Compared to dogs, cats have a reputation for being independent and indifferent. For example, they don’t avoid people who bother their owners. At least that’s what a new study published in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition claims.
It was directed by researchers from the University of Tokyo in Japan, so it is likely to be a heavy blow to feline creature lovers. On the other hand, dog owners can be pleased that their pet is loyal and helps relieve stress.
An experiment with 36 cats
In fact, at the origin of this new research on cats, the Japanese researchers had already published another on dogs. In their previous work, they have shown that our dog friends tend to avoid humans misbehaving with their owners. For the new study, 36 cats (13 house cats and 23 people living in cat bars) were tested to assess their loyalty to their owners. The conditions of the experiment were similar to those applied to the dogs.
Two categories for better assessment
The study population was divided into two categories: “Supervisor” and “Non-Supervisor”. The cats then watched their owner try unsuccessfully to open a transparent container and take out an object. In the group of “supervisors”, help was sought from someone who was sitting nearby.
Social assessment skills that are inferior to the dog’s? Photo credit: Shutterstock / Real Moment
She acted like a friend of the owner. In the “non-carer” category, the third party refused to help the owner. For comparison, a third person remained seated in both scenarios without doing anything.
Social assessment skills that are inferior to the dog’s?
After the small staging, the actor and the neutral in each essay offered the cat something to eat. After several attempts, the researchers found that the cats did not care who they took the food from.
Note that in the experiment conducted with the dogs, most preferred not to ingest food from people who had not helped their owners. Does this mean cats are selfish compared to dogs? Not really, if we are to believe the study’s authors, “It is possible that the cats in this study failed to understand the meaning or purpose of the owners’ behavior.”
“We believe that cats, at least in this situation, may not have the same social assessment skills as dogs. Unlike the latter, they were not chosen to work with people, ”the authors concluded.