Cats like human interaction more than food

Cats like people even more than kitty kibbles.

Yes, that's right fellow cat mums (and dads), they actually love us.

"While it has been suggested that cat sociality exists on a continuum, perhaps skewed toward independency, we have found that 50 percent of cats tested preferred interaction with the social stimulus", researchers say.

So, what does that mean? The researchers noted that owners could use their cat's preference as some kind of reinforcer or enrichment items if they want to train their cats. Well, maybe not quite as much as you, but they're still pretty darn thrilled when you give them a little loving attention.

The study, published in the journal Behavioural Processes, said that while it is commonly believed that cats are not especially sociable or trainable, new cat cognition research is providing evidence of their "complex socio-cognitive and problem solving abilities". When they were released from their isolations, they were given foods, toys, scent, and human beings as stimuli.

Despite their well-earned reputation for being the less friendly house pet, scientists have proven that cats, in fact, do love their humans.

Different cats had different preferences, however social interaction with humans came up as a clear favourite for the majority of them, followed by food. Given the choice between humans and food, the cats tested preferred to socialize with humans rather than eat. When they finally reintroduced the cats to all those things, guess what cats chose first? This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for'.

Researchers from Oregon State University and Monmouth University said that cats are guided by their mood at the time of the study, life experiences, and genetic mechanisms.

There was no difference between the household cats and the shelter cats regarding the number of individuals preferring stimuli within each category or in the number of cats preferring each stimulus category in the final comparison.

  • Joanne Flowers