How would you describe your relationship with your cat?
You know, beyond loving them with all your heart and thinking they are the best being in the entire world.
Scientists have revealed that there are five types of relationships commonly spotted between cats and their owners – so it’s likely you fall into one.
Researchers from the University of Lincoln interviewed 3,994 cat owners about how they interact with their pet, and how their pet interacts with them.
From this data, they were able to outline five types of relationships – and created a quiz to let you work out which one fits you and your cat best.
Professor Daniel Mills, animal behavioural specialist at the University of Lincoln, said: ‘Cats form close emotional relationships with humans, yet little is actually known about this.
‘As with any complex social relationship, the type of cat-owner bond is a product of the dynamic between both individuals involved, along with their certain personality features.
‘While many cats may be aloof, it seems that this is not as common as might be portrayed.
‘The wider sociability of the cat and owner expectations may be significant, and the owner’s level of emotional investment in the cat and the cat’s sociability appear to be particularly important in discriminating what type of relationship they have together.’
Shall we break down the different relationship types?
If your cat is super independent and solitary, you might have an open relationship.
Cats in this type of relationship relate well to other people and have some closeness with their owner, but don’t need to snuggle up on your lap or lick your face.
‘This cat has often come to depend on a very emotionally invested owner (the cat is very important to the owner, possibly seen as family or as a great friend),’ explains the study.
‘The owner typically plays regularly with the cat, and is seen as a part of the same social group (the cat behaves in a friendly way towards the owner, even regularly licking the owner’s hands and face) and as a secure base (the cat will seek the owner when worried).’
If you have a co-dependent relationship, your cat likely doesn’t engage well with strangers, and might even hide when someone enters the house.
They also like to be right by your side at all times, and might cry or not eat when you’re away.
This relationship is especially common among single people with one indoor cat.
Cats in a casual relationship with their owner prefer life outdoors to being cooped up inside.
While they’re perfectly friendly with you, they’re not bothered about spending time apart, and might visit other houses in the area – sometimes vanishing for days at a time.
This is what it sounds like. The owner is emotionally invested in the cat and will often play with them, and the cat is warm and friendly in return.
‘The owner is seen not only as part of the same social group (the cat will regularly lick the owner’s hands and face) but also as a secure base (someone to seek out for comfort when the cat is worried),’ says the research.
‘The cat relates well to others (will greet or inspect visitors coming to the house and possibly even visit some neighbours).
‘Alongside the friendly and warm relationship, cat and owner can happily function independently.
‘This cat likes to be near the owner but doesn’t feel a need to maintain physical proximity to the owner (doesn’t always follow the owner around the house and may even take him/herself away to a preferred location).
‘Separation is not likely to be problematic.
‘This relationship seems to occur more often in busy households with more than one cat, and the cats often have some outside access.’
If you and your cat have a remote relationship, you care for your cat, but don’t think of them as a member of your family or your best friend.
These cats prefer to keep a distance from people, and won’t seek out their owner even when worried.
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