How do you get a cat to willingly perform a social intelligence test? It's not as hard as you think! Cats are smart and intelligent! Cat parents know this though so many of the findings we talk about in this article will not be all that surprising.
When it comes to social cognition, cats and dogs were not studied for a long time. Cats can be difficult to work with in a lab setting. Many cats won't cooperate and they made it difficult to get through certain studies!
With that in mind, one university is taking this challenge on! Oregon State University is studying the social attachments cats have with their owners even though they may be difficult to study. Researchers say cats can pick up on the emotion of their human owners and that they are very tuned in on us.
Science Magazine tells us,
"After years when scientists largely ignored social intelligence in cats, labs studying feline social cognition have popped up around the globe, and a small but growing number of studies is showing that cats match dogs in many tests of social smarts. The work could transform the widespread image of cats as aloof or untamed. It also may eventually offer insight into how domestication transformed wild animals into our best friends, and even hint at how the human mind itself changed over the course of evolution."
Is this a movement for cats? Or will this be a niche area for researchers moving forward? Watch this quick video that summarizes some of the latest studies being done.
We need to find more ways to successfully study cats.
Here are past and present findings from studies that cats happily participated in!
- In 2017, Oregon State University showed that cats preferred interacting with people over food and toys.
- Recent studies reported that cats spend more time with humans who pay attention to them--such as by clicking at them and calling their name.
- New research suggests cats are more socially bonded to humans than many people had suspected.
Science Magazine also explains after an interview with the research team at Oregon State University, that they hope these studies will ultimately help shelter animals,
"Vitale hopes the new findings will help workers make shelter cats more adoptable--they often lack the social skills of their house cat counterparts--and lead to improved ways to calm separation anxiety and other social disorders in felines."
Cat owners know their companion animals provide immense health benefits and this research shows what they already know is true! Many cats interact with their owners similar to dogs. They have solid social relationships with their cats and its evident that felines need human interaction to be happy. Human relationships are extremely important to our feline friends!
Do you think your cat understands what you're saying? Leave a comment below!