New Study Confirms What You’ve Suspected All Along: Your Cat Really Doesn’t Give Two Shits About You

by • February 8, 2014 • Nature, ScienceComments (0)5142

The domesticated cat is one of the most beloved animals in the world, but how much love does your cat feel towards you?  Not too much, according to a comprehensive study from the University of Tokyo.  After eight months of study, researchers discovered that although cats can definitely understand their owners’ calls, the cats couldn’t care less, and almost always ignore them.

50% to 70% of cats turned their heads towards their owners when called, and 30% of the cats moved their ears when called — a typical reaction to any sound.  However, only 10% of cats respond to their owners’ calls by meowing or moving their tails.  The take-home lesson here is what you’ve suspected all along: your cat hears you loud and clear — he’s just ignoring you completely, that’s all.

Evolutionary biology is the primary reason why cats (as opposed to dogs) don’t give a shit about their owners.  The ancestor of the modern housecat was the Felis silvestris, a wildcat species that first came into contact with humans approximately 9,000 years ago.  As humans began to develop an agriculture-based civilization, these wildcats quickly moved in to prey on the rodents and other animals that nested in the crops.  In other words, as the authors of the study write, cats essentially “domesticated themselves.”

The authors add: “Historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans’ orders.  Rather, they seem to take the initiative in human–cat interaction.  While dogs were bred over thousands of years to respond to commands, cats never needed to learn to obey human orders.”

The study also discovered that although “dogs are perceived by their owners as being more affectionate than cats, dog owners and cat owners do not differ significantly in their reported attachment level to their pets.”  In a tongue-in-cheek conclusion to the paper, which was published in the journal Animal Cognition, the researchers still can’t figure out why cat lovers adore these bitchy animals so much.  The authors write: “The behavioral aspect of cats that cause their owners to become attached to them are still undetermined.”

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