Among domesticated animals, cats get a bad rap for being aloof—especially when compared to the sociable, attention-craving dog. But now a new study shows that cat lovers aren't imagining things; our feline friends really do like humans, after all.
According to a study by Oregon State University that was published last week in Behavioural Processes, cats prefer people more than toys or food.
The scientists took both pets with owners and shelter cats and isolated them for several hours, and then reintroduced the animals to toys, food, people, and scents, and recorded how much time the cats spent interacting with each. Turns out, cats chose people more often than anything else, with kibble coming in second.
The researchers do note that "there was clear individual variability in cat preference," but "social interaction with humans was the most-preferred stimulus category for the majority of cats... in both the pet and shelter population."
This means that while certain cats may not like you, it's probably safe to say yours loves you more than lunch. Though, if you have one of the 37% of cats that prefer food, perhaps it's time to dish out dinner: According to the New York Times, today is Respect Your Cat Day.
Some additional ways to respect your cat include finding out your feline's prey preference and buying corresponding toys, and creating a refuge, a cat-only zone your furry friend can escape to when things get stressful.
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