Friday, February 25, 2011

The science of cat ladies

While cats have plenty of male admirers, a new study in the journal "Behavioural Processes" (one of my favorite magazines -- I kid, I kid) shows that women tend to interact with their cats more than men do.

The study, which analyzed interactions between 41 cats and their owners, shows that felines attach to humans - particularly women - as social partners. It says the dynamics surrounding cat-human relationships are nearly identical to human bonds, with cats sometimes even becoming a furry "child" in nurturing homes. And get this: researchers determined that cats and their owners strongly influenced each other, such that they were each often controlling the other's behaviors. The study also concluded that cats also seem to remember kindness and return the favors later.

Next up for the researchers? They're taking on a long-term study of the relationship between humans and dogs. Count me in!

So if you know a "crazy cat lady", go knock on her door. And once she stumbles through the maze of litter boxes, empty tuna tins, and giant furballs than line the pathways of her subterranean, rent-controlled apartment, give her a hug. Crazy cat ladies need love too!


  1. But is the study of how cats relate to one gender of human or another in a dual sex household? Where's the benchmarking? What are the outliers?

    I need to know! We have no "women" in our house, but the cat is all about interacting with the nth degree.

  2. You make me wonder: is there any such thing as "crazy cat men?" You know, we always hear about the crazy cat ladies... there must be some guys out there like that, no? But we never hear about them...

  3. the Cat Lady is nearly an archetype by now.

  4. I'm curious about dog results. Cats have long memories, but I'm not so sure about dogs.

  5. Loved this blog post, right up to the last paragraph. We take issue with the word "crazy". My cats made me type this.

  6. I agree with Blobby -- our cat is a full member of the household and we interact with her almost as if with a third person. So, Walt, you've heard about two crazy cat men. Of course, we're gay men and I think that may make a huge difference.

  7. @will: I meant the people who have 30 cats in their house, not one or three. You know, the real "crazies." I agree with you that our dear pets are often treated like humans - I'm certainly in that category! :)



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