Cat and man: why every relationship is unique

Velvet paws sometimes appear independent and individualistic, but cats and humans can enter into an intimate friendship. Every relationship between cats and their "can opener" is something special. It even seems that the house tigers develop a unique form of communication that is specially tailored to their favorite people. "We belong together", cat and man agree - Shutterstock / Renata Apanaviciene

An attempt by the University of Vienna supports the assumption that every relationship between cat and human is different. In four sessions, the Austrian researchers observed the relationship between 40 people and their house tigers, made video recordings and analyzed them in terms of human and cat personality.

Human-cat relationship: a question of personality?

The scientists visited the human-cat team four times in their home for 45 minutes each around the feeding time of the velvet paws. They wanted to know how the animals and their owners interact and communicate with each other. The researchers were also interested in whether certain common character traits could be recognized between the personalities of the owner and the four-legged friend. People were assessed using personality tests, cats by observing their behavior. For example, the trustworthiness and affection of a velvet paw was checked by whether it accompanies its human to the door when he goes or not. Or the animal's reaction was analyzed when its owner patted her. The scientists coded the data they could pull from the video recordings, fed it into a computer program, which then looked for common behavior patterns in the relationship between cat and human.

In fact, the computer found what it was looking for and discovered a few similarities. Accordingly, the relationship between very extroverted or very conscientious people and their animals is particularly complex and the relationships between female cat owners and their velvet paws are apparently more intimate and intensive than those between male cat owners and their house tigers. However, it must be said that only ten men took part in the study and that 40 participants in total is not an overly representative quantity. Nevertheless, the conclusion that the scientists drew from their observations seems exciting: it seems that mutual attention and a kind of friendly physical contact are important aspects in the negotiations between cats and humans. Every relationship between a velvet paw and its holder is similar to relationships between people, it said.

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Communication between cat and human

Another 2003 study by the US University of Cornell suggested that cats develop very individual communication with their humans. The meowing of the velvet paws hardly plays a role between conspecifics, but between cats and humans. Apparently the animals learn that humans understand them better and react more when they make sounds, such as the "meow", when they make sounds. People do not understand the signs of body language as quickly as sounds. Apparently every human-cat relationship also develops its own language, so that every cat owner understands exactly what his kitty wants from him, depending on how the respective "meow" sounds.

The American scientists taped the sounds of twelve cats in various everyday situations and played the recordings to their owners. Based on the sound, these should determine what everyday situation it was. As it turned out, only the owners of each cat were correct in their guess. Now twelve cats are also quite a few participants, but every cat lover knows that the relationship between pets and humans is always unique.

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