The gatos Households generally do not see their owners as a focus of protection and security in the same way that dogs, according to an investigation.
The study carried out by specialists in animal behavior at the University of Lincoln, UK, shows that while dogs perceive their owners as a secure base, the relationship between people and their feline friends seems to be quite different.
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While it is increasingly recognized that cats are more social and more capable of relations shared than traditionally thought, this latest research shows that adult cats seem to be more autonomous – even in their social relationships – and not necessarily dependents from others to get a sense of the protection.
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The research, published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, was led by Professor Daniel Mills, a professor of behavioral veterinary medicine at the Lincoln School of Life Sciences.
Professor Mills said: “The house cat has recently surpassed dog What animal companion most popular in Europe, as many see the cat as mascot ideal for homeowners who work long hours. Previous research has suggested that some cats show signs of separation anxiety when left alone, in the same way that dogs are, but the results of our study show that they are actually much more independent than canine companions. It seems that what we interpret as separation anxiety it could actually be signs of frustration. ”
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The Lincoln researchers carefully adapted the Ainsworth Strange Situation Test (SST), which has been widely used to show that the bond between young children or dogs with their primary caregiver it can be categorized as a “secure attachment”, where the caregiver is viewed as a safety and security focus in potentially threatening (or unfamiliar) environments.
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The study looked at the relationship between cats and their owners, the placement of the domestic animals in an unfamiliar environment, together with his owner, with a stranger, and also on his own. In different settings, he evaluated three different attachment characteristics; the number of contacts the cat pursues, the level of passive behavior, and signs of distress caused by the owner’s absence.
“Although our cats were more vocal with the owner than with the stranger in leaving them with the other person, we did not see any additional evidence to suggest that the union between a cat and its owner was one of secure attachment. This vocalization could just be a sign of frustration or learned responseas other signs of attachment were not reliably observed. In strange situations, some individuals seek to be close to their caregiver, show signs of distress when separated, and show pleasure when attachment occurs, but these tendencies were not apparent during our research, “said Professor Mills.
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“For dogs, their owners often represent a specific safe haven. However, it is clear that domestic cats are much more autonomous in dealing with unusual situations. Our findings do not agree with the idea that domestic cats are cats develop social preferences, “he said.
The results of the study reveal that although cats may prefer to interact with their owner, they do not depend on them for reassurance when they are in an unfamiliar environment, and researchers believe this is due to the nature of the species, largely characterized as an independent and solitary hunter.