Stereotypes die hard! People still believe cats are aloof, jerks, and antisocial. But research from over a year ago proves that not only do cats really like humans, some of them even like humans more than food!
The study from Oregon State University took 50 cats, both with homes and from shelters, and had them go without food, cat toys, and humans for a few hours. At the end of the time period, the cats were presented with all these and their responses recorded. And many of you (unlike me) will be surprised to learn that a majority of cats (50%) favored human interaction above toys and even food! Food did come in second, at 37%, but that’s still quite a big lead for humans. And what’s more, the results were the same for both shelter cats and cats with homes.
Of course I love food, and it makes me easy to train, but honestly, the big perk of our sessions is spending time with my human. And when I go on therapy cat visits, I’ll approach most nearby humans… and they almost never have food. Because I’m friendly, people think I’m unusual. But it is way more likely that they are just underestimating other cats they’ve encountered.
The thing is, cats respond to what you offer them. If they sense hesitancy, doubt or nervousness, they respond in kind. If that is the behavior they are presented with over a period of time, it becomes their nature to be suspicious of humans. Unless they are raised feral, cats aren’t naturally afraid of humans.
It’s not really cats that need an attitude adjustment — it’s humans. We’d like you guys just fine if you stopped treating us like we don’t like you! I would love to see more humans interact with cats in a more easygoing, friendly manner. You can do that and still be within the rules of kitty etiquette.
I really hope you guys take my words to heart and learn to better understand us kitties. Now where are my treats?
Julie McDonough says
The study just proved what we cat lovers already know Summer.
Lesley Castle says
Kitties use humans as a means to an end….and I love it!
Wonderful public service announcement – thank you!
I love spending time with cats. My cats, other people’s cats, it is all good. I agree that if people think and act like cats won’t like them, well, that is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I play with my kitties all the time and we all have fun. I’ve been trying to work on a sort of agility course in the house.
Catherine Lingg says
Summer, my first word was cat. I have loved, no adored cats my entire life. I speak cat, I feel their feelings and even their pain. I have rescued every kitty possible my whole life and now I am proud to be a part of a real organization dedicated to saving kitties. I truly believe if I had my DNA tested it would come back part feline
Gosh! Us cats could have told everybody that without the research!
Even the feral that lives by the cranberry field comes out and talks to Mom (even though he won’t let her touch him).
Sue Brandes says
Very interesting study.
Dalton/Angel-MrJackFreckles/Pipo & Angel-Minko says
Some of the kitties that we had in the past would come up to us when we came home from long or short absences and make all kinds of remarks to us…we said they were telling us its about time you got back, cause we(I), needed you! Then they would go and check to see if we were going to fill up their bowls. MOL!
I have noticed that peeps who do not want a kitty to be close to them or on them often attract them quite quickly much to their chagrin. They are not scared of them, just not interested.
CRAIG S. C. OKAJIMA says
When I come home after a long time out, my Sydney often jumps up on the table to rub me! And, she tilts her head, like you are doing in the first picture! Very cute!!
Yes I believe that too Summer ! When I come back from holidays, Rosie ignores me for at least a day ! Arthur comes immediately and is happy that he has a second servant again !
if you have time read this about Arthur : https://gattinawritercramps.blogspot.com/2018/09/arthur-cat-with-lot-of-potential_29.html
This is certainly true here, Summer! Gracie and Ava greet us whenever we come home, and the interaction always seems more important than the food (that comes later).
Ellen Pilch says
No research needed, I knew they loved humans 🙂 Most of mine want to be in the same room with me even when food isn’t involved 🙂
Spitty the Kitty says
Okay, I believe you, Summer. But I like ONE Human–the others, not so much. And honestly, I don’t like the ONE all the time. Okay, MOST of the time I do. To be fair, almost all her other kitties have liked people, though. I’m the odd one out.
Melissa & Mudpie says
Humans are definitely the ones who need attitude adjustments!
Katie Isabella says
Summer…thank you. I know that most humans need to stop taking the always wrong info out there —and the stupid jokes about cats, and learn about the animal they are disliking. My cat Katie loves me with all her heart. She is reflecting the love back to me that she receives each day. If people could see her interactions with me they would change their misinformed minds.
Toby and Leia says
We aren’t surprised, of course. Often when mom comes home we’d rather snuggle with her instead of hitting up the buffet right away.
Cathy Keisha says
TW is sure I hate her but she still comes over with confidence to try to get in my face. I return the favor by biting her. Then she’s all like “I can’t even pet my own cat.” Wah!
Cathy Keisha says
BTW, when Pop comes home after I haven’t seen him all day, I go right to my food and eat.
Emma and Buster says
Great post Summer and for the record, we love love treats!
Madi and Mom says
Of course kitties love their humans….and their humans love them
I agree itâ€™s humans who need attitude adjustment! If they donâ€™t like humans, itâ€™s likely the reflection of how they were treated.
Lola The Rescued cat says
What a pawtastic study! You could be the poster cat for that study, Summer. Everyone knows how much Lexy loves food. But when our Mom comes home she’d rather have time with her than treats.
Purrjamm Cats says
We love your October calendar pic! It’s super funny! Purrs
Purrjamm Cats says
We may be labeled as “independent” but we love and need our human parents. We prefer to be around them too. We definitely are not solitary animals. No way! We love pampering, and mom and dad love pampering us. Trust of course is extremely important in any relationship. Mom and dad love us “kneady kitties”. Purrs
Charles Huss says
This was a dumb study. It is like the study that spent $200,000 to prove that young, rich, healthy people were happier than poor, old, sick people. Just about everyone with cats knows that cats like humans, or at least one human.
Memories of Eric and Flynn says
That was interesting, but I am not at all surprised that cats like human company.
When my mother in law died and we took on her cats they would follow me everywhere. I would go up into the orchard to feed the chickens and there wouldn’t be a cat in sight. By the time I had done it I would look around and have at least 8 following me. They would come all the way with me as I did the rounds.
Eastside Cats says
What an interesting report, Summer.
Colehaus Cats says
Some might say cats prefer humans only because humans have thumbs and can open cans of food. We tend to believe those people would probably prefer to sit on their thumbs because clearly, they are not cat people. And we bet cats respond in kind to them. MOL!
random felines says
that is so true….we hate that cats still get such a bad reputation. Chanel greets mom every day when she comes home from work (Daiquiri does too – but then runs to the back room looking for a meal – haha)
i know a certain cat who loves his food more than he loves me. but that’s ok.
I’ve always hated that assumption that cats are aloof – I’ve lived with cats for 50 years now and I never lived with a cat who was aloof! I’ve always lived with velcro cats!
It is interesting to see cats who sense whether they are “welcome” to approach humans or not…..they really do have excellent radar about who is open to them and who isn’t particularly so. But the very cool thing is they TRY and that proves they have “friendly radar” !!
The Island Cat says
Of course we like humans. They’re the ones that dish out the food and treats for us. 😉
Brian Frum says
We totally believe that too sweet Summer and we also believe that there are lots of humans who need an attitude adjustment MOL!
Margaret Elmendorf says
I also think that is very true. I am helping spay and neuter a bunch of feral cats and then returning them to their outside home and one of them came up to me like she was glad to see me. You just have to get the cat to trust you.
I totally agree with this assessment of the relationship between us and humans. I’ve got it made here because mom and dad can’t help but adore me. They talk to me, play with me, cuddle with me and, yes, scold me, like a human. It was funny- when dad returned from Wilmington and told mom about my doppelganger he said the only difference was that this other Tortie was a lot friendlier than me. Boy oh boy, did mom give him the what’s what!
Mickey's Musings says
While mum has never tried this experiment, we do love her and want to be near her.
Julie loves her the most wanting to be near her all the time especially the bathroom.
Julie runs in there everytime mum goes in and she gets her belly rubs in there too 😉
Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ
The kitties of purring pines says
Just give us treats at this house….
Fur Everywhere says
I assume that most cats will like me, and there aren’t many who don’t! 🙂 Maybe most cats like me because they know I love them and think they’re the best. 😉