tests that had already been tried out on dogs and tortoises were used on the cats where it was learned
“Increasingly cat cognition research is providing evidence of their complex socio-cognitive and problem solving abilities. Nonetheless, it is still common belief that cats are not especially sociable or trainable. This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for.”
The test was conducted by taking a test group of 50 cats from people’s homes as well as from animal shelters has shown cats in a positive light. The cats were deprived of food, toys, and human companionship for a few hours. Researchers then offered the cats human socialization, food, and toys. It was determined that half of the cats preferred human socialization to toys or food, while 37 percent of the cats would rather eat.
The Behavioral Processes study (which is extremely limited without proper credentials to access) concluded
“While it has been suggested that cat sociality exists on a continuum, perhaps skewed toward independency,” the authors wrote, “we have found that 50% of cats tested preferred interaction with the social stimulus even though they had a direct choice between social interaction with a human and their other most preferred stimuli from the three other stimulus categories.”
Does this study show that cats love their human more than toys and more than food? Please read the comments by Albert and Sally that give us more insight into this topic. Albert says his cats are loyal by choice, not just genetics or habit. Sally questions the cats used in the study. What was their life like when they were pulled for the research? Would the test cats have chosen another cat over a human? Both commenters make valid points.
To me, the cats are more loyal than humans than humans are to each other, as cats appear to have their priorities in order.
How do YOU feel about this study? If your cat had been a part of this research project, do you believe food or human companionship would take priority? Sound off in the comments.
Information on study
- Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences, Oregon State University, 112 Withycombe Hall, 2921 Southwest Campus Way, Corvallis, OR, 97331, USA
- b Department of Psychology, Monmouth University, 142 Howard Hall, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ, 07764, USA
- Received 12 November 2016, Revised 13 March 2017, Accepted 21 March 2017, Available online 24 March 2017