Does Your Cat Love You? Here’s What the Science Says


Cat owners may find it preposterous that scientists even question whether cats truly love their humans. Those who have felt their cat affectionately rub against their leg, or looked into its understanding eyes, know the solace and comfort that felines can bring. Yet cats are as motivated by food and shelter as many humans, and there is an evolutionary advantage to them feigning interest in their masters in exchange for such things. Modern science allows us to peer into animals’ brains, yet to truly know the answer to such a question would require asking animals to verbalize their feelings directly — and except for a few rare instances, animals cannot speak human languages. One study in PLOS One suggests that cats are, at the very least, more independent than their canine counterparts. Animal behavior experts Alice Potter and Daniel Simon Mills wrote that “adult cats are typically quite autonomous, even in their social relationships, and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of security and safety.” Samantha Bell, a cat behavior expert at Best Friends Animal Society, noted that cats display their sentiments toward us in observable ways.

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