Both cats and kittens showed about the same level of attachment to caregivers as children and dogs did:
The same pattern was found, not surprisingly, in dogs. We are offered some qualifications with respect to cats …
But the qualifications actually demonstrate the point. Domestic cats bond with humans because they are taken at an early age from the kitty mommy who looked after their every need. As the kitten continues to grow, he expects the humans who adopted him to replace her by feeding and protecting him, and helping him keep warm. Why wouldn’t he? And he certainly does not need reasoning powers to be well aware of the value of that relationship and the need to hang onto it.
Whether he “likes” or “dislikes” his humans is beside the point. Did he “like” Kitty Mommy? Would it even occur to him to form an opinion?
Cats are often charged with being “aloof” and“contrary,” and “not especially social.” But aloofness and contrariness are human concepts and “social” requires some nuance. All these terms assume that the cat is thinking about things that he is not, in fact, thinking about. In reality, he does not have a rich inner life, full of complex, abstract opinions. There is a much simpler but adequate explanation for his behavior.
The cat is neither a pack animal nor a herd animal. Thus he is not inclined by necessity toward submission or leadership.Denyse O’Leary, “Cats Do bond with people” at Mind Matters News
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See also: Study: Cats do recognize their names. They recognize them as signals but not as abstractions.
Can animals reason? My challenge to Jeffrey Shallit (Michael Egnor)