If you have a cat, you can likely attest to how hard it is to tell what your cat is thinking. Cats are a lot smarter than we think and depending on your pet and their attachment to you, you may wonder, "does my cat love me?" or "does my cat care about me?" With dogs, there's a body of copious scientific research that backs up that dogs love their owners. However, that doesn't exist for cats.
So, do cats love their owner? For the most part, the answer to this question seems to be "yes," but it's not as clear cut as other animals (like dogs).
Do Cats Love Their Owner? Let's Look at the Science
With dogs, it was relatively trivial for scientists to affirm that these pets love their owners. Dogs do love us. There's a chemical in our bodies, called oxytocin, that our bodies release when we're forming a bond with other humans (e.g., when a mother is forming a bond with her baby).
It turns out that this same chemical exists in dogs! And, both dog and owner release it when they look at each other. So that's relatively conclusive! This is also why dogs are man's best friend.
However, no such smoking gun exists with cats. With our feline friends, we have to figure out if they love us a little more indirectly. Since the cat personality is slightly more aloof by default than a dog, testing these theories can be challenging.
What we can do, though, is to use cat cognition and psychology to ascertain whether or not cats love their humans. Researchers released a study at the end of 2019, which detailed how cats love their owners.
In parenting, there are multiple types of attachment that children can have to their parents. The most common (and the one without potential problems in the future) is secure attachment. With this attachment style, the baby feels free to roam about the world and home, knowing that the parent(s) will never leave them. They're secure in their mother and father's love.
Researchers showed that most cats have this secure attachment paradigm with their owners. A few cats didn't show this, but the vast majority seemed quite attached to their owners. The owner is a sense of security for the cat, which indicates that they do love their owner.
There are other indications that cats love their owners. They can sometimes turn into a cuddly and friendly cat when their owners are sad or having a bad day.
There have even been reports of cats licking away tears. If you think about it, if a cat were solely interested in what food you were giving them, they wouldn't come around when they knew you were sad! They'd wait for you to be happy again and then hound you for food. There are even times when they would purr to console you.
So, even though there isn't a main chemical to explain the love that cats have for their owners, there's more than enough evidence to suggest that cats are capable of feeling love towards their owners!
What Are the Most Affectionate Cats?
The science above applies to all cat breeds. However, some breeds are naturally more affectionate than others.
If you want a cuddly fluffy cat, consider a Ragdoll or Siamese cat. Both of these breeds are incredibly affectionate.
The Ragdoll has an attractive cat personality. People named Ragdolls after the fact that they would go limp in your arms. They love it when people hold them!
Similarly, the Siamese cat breed, as a whole, tends to be quite fond of its owners.
It is worth noting that practically any cat can be cuddly, with enough patience and dedication, but those two breeds are particularly cuddly!
Do Cats Love Their Owner? Yes!
Ultimately, yes, cats do love their owner. However, it's not quite the same type of love that dogs have for their humans. That doesn't make what a cat experiences any less impactful. Instead, it means that they love their owner in a different, unique way.
If you're looking for a cuddly cat that loves their owner, consider getting a Ragdoll or Siamese. Both those cats have fantastic personalities and a lot of love to give!
Does my cat love me?
How do cats show affection?
Do cats know their owners love them?
Check out our blog and follow me on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date!