The myth that cats are aloof and only hang around their paw-rents for easy meals can finally be debunked. An experiment carried out by researchers at Oregon State University and Monmouth University proved that our feline friends might actually prefer interacting with humans over other stimulants like scents, toys and even food.
A total of 38 furry cats were used in the study published by Science Direct. Nineteen cats were from existing homes and the other 19 from shelters. If a cat liked an item, it would approach the item first as well as spend a longer time interacting with the object.
These were the criteria that the researchers used to determine which stimulant the cats liked the best. The felines’ favourite stimulant would hence be the object that was visited first the most and that they spent the longest time with.
Prior to carrying out the test, each cat was isolated for two and a half hours. The felines were randomly given three out of the four stimulants (human interaction, food, scents and toys) to interact with.
By giving the cats a random combination of items each time, the end result was proven to be more accurate since the most popular choice among them remained constant regardless of what stimulants were placed in front of the animal.
Social interaction with humans was the obvious pick for the cats, where half of them chose interacting with people over all of the other stimulants. On average, the affectionate felines spent about 65 percent of their time interacting with the humans during the test, regardless of whether the cat was from a shelter or lived in a home with paw-rents.
So, now we have a better understanding as to what cats like and don’t like – despite how they might actually behave around us.
* This article was updated on 14 July 2020. It first appeared in Pets Magazine, 10 April 2017.