Mindful Monday – My Cat Loves Me—She Loves Me Not

Does your cat truly love you—does she really care?

There’s a lot of controversy around the emotions of the “ordinary housecat”. They’re aloof, yet they adore human contact; they’re indifferent, but they might actually be capable of a feeling similar to love; they’re independent, and they need and want our companionship. Is your cat uncaring or does she actually love you? If you’re like most, you see both sides of your cat’s purr-sonality. Cats, as all “owners” know are multi-faceted and fascinating beings.

But are they capable of feeling deep emotion? Well, there’s a new study out on this very topic. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that additional research is required to more fully understand the emotions of a domestic cat. (Frankly, I believe we can study cats for eons and never thoroughly understand them.)

Preliminarily, the consensus of researchers at Oregon State University is that cats are definitely capable of having a deeply emotional relationship with their “owners.” The team of researchers found evidence suggesting that cats form unique, complex, and deep emotional relationships. Isn’t that music to our ears? This is what cat lovers believe. To have it verified through scientific studies makes my day!

So how did researchers come to this conclusion? Believe it or not, they administered an attachment test historically used on primates and dogs. They put 70 kittens in a room with a caregiver for two minutes, then left the kittens alone for two minutes before reuniting them with the caregiver. More than 60 percent of the kittens displayed, they say, a “secure attachment style.” This means the kittens demonstrated attachment and a sense of feeling secure when the caregiver returned. Thirty percent of the kittens didn’t display this attachment and remained stressed.

As I said, they don’t feel they are finished with their research in this area. They’ve determined that a cat’s emotional development is more complex than they had guessed and there is more work to be done in order to fully understand “these multifaceted animals.”

I think cats like it that way—they are and probably always will remain just mysterious enough to continue keeping us on our toes. They’re not going to reveal all of their secrets. They won’t become vulnerable that way. They’ll keep us guessing. It’s their super power.

Here’s more information about that study: https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/cats-children-and-dogs-develop-attachments-their-caregivers-study-shows

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