You might love Fluffy but, if new research is to be believed, Fluffy doesn’t love you.
Animal behaviour specialists at the University of Lincoln have found that cats don’t suffer from separation anxiety when their owners leave, and any noises of distress are more to do with frustration than loneliness.
The researchers adapted the Ainsworth Strange Situation Test, which has been widely used to demonstrate the bond dogs have to their primary carer, to be used with felines.
The results showed the bond between cat and carer was much less strong.
Veterinary behavioural medicine professor Daniel Mills says they “didn’t see any additional evidence to suggest that the bond between a cat and its owner is one of secure attachment.”
“Cats are much more independent, autonomous creatures in strange situations than dogs, for whom owners represent a specific safe haven.”
However, the study’s authors say it’s not that cats don't develop close relationships, but rather that they don't seem to be based on a need for safety and security.