The bond that is created between a cat and its human guardian is something truly special, as anyone who shares or has shared their life with one of these domestic felines will know. Although it is true that, as a general rule, cats do not have as sociable and gregarious behavior as dogs or other mammals best family pets, they also develop a feeling of attachment to their human guardians and it is our responsibility to ensure that the relationship with our furry friend is healthy. and beneficial for both parties.
In this AnimalWised article we analyze what various studies say about the relationship between cats and humans and we give you some advice on how to create and strengthen the bond with your cat.
The bond between people and cats
Given the reputation that cats have as solitary and independent animals, few studies have been carried out on the links that are generated between these domestic felines and human beings. However, the data we have today reveals to us that cats are by no means detached or surly animals, as anyone who has lived with one or more of them will be able to corroborate, and who can establish very diverse links with humans.
A study published in 2021 by scientists from the University of Lincoln (United Kingdom) defined three main types of relationships that can be established between cats and people based, among other things, on the behavior shown by felines and the involvement emotional of their human guardians:
- According to this research, approximately a quarter of people who live with one or more cats have an ” open relationship ” with them, that is, they care about their well-being but offer a lot of freedom to the animal, allowing it in most cases to have access outside the homes. Cats that have this type of relationship with their guardians tend to be quite curious, sociable with strangers and affectionate with their family members, although they are not overly attached to them.
- For its part, another quarter of the population seems to have a low emotional involvement regarding the care of their cat or cats. These guardians spend little time playing or interacting with their animals, which, although they tend to be friendly towards them, are very independent and do not actively seek proximity or physical contact with humans.
- Finally, almost half of the cat guardians who participated in this study demonstrated a “codependent” relationship with their furry friends, becoming very emotionally involved with them and staying with them for most of the day. These cats show many affiliative behaviors towards their guardians, are more distrustful of the unknown and are more likely to suffer from stress or anxiety related to separation and loneliness.
How to create a bond with my cat?
As you have seen, the relationship that is created between a cat and its guardian depends on several factors, among which the level of involvement of the human stands out, their way of behaving with the animal and the time and effort invested in their education and care. , as well as the character of the cat, its genetic inheritance and its previous experiences. For example, adopting an adult cat that has lived on the street and has had traumatic experiences with humans is not the same as adopting a puppy that has spent its first weeks of life in a home with its mother and siblings. . Likewise, it is different to live with a Persian cat than with a Sphynx or to be a person who spends many or few hours away from home.
If you want to create a good bond with your cat, the first thing you should do is inform yourself well about the animal that you are considering adopting or that you already have at home: what are its physical and psychological needs? What type of care does it need? what do you know about his past? The answer to these and many other questions will lay the foundation for a good relationship, but don’t worry! A professional veterinarian or ethologist can help you with many of the questions you may have.
Once this is done, it is time to start building a positive bond with your furry friend. According to a study published in 2019 by Oregon State University  , cats establish attachment relationships with their guardians very similar to those that babies generate towards their parents. If the caregiver is involved in the feline’s well-being , understands and respects its language , covers all its physical, emotional and social needs, provides security and spends quality time with it, the cat will most likely develop a secure attachment to the cat. the tutor, enjoy his company and lean on him when you feel insecure. However, if the caregiver punishes or intimidates the cat, isolates it, overprotects it or does not respect its signals, the animal will most likely generate a type of insecure attachment, showing anxiety in social interactions and suffering health and/or emotional problems.