Unlike dogs, cats do not need their owners to feel secure and safe, suggests a latest study. According to a team of animal behavior specialists at the University of Lincoln, U.K., domestic cats do not perceive their owners as their center of safety; however, dogs feel the opposite.
According to the new study published in the journal PLOS One, cats prefer to look after themselves, instead of relying on their owners. While feline and canine owners feel nervous to have left their pets behind at home, who will eventually be waiting for their return, the recent study suggests that cats show no sign of separation anxiety.
However, the researchers say that there is nothing that the owners should worry about. The animal behaviorists say that if a cat stick around their owner's house, then that means that they really want to live or stay there.
“Previous research has suggested that some cats show signs of separation anxiety when left alone by their owners, in the same way that dogs do, but the results of our study show that they are in fact much more independent than canine companions,” said study co-author Daniel Mills, in a statement. “It seems that what we interpret as separation anxiety might actually be signs of frustration.”
During the study, the researchers studied the behavior of 20 cats that were placed in an unknown environment with their owners, a stranger or on their own. The team took a note of the amount of distress and passive behavior shown by the cat under each scenario.
The researchers found that even though cats were more vocal when they were placed with their owner rather than a stranger, that does not simply mean that the bond between them and their owner is a secure one. The team assumed vocalization to be a sign of frustration since no other signs of attachment were observed.
“For pet dogs, their owners often represent a specific safe haven; however, it is clear that domestic cats are much more autonomous when it comes to coping with unusual situations,” the researchers concluded.
Cat expert Celia Haddon said that the study results actually mean a compliment for the cat owner. According to Haddon, if a cat is not happy at a particular home, it will just walk away. Cats do not depend on other cats or their owners for protection, but that does not mean that they do not want to be around their owners.