Kittens are always adorable and even before the time we take them home we’re smitten. But amazingly, something else also happens: Kittens may believe we are their actual parents. Now doesn’t that just make you go “Awwwwww”?! Few things in this world are cuter than a kitten who’s snuzzled their way into your heart with lovey purrs and kitty cuddles.
Kittens Bond Quickly With Their Human Parents.
It turns out that kittens become attached to their new parents in a way that’s pretty similar to their furless counterparts — human babies.
At least that’s what researchers have recently discovered, The Independent reports. One caveat: All of the kittens studied by The University of Oregon researchers were older — between four to eight months old. All were placed in a group but analyzed one at a time.
Each kitten was placed in a room with their human parent, who spent a total of two minutes with them. Then the parent would leave and return after a couple of minutes. As soon as humom or dad came back, the kitten typically displayed a “reduced stress response,” and to the researchers, this meant most of the kittens had developed a “secure attachment style.”
But the researchers also divided the kittens into different attachment styles with the help of experts who are specialists in this area. The specialists used the same four categories typically used for judging attachment styles in human infants and dogs. Those categories are: secure, ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized.
What The Researchers Found:
The results of all this research, as published in the journal Current Biology, show that 64 percent of the kittens demonstrated a secure attachment style to their owners and became less stressed when reunited.
The remaining 36 percent were more insecure and didn’t seem to be affected emotionally when their caregivers left the room and returned. NOT all cats as people like to claim.
Of course, those of us who love our cats already also understand they love us in return. These bonds can be rooted deeply if we give our cats the respect and appreciation they deserve. And the researchers corroborate that, noting:
“The current data supports the hypothesis that cats show a similar capacity for the formation of secure and insecure attachments towards human caregivers previously demonstrated in children.”
Too many people believe cats are “cold” and “aloof” but this new research certainly contradicts this. And that’s not all, the researchers also say this bond remains permanent as kittens reach adulthood. They concluded that kittens are every bit as devoted to their human parents as dogs are. Meaning, of course, that dogs AND cats can be man’s best friend!
Like dogs, cats give us a great deal of comfort at the end of a long day.
This research is gratifying because it verifies what most of us who care for our feline children already understood. Because that bond we share with our cats has lasted for more than 10,000 years and is still growing deeper even today.
Successful pet parents know this is one job that keeps us busy but is very rewarding. It calls to us in a way that other things, other situations don’t. There is a sense of happiness in knowing we are providing our cats with lots of love, good nutrition, quality playtime, and the veterinary care they need. It’s a bond that will never break.
No matter our age.