Cats are more independent than dogs, according to new university research

A study by the University of Lincoln has found that cats are most definitely more independent than dogs, Liam O’Dell reports.

The research, conducted alongside the RSPCA’s Companion Animals Science Group, reveals that cats are more independent than their waggy-tailed counterparts in relationships with their owners.

Rodriguez Sosa (via Flickr)

Dogs rely on humans for their sense of security, University of Lincoln research has found (Photo: Rodriguez Sosa, via Flickr)

The study, led by Professor Daniel Mills and University of Lincoln postgraduate Alice Potter, found that while dogs see humans as a ‘specific safe haven’, cats do not rely on them for security.

As part of the study, researchers used an adaptation of the Ainsworth Strange Situation test – which looks for a bond between children or pets with their caregiver – to see if any of the cats had a ‘secure attachment’ to their owners.

Professor Mills, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, said that this was determined on the cats vocalisation (or lack thereof).

He said: “Although the cats were more vocal when the owner, rather than the stranger, left them with the other individual, we did not see any additional evidence to suggest that the bond between a cat and its owner is one of secure attachment.”

“This vocalisation might simply be a sign of frustration or learned response, since no other signs of attachment were reliably seen.”

With the research suggesting that cats are actually very dominant when compared to their four-legged companions, the study has received mixed responses from university students.

Chelsea Everett, an upcoming journalism student, said: “I would say [my cat] is a mixture of the two. He is clingy when it comes to meal times, but when he goes out for the night he is independent, catching mice and leaving them in the garden.”

Meanwhile, Eleanor Goodman, who will study politics this year, said her cat is often like an over clingy boyfriend or girlfriend.

“She is very clingy. Mostly with me, but she can be over all my family too,” she told The Linc. “She also tries to stay as close to my face and chest as possible.”

The research has since been published in scientific journal, PLOS ONE.

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