Cats are perceived as independent animals that do not care about human beings, leading many people to think that felines are not sociable. Cats are also known to love food, but findings of a new study show that these felines actually love human company more, dispelling the belief that cats are antisocial animals.
Researchers of the new study, which was published in the journal Behavioural Processes on March 24, found that most cats would prefer interaction with humans over food after being deprived of food, toys, scents, and human social interaction for a few hours.
The study shows that contrary to popular belief, cats prefer hanging out with humans than getting down with a bowl of food.
"Although there was clear individual variability in cat preference, social interaction with humans was the most-preferred stimulus category for the majority of cats, followed by food. This was true for cats in both the pet and shelter population," Kristyn Vitale Shreve, from the Oregon State University, and colleagues wrote in their study.
Although cats enjoy human company, it is possible that pet owners cannot just tell that their kittens like them and enjoy hanging out with them. So what are some of the signs that can indicate that your pet cat actually likes you?
The cat's tail can serve as a good barometer to know how a cat feels about you. Kittens express their warm feelings and happiness by fluffing out the base of their tail while quivering it. Cats also simultaneously hold their tails upright with a slight curve at the top when they feel good.
Bringing You Presents
It may seem gross to find your pet cat bringing you dead animals but it actually sees this gesture as a way of showing love. Cats bring you presents such as toys or dead animals if they like you. Just like humans, these animals bring gifts to those that they like.
"Cats love with gifting. Mighty hunter cats that catch everything from toys to bugs, mice or frogs, often share the bounty with those they love. Kitties who present you with this bounty deserve praise," certified animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai explained. "They wouldn't bring these special gifts if they didn't love you."
Head butting, or head bunting, is a way for cats to exchange scents so that everyone around their environment smells the same. These animals secrete pheromones from glands on the cheeks and heads, so when they rub their face or head against you, they actually mark you with their scent. Experts said that this behavior is a form of bonding for these animals.
"When cats head bunt they're creating a communal scent in a free-roaming universe. Cats recognize each other by scent first and foremost," said cat behavior Pam Johnson-Bennett, who has written books on the behavior of cats.
Experts believe that cats knead when they feel happy or content, possibly because they associate the motion with comforts of nursing from their mother. During nursing, young cats knead around their mother's teat to promote the flow of milk.