Cats Like Company

So says science:

The motivation for the study was to apply cognitive tests that have already be tried out on dogs and tortoises on cats, in order to clear up some misconceptions around cats’ bad reputation for being unsociable.

“Increasingly cat cognition research is providing evidence of their complex socio-cognitive and problem solving abilities,” the authors wrote in the paper. “Nonetheless, it is still common belief that cats are not especially sociable or trainable. This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for.”

The test took 50 cats both from people’s homes and from a shelter and deprived them of food, toys, and people for a few hours. Then, researchers presented the cats with different stimuli within four categories: human socialization, food, scent, and toys.

The researchers concluded that there were no significant differences between the homed and the shelter cats, and that most cats preferred human socialization to any of the other categories. Half of the cats preferred social interaction to every other stimulus type, while only 37 percent preferred food.

My daughter has become obsessed with cats. She draws them every day at school and plays with them at night. Her teacher is begging us to get her one on her behalf. Other than that my wife and I have allergies to some (though few) cats, the main concern we have is that she likes the idea of cats more than she would like an actual cat. She liked puppies until we got one.

Good to know that if we get one they’re not psychopaths, I guess.

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5 thoughts on “Cats Like Company

  1. I’m not a cat hater, but I’m very indifferent towards them and the litter box grosses me out. As Red Forman famously said, “Even if it’s the best cat in the world, you still have a box of crap in your house.” We still have our 18 year-old Siamese and while she keeps to herself and is a benign presence in our lives, she will definitely be our last cat. We’re dog people and adore ours.

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  2. Cats are wonderful animals.

    It may be a good thing is your daughter becomes at least a little more indifferent toward cats once you have one – cats love people, especially if they’re loved back, but they do need a bit of personal space.

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  3. I’ve had dogs growing up and cats as an adult and I love them both. Different animals and needs.I happen to think cats are cooler but I love the GF’s dog like my own. He’s a nut running around like a puppy at 8 years old. He’s a little big to cuddle with and my cat is a good size but both wake us up in the middle of the night, so there’s that. :)

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  4. It’s possible you may know folks who are fostering or raising kittens and would love to socialize them with some kids. I know when I had my baby ferals I was recruiting every 3-8 year old kid I knew to come visit at one point… and it’s really awkward to ask about “hey do you want your kid to come over and play with my kitten and possibly get scratched or bit but probably not and they really need to get used to children before they get adopted?” Whereas the people who asked ME, I was thrilled to invite over.

    So if you have a way of getting in touch with just locals (or don’t mind spamming your non-local fb friends with a request) to see if anyone is looking for kids to come visit their kitties, that might be a way of giving her some kitty time to see how interested she stays, without having to actually adopt a kitten? I know most petsmarts, etc, also have adoptable pets you can visit with any time but that is a much different situation and the cats are in cages etc etc. Less realistic?

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