Ask any cat parent who rules the roost in their home and the answer will always be the same, the cat. Cats pride themselves on having their pet parents wrapped around their adorable fluffy paws. However, you are more than just a source of food to your cat. A study published late last year, Attachment bonds between domestic cats and humans, found that cats see their pet parents as a source of comfort and security, too. In other words, they do love you, even if they don’t show it. The research revealed that cats form attachments to their pet parents likened to those that dogs, and even babies, form with their caregivers.
Lead study author Kristyn Vital, a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon State University in the US, says most cats are looking to their pet parents to be a source of safety and security. Therefore, it’s important for cat parents to remember how their behaviour in a stressful situation can have a direct impact on their cat’s behaviour.
“These findings in many, but not all ways, debunk the myth that cats are standoffish and don’t feel a strong connection to their pet parents,” says Marycke Ackhurst pet behaviour expert at Hill’s Pet Nutrition. On the flip side, these new findings come hot on the heels of an earlier study done in Tokyo that found cats do in fact understand their own names — so if they don’t come when you call, they’re probably just ignoring you. “Case in point,” adds Ackhurst.
Speaking to this point, Abigail Tucker, author of The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World, says cats primed us to love them, partly because of their humanoid faces – those big eyes remind us of our own babies – and partly because they didn’t fear us as much as other animals did. Now, cats are a global obsession, especially online, where figures like the late Grumpy Cat have more followers (and earning potential) than many human celebrities. So, in many ways, cats rule us.
However, Tucker adds, cat parents take great pleasure from making their cats happy, even if it is more challenging. Finding their sweet spot, whether it be a toy, a treat, or a certain kind of scratching, brushing, or petting that brings on the contented sound of purring is deeply satisfying. Humans, bred to live in groups, are prone to want to please others, and what better challenge than a cat? And what do cat parents know pleases their cat more than anything in the world? Sleep. It makes them so happy. “Cats can sleep anywhere between 12 and 16 hours a day, with energy conservation being one of the main reasons for their extended sleep periods. This is where the term ‘cat nap’ originates. In addition to deep sleep, cats can doze off for brief moments at a time, lasting anywhere from five to 30 minutes, but remain on high alert for predators or prey – a biological impulse. If your cat has ever fallen asleep sitting up, she’s doing what she’s supposed to,” says Ackhurst.
It’s only natural then that a cat parent would go out of their way to find the perfect bed, cushion or spot for their ‘queen’ to rest her head. Just like us, cats want a warm, soft bed that’s going to provide them with hours of comfort and relaxation, preferably placed in the warmest part of the house during the day, think sun streaming through windows, and the cosiest part of the house at night. That’s why, from 18 August, you’ll receive a free Hill’s designer, luxurious cat bed to take home to your king or queen when you buy two bags of either Hill’s Feline Science Plan or Hill’s Feline Prescription Diet between 3kg and 7kg. *
Despite your cat’s lengthy sleep requirements, she is anything but lazy, explains Ackhurst. In fact, for the four to seven hours of the day your cat isn’t sleeping, cat parents should make sure their cat gets plenty of play and exercise. A rigorous play session is especially important in the evening, when your cat is hardwired to begin the ‘hunt.’ Provide your cat with some fun DIY toys such as an empty toilet roll and string or some feathers attached to a stick, and a durable scratching post to shred (another innate cat behaviour).
Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.