Sixty-five percent of cats and kittens are securely bonded to their people

Domestic cats are not born to love people and their default position with respect to other cats is to be suspicious of them. This is the nature of a solitary animal. I wonder, though, if this is entirely true after approximately 10,000 years of cat domestication. Perhaps the ability for domestic cats to love people is now somewhat inherited, a trait handed down from parent to kitten. I’m not sure. Also, domestic cats have learned to become quite sociable animals so this image of them as being entirely solitary like their wild cat forebears is not, today, entirely accurate.

Secure or inscure cat?

Secure or inscure cat?

Degree of attachment to humans

A study reported in the journal Current Biology on September 23, 2019 came to the conclusion that cats bond in a way that is surprisingly similar to infants. In humans, 65% of infants are securely attached to their caregiver. The same percentage applies to cats and kittens. They decided that about two thirds of cats and kittens are securely bonded to their human guardian.

The study was conducted as follows. They observed the reactions of a cat in an unusual environment when the caregiver had left the environment and returned. The cat or kitten spent two minutes in a “novel” (i.e. unusual or strange) room with their caregiver. The caregiver then removed themselves from the room for two minutes and then came back for a two minute reunion. The researchers observed the cats’ responses to seeing their caregiver again.

If the cat was securely attached to their owner, the response was relaxed and the cat was interactive with their owner. If the cat was insecure they engaged in excessive clinging or avoidance behaviours.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

The researchers argued that the domestic cat’s “social flexibility” has helped the success of this species in human homes. As mentioned above this is about the domestic cat becoming more sociable.

Comment: personally, I would have liked to have seen a higher percentage of cats responding positively in the research. Sixty-five percent, as far as I’m concerned, is quite a low figure. It means that about one third of domestic cats in homes are insecure and not bonded to their owner if this test reflects what is happening in practice.

Dr Bradshaw in his book Cat Sense reports that in 2011 a UK veterinary charity estimated that the quality of the environment of the average domestic cat in the UK scored only 64%. In multi-cat households the score is even lower. They also concluded that owners’ understanding of cat behaviour scored 66%.

It is difficult to come to a conclusion other than that there needs to be an improvement in the knowledge of cat owners on the subject of feline behaviour.

To return to the beginning, when a kitten born to a domestic mother cat enters the world, that creature is not born to love either animals of the same species nor humans with whom he or she will live. They have to learn that love through socialisation and interaction. It’s quite a tough starting point which requires quality input from the human caregiver to create a secure and loving bond.


Gabs in his fancy bed for the first time in 12 months

Give your cat the time they need to use a new product

This little episode in my life reminded me to be patient when buying a product for your cat. They sometimes ...
Read More
Chatterbox cat

Is your cat a chatterbox?

Talkative domestic cats are good. They improve the human-to-cat relationship. Cat owners want their cat to initiate an interaction with ...
Read More
Cats like bathrooms when occupied and used

Dog breeds that are good with cats?

I am going to go against the grain here and stick my neck out. It is the wrong starting point ...
Read More
Old male cat screams all the time when living in a one-bedroom apartment and the female owner is at the end of her tether

When it is time to admit failure and rehome your cat

There is a woman on the website who is completely at the end of her tether. She hates the ...
Read More
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *