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Kitties have developed quite a reputation for being both mysterious and quirky. Scientists have typically had a hard time deciphering our feline pals’ behaviors and traits, in large part because Fluffy often refuses to cooperate in studies. However, some recent studies have revealed some interesting things about our mysterious feline friends. A local veterinarian discusses some key ones below.
One study of kitty behavior looked at whether cats prefer food to attention. The results were quite surprising! This study, which was done in 2017 by Oregon State University, tested both pet kitties and shelter cats. The cats were given a choice of what they wanted to do: eat, play, or hang out with humans. Most of the felines chose to interact with the humans. Food was the second choice.
We love to joke around about how cold and calculating cats are, but that really isn’t the case. A study done in 2019 showed that kitties really do bond with their humans. The study looked at 70 cats. First, they were put in a room with their owners for two minutes. They were then left by themselves for two minutes, after which their owners returned. The kitties showed behavioral clues that researchers classified as demonstrating ‘secure attachment’ to their owners. Of course, this is old news to anyone with an affectionate feline!
Another study, from 2019, monitored 78 kitties to see if they gave any reaction when their names were called. As researchers watched (and listened) the kitties’ owners said five words. One of the words was the kitty’s name, and the other four were just generic, similar-sounding words. In a variation, they had strangers say the same words. As it turned out, Fluffy did respond quite differently when she heard her name. (Of course, this also means that yes, your cat does sometimes deliberately ignore you when you call her.)
Did you know that people with kitties tend to have better mental health than people who don’t have feline pals? The affection, comfort, companionship, and, of course, live entertainment cats provide is actually very beneficial to us! Other benefits include better sleep, less anxiety, and lower hypertension. Fluffy may very well be the purrfect pet!
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