Dogs have owners, cats have staff.
Though the old joke is a stereotype of a feline’s independent nature, that trope may have some scientific backing.
Cats do not form the childlike dependence on humans that dogs do, new research suggests.
That doesn’t mean people’s feline friends don’t bond with them, said Daniel Mills, a veterinary behavioral medicine researcher at the University of Lincoln in England.
“This is not about whether cats love their owners,” Mills told Live Science. Rather, it just means that Felis catus doesn’t look to its human owners as a source of safety and security, he added.
The new results are based on a test called the “Strange Situation.” In the test, which was developed for humans by psychologist Mary Ainsworth in the 1970s, researchers put a mother or primary caregiver and a baby in one room together and then asked the mother to leave as a stranger walked in to play. Ainsworth found that some tots would play joyfully while their caregiver was around, act fearful or distressed when the caregivers left, and then act happy when the mother