You may have heard of the “human-animal bond,” but my colleague and friend Dr. Jane Bicks (who makes Life’s Abundance pet food) just posted a great summary of research on the bond between humans and cats; and more particularly, the unique bond between women and their cats. Fascinating!
One of the study’s authors, Dorothy Gracey of the University of Vienna, said, “A relationship between a cat and a human can involve mutual attraction, personality compatibility, ease of interaction, play, affection and social support… A human and a cat mutually develop complex ritualized interactions that show substantial mutual understanding of each other’s inclinations and preferences.”
The study showed that, while cats bond with both men and women, the bond with women more closely mirrored that between mother and child.
Dr. Jane commented, “Knowing that cats have a much shorter evolutionary history of living with humans than dogs makes these findings even more astounding! Is it possible that women who provide homes for many cats simply cannot help themselves? There are so many new questions! Obviously, this study only scratches the surface of the complexity found in human-cat relationships. So, the next time you interact with your cat, I challenge you to ask yourself who is really running the show.”
There’s little doubt in my mind who runs the show in my house… and it’s not me! How about you?
Dr. Jane’s full article, The Special Bond Between Cats and Women.
Reference: Wedl M, Bauer B, Gracey D, et al. Factors influencing the temporal patterns of dyadic behaviours and interactions between domestic cats and their owners. Behav Processes. 2011 Jan;86(1):58-67.