Cat owners like to call themselves the mom and dad of the cat they are taking care of. Although pet cats usually seem like they are not impressed by people, even their caretakers, a recent research experiment shows that cats form emotional attachments to their caregivers, and might even consider them as their parents.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology by researchers at Oregon State University in the U.S., monitored kittens' reactions to their owners. Each owner spent two minutes with their kitten, after which they left the room for two minutes, and then returned for a two-minute reunion. The behavior of 70 kittens was monitored throughout. The results reveal that 64% of the animals appeared less stressed during the reunion with their owner than during the separation and, during the reunion, showed a balance of roaming around and being in contact with their owner — a response the team say is evidence of secure attachment. In fact, the study revealed that cats reacted in one of three ways to the return of their owner during the test. Secure cats greet their owner and then return to relaxed play and exploration (known as the Secure Base Effect), while insecure cats do not return to relaxed behavior and either excessively cling to their owner (insecure-ambivalence) or avoid their owner (insecure-avoidance).
Since cats form a special bond with their owners similar to the one human babies form with their parents, surely your cat has a special bond with you too - just in its own, not always apparent, way.
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