Scientific studies have proven it, living with pets is good for mental and physical health and this notably helps to boost the immune system, especially in children. But when we think of a pet, it is often the image of the dog, man’s faithful friend, that comes to mind. Are cats, sometimes reputed to be cold and only attracted by their bowl of kibble, as good for your health as dogs?
Researchers asked themselves the question: they wanted to check if the cat could show the same positive attachment to his master than the dog, by expressions of affection without judgment capable of comforting us.
To achieve this, they copied and pasted on the cats a classic experiment conducted with human babies : in the original study, a parent goes with his baby to a totally unknown room, which the baby will logically begin to explore. After a while, the parent is asked to leave the room for a minute or two. When he returns, the researchers then analyze the behavior of the baby:
- Either he has a positive attachment : he will go back to exploring the room with confidence.
- Either there is an attachment problem : this can go through an attitude of rejection towards the parent who has “abandoned” him, or he will start to cry very loudly, for the same reasons.
Transposed to cats, the experiment therefore studied felines and their relationship with their guardian. The researchers were thus able to determine the proportion of cats that have a positive attachment to their master or mistress. And the result may seem surprising: approximately 65% of cats show a positive attachment, the same proportion as for babies… and for dogs. Cats do indeed show, in any case according to this experience, an attachment to their master similar to that of a dog.