Many of us believe that cats are aloof creatures which look down on their human owners – possibly inspired by the internet’s many hilarious cat memes.
But are cats really aloof and distant?
Only to people who are aloof and distant themselves, it turns out – with new research showing that cats spend much more time with people if they talk to them and pet them.
The effect even applies to total strangers who the cats have only just met.
Researchers from Oregon Stat University conducted tests with 23 shelter cats and 23 pets.
The researchers put cats in rooms with people who either ignored them, or talked to them, then petted them.
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Even with strangers, the cats spent much more time with the person who paid them attention, Science Alert reports.
Researcher Kristyn R. Vitales said, ‘In both groups, we found they spent significantly more time with people who were paying attention to them than people who were ignoring them.’
Calling a cat by its name (or just talking to it), means the cat will pay more attention to you, the researchers found.
Previous research by Vitale showed that cats will choose interaction with humans even over food and toys.