You have no doubts that your cat is attached to you – just already thanks to the fact that you feed them and provide them with a home where they feel safe. But does he really love you as we humans understand it, that is, does he feel love for you, as a child might feel for his parent for example? The answer in this article !
Cats with a bad reputation
First and foremost, cats have built a solid reputation. Indeed, they are considered as independent animals, even distant. And especially opportunists. Some even go so far as to think that humans are only a means for them to achieve their ends.
In reality, this vision of our feline friends has nothing to do with reality. And for good reason, even if they are not used to showing their affection excessively, as dogs do for example, they do feel a strong attachment to their humans . And even love.
What does science say?
Proof of this is a study measured oxytocin levels in cats after they played with their owners. As a reminder, oxytocin is a hormone known as the “love hormone”. Also present in humans, it plays a particularly important role during childbirth, breastfeeding or even during mother-child attachment.
But back to our study. Blood samples, intended to measure the levels of oxytocin in the cats participating in the experiment, were taken a few minutes before the moment of play and then immediately after. And the results are astounding. This is because feline oxytocin levels increased 12% after time spent with their humans. The conclusion is therefore clear: cats do feel love, at least when playing with their owners.
Do cats love us less than dogs?
The study in question carried out the same experiment with dogs in order to also verify the links that bind them to humans. And there, surprise! Oxytocin levels in dogs increased an average of 57% after playing with their owners. That is five times more than cats. A higher increase which therefore suggests that dogs would feel more “love” than cats when playing with their humans.
But beware, these words need to be qualified. Indeed, as underlined, at the origin of the study, cats are primarily territorial animals. However, the place where they were tested was unknown to them, which probably caused more stress than for dogs, which are naturally more sociable animals. Thus, he is convinced that oxytocin levels in cats would have been higher if the experiment had been carried out in them , in their environment.