Animals are amazing creatures, and it’s hard not to love them. But why do we love our cats so much?
We love our cats so much because of their unconditional love – and as humans with deep emotions, we inherently react to this love. Cats may express their love by purring, rolling on the floor, bunting you with their head, kneading you, sleeping on you, or even hunting and gifting their prey to you.
In this world, there seems to be two types of people; cat people and dog people.
And though there’s no denying that dog people love their canine companions, cat people will often argue that their loyalty to their cat is far stronger than any canine/human bond.
After all, there’s no such thing as a “crazy dog lady”. So why is that crazy cat lady so crazy about her cats?
Why are cat owners so undeniably devoted to their feline friends?
Cat And Science
I will delve deeper into the science behind why we love our cats so much.
Yes, they’re cute and cuddly, but the answer to this question is more scientific than that.
The simplest scientific conclusion for why we love our cats so much relates much to our evolution.
Through our evolutionary history, we have been primed to like all things that remind of us of babies – including little round faces. And as we all know, cats have little round faces.
By way of reasoning then, we have been evolutionarily primed to love cats the same way that we love babies.
And with cats being as adorable as they are, it’s no surprise that we love them. But is there more to it than that?
The Million Dollar Question: Why Do We Love Our Cats So Much?
So I gave a partial answer to this question above, but let’s dive a little deeper.
Aside from the fact that cats remind us of babies, why is it that we are so devoted to our feline friends?
One of the main reasons seems to be that our cats make us feel received.
When we are around out cats, our cats delight in our presence. They roll on their backs, purr, rub up against our legs – all of which are reassuring to us that our cat does, in fact, want us around.
The kitty litter box that we forgot to clean out? Our cat has let that go.
The fact that we forgot to feed them this morning? There’s no anger or resentment.
Research has also found that when we pet our cats, oxytocin is released. For those who don’t know, oxytocin is a type of hormone that is associated with feelings of love.
In return, when we pet our cats, we automatically feel “love”, and a strong bond is quickly created.
Further research has actually suggested that cats can be very beneficial and healing for our health.
In a 10-year research study, cat owners were significantly less likely to have a heart attack than individuals who had never owned a cat before.
In fact, it was found that individuals who had never owned a cat were at a 40% increased risk of dying from a heart attack than those who did own a cat.
In addition, those who had never owned a cat were 30% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
Further studies also confirmed that owning a cat can reduce blood pressure, and increase the production of dopamine and serotonin.
Do Cats Love Their Owners?
So we now understand how the domestication and love for cats came to be, but do our cats feel the same way about us?
Despite the fact that so many people see cats as master manipulators, the answer is yes, our cats do love us back.
Research has shown that cats prefer human interaction to food, and that they get excited when their owners come home – two facts that suggest that our cats do, in fact, love us.
The reason that we often have such a difficult time recognizing the love of our cats is that they express their love in different ways than humans do.
Cats and Therapy
It was mentioned above that when we pet our cats, oxytocin release causes us to experience feelings of love. But love isn’t the only positive human emotion that cats can make us feel. According to research, our feline friends can also help us to relax and heal.
This is why cats, like dogs, are frequently used for therapy. A therapy cat is a cat that is trained to help humans suffering from different ailments, both physical and mental, relax.
Therapy cats can help to provide comfort in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, hospices, and so on and so forth.
While therapy cats can’t provide physical assistance to those with disabilities the same way that dogs can, they can be an excellent source of emotional support – so much so that they are often used in medical treatment plans.
Not only are cats often used in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities, but they can also be used within personal homes.
Aside from helping people with severe mental and physical concerns, cats can also be used by those within their own home to reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. They make an excellent companion for those living alone, as well as the elderly.
And did you know that petting a cat can actually help people with dementia to recall certain memories? According to research, when a cat purrs, it stimulates our nerve endings, which can delay neuronal degeneration, and help those with severe memory issues recall memories from the past – Just one more reason to love our cats!
So in response to the question, “why do we love our cats so much?”, the answer is because we have been evolutionarily predisposed to do so.
Not only do cats remind us of babies, but they are also very healing for both our minds and our bodies. And of course, the fact that they are just so darn cute definitely doesn’t hurt their case!
Are cats loyal to one person?
Unlike “crazy cat lovers” who often have multiple cats, it seems as though cats hold loyalty to one person in particular. In other words, they have a favourite person.
And while every cat will choose differently, this favoured person is usually someone who feeds them, plays with them, or spends the most time with them.
With that being said, all cats have their own unique personalities, and some cats will tend to favour the person who makes them feel the most secure.
In some cases, this might be the person who shows them the most love and affection, while in other cases it may be the person who gives the cat their space.
No, this doesn’t mean that cats won’t show love or affection to anyone else, it just means that they tend to have a deeper connection with one particular individual.
How can I show my cat I love them?
Cats don’t speak the same love language as us, and though we often think of cuddling and kissing as displays of affection, our cat may not see them as the same.
In order for cats to really take your affection as it is, you need to speak their language.
Play with them, massage them, and butt heads with them – these are all ways that cats show affection amongst each other, so if we do the same towards them, they will understand our displays as loving.
Another way to show your cat that you love them is to respond to their cues. When a cat is meowing at you, they are trying to communicate.
They may want food, they may want attention, or they may simply just want to say hello.
But if you can figure out what it is your cat is trying to tell you, and then respond to that need, they will be forever grateful.