Science discovers that cats prefer human companionship over food


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News you can use: A new study has found that cats will choose human companionship over food if given a choice.

The researchers took 50 cats from shelters and peoples homes and deprived them of food, human contact, scent and toys for a few hours. They then introduced them to stimuli within these four categories to see what they chose.

Most cats chose human socialisation over any of the other categories.

From my perspective, what is even more important is that cats don’t choose those humans nonchalantly. Every cat lover knows that, unlike dogs, cats pick carefully whom they will love. But if they love you they show it.

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15 comments

  • LocalFluff

    Because they know humans give them all of the above.

  • Garry

    I second what LocalFluff wrote.

    This experiment reminds me of how I start every day: the second either I or my wife stirs in the slightest, even if we don’t wake up, our cat scratches our door and meows VERY loudly. She might stop after 10 minutes or so if we are perfectly still and quiet, but will resume as soon as she hears a yawn, a shift in position, etc.

    When one of us comes out of the room, she runs in front of us and meows VERY impatiently until she gets her food. When she’s done eating she ignores us for a few hours.

    I miss the days when the cat could eat dry food; we would just leave her bowl filled all the time and she would leave us alone.

  • Tim

    Dogs have family. Cats have staff.

  • Cotour

    About 20 years ago while locking up I went out the side door into the alley to enter the rear of my building, and sitting nice as you please was small female tabby cat looking up at me. I looked down, not thinking, I gently shooed her away and thought nothing more of it. The next night at the same exact time I was going through the same procedure and once again this little tabby cat was waiting for me sitting in the same exact spot. But this time I stopped and looked at her, she did not move, and I reached down to pet her and thought “I guess the store can have a cat”. So I picked her up and thought that I had made a decision.

    I named her Annabelle and she was the gentlest and sweetest little cat, maybe she weighed 8 pounds. But as time went on I noticed that Annabelle ate a lot and she was putting on the ounces to the point where she began to look like a little foot ball. It was at that point that I understood that I had not made a decision, I was given an opportunity to give a beautiful little tabby cat and her four kittens a home. She chose me long before I chose her.

    To shorten the story I found good homes for two of her kittens and I wound up keeping two. Each one of them had their unique personalities and places where they liked to sleep in my bed, on my head, on my covers between my legs (grrrr), etc, etc. She would do the most amazing thing, I had a tree outside that dropped large leaves with long stems that when they dried up and curled they came to resemble a mouse with the stem serving as the tail. She would constantly bring these curled up leaves to me, drop them at my feet, look up at me and meow. In time I realized that they were her version of giving me a present of a mouse. Sweet, made me smile.

    She died about two years ago of a hyper thyroid which is a wasting disease, its like their throttle is running wide open and you can not dial it down. About a year ago she was followed by one of her sons, Louie, who had the same affliction, and I have the second son still, his name is, Not Louie. He is the winner of the DNA roulette that we all play, he is not afflicted with hyper thyroid, is perfectly healthy and is now about 19 years old and has the place all to himself. Things are just like he always wanted it.

    Cats are more solitary than dogs but they definitely want socialization and need companionship and they do consciously make choices, nothing nonchalant about it. And that’s my cat story supporting the study.

  • wodun

    Every cat lover knows that, unlike dogs, cats pick carefully whom they will love.

    If you don’t treat a dog well, it wont love or respect you. Cats aren’t any pickier than any other creature. I’ve always got along with dogs and cats and known many dog and cat people. I’ve never noticed a superiority between one or the other in terms of caring for their animals but different lifestyles do suit some people to one or the other.

  • Garry

    I don’t know that cats are any pickier than dogs long term, but cats tend to keep their distance initially, whereas (some) dogs give the benefit of the doubt and will love and trust you until you give them a reason not to.

    Our current cat was an extreme case; she had been abused by a previous (male) owner, and when we took her home she immediately fled to the bathroom cupboards, where she stayed for 3 days before slowly venturing out. It was a good 4 years before she warmed up to me, or to any other male.

  • I wonder who paid this research? Government?

  • Edward

    I’ve had cats that preferred to be in the room that I was in. If I moved to another room, the cat would come in a little later.

    They also liked to chose to sleep in the chair in which I tended to sit. It made using the computer a little difficult, as the computer chair becomes preferred by both of us, and the cat makes sure he gets there first. Swapping chairs irritates the cat.

    Then there is the lap nap.

  • Keith

    We have had a number of cats over the years, most of them have been pure breed rescues. I think that the level of affection a cat shows to either humans or other cats is mostly dependent on their experiences as young kittens. Those that were well treated by humans are trusting and affectionate. Those that have been poorly treated are stand offish and sometimes aggressive.

  • Steve Earle

    Cotour, great story, reminds me of some of the shelter cats I’ve taken in over the years and that have all passed on now. I still miss Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Mr. Bill, Bob-the-cat, Boxy, and Jackson. Each with his or her own personality and now each with their own little piece of the backyard.

    What’s most amazing to me is that there is a thread on the Internet about Cats that has 10 comments and not one Cat-video yet!?!? ;-)

  • wayne

    Steve–
    “Each with his or her own personality and now each with their own little piece of the backyard.”
    –That, is so true. (sad, but true.)

    Cats and Dogs
    Short essay;
    “Leaves,” #1 (Summer 1937), 25–34
    H. P. Lovecraft
    http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/essays/cd.aspx

  • Edward

    Steve,
    Keep in mind that each cat has three names:
    https://allpoetry.com/The-Naming-Of-Cats

    Would this count as a cat video?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sax6J8n1AiE (2 minutes, “Logan’s Run” Peter Ustinov and the three names of cats)

    I have long been convinced that the internet was invented by cats in order for them to post their videos.

  • wayne

    Edward–
    Good job!

    I was eyeing that Logan’s Run clip myself (for a considerable time!), but went with the obscure H.P. Lovecraft mini-essay.

  • Steve Earle

    Edward said:

    “…Would this count as a cat video?…”

    Yes it would! Great clip, I had forgotten about that part with all the cats in Logan’s Run (an underappreciated classic).

    I could think of worse ways to live out my Post-Apocalyptic life…. :-)

  • wayne

    Steve–
    And if you recall– he (Ustinov) was living in the ruins of Congress.

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