Empirical Evidence: Cats Love People


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Any cat owner will tell you: cats hold humans in contempt. Oh sure, they pretend to like you, rubbing around your legs and purring until you produce the food bowl. But as soon as mealtime is over, they go right back to normal mode — sneering condescension.

But what if you learned that you’re wrong and that given a choice, cats will pick human companionship over toys, food and appealing smells? That’s exactly what three researchers have discovered, and they have the charts and numbers to prove it.

Researchers at Oregon State University offered 38 cats a choice between food, a toy, an interesting smell (catnip, a gerbil) and attention from a human.

Thirty-seven percent preferred food to anything else. Eleven percent liked toys, and one cat was preoccupied with the smells of catnip and gerbils.

But 19 of them — half! — preferred the company of humans above all, choosing them over other entertainment possibilities.

So cats are not haughty and aloof. They’re affable, affectionate and selfless. They love you for yourself alone, and not for your skill with a can opener. Yeah, right.

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