My Cat and Me—A Study of Cat Owner Perceptions of Their Bond and Relationship.

Ines, Mauro, Ricci-Bonot, Claire and Mills, Daniel (2021) My Cat and Me—A Study of Cat Owner Perceptions of Their Bond and Relationship. Animals, 11 (6). p. 1601. ISSN 2076-2615

Full content URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/11/6/1601

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My Cat and Me—A Study of Cat Owner Perceptions of Their Bond and Relationship
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Abstract

Cats form close emotional relationships with humans, yet little is known about this.
This study characterized different types of relationship that cats might establish with their owners.
Data were analyzed from 3994 responses to a questionnaire developed using expressions of social
support and attachment in relation to everyday cat–owner interactions. Principal component analysis
reduced the items to four factors: the “owner’s emotional investment in the cat”, “cat’s acceptance
of others”, “cat’s need for owner proximity” and “cat’s aloofness”. Cluster identified three groups
of owners with two of these each sub-divided into two. The “open relationship bond” was characterized by a lightly emotionally invested owner and an avoidant cat. The “remote association” and
“casual relationship” were characterized by an emotionally remote owner but differed in the cat’s
acceptance of others. The “co-dependent” and “friendship” relationship were characterized by an
emotionally invested owner but differed in the cat’s acceptance of others and need to maintain owner
proximity. In conclusion, as with any complex social relationship, the type of cat–owner bond that
develops is the product of the dynamic that exists between both the individuals involved, along with
certain personality features, of which, the wider sociability of the cat and owner expectations may be
particularly important.

Keywords:affectional bond, attachment, cat, human–animal interaction, owner, relationship, social support, temperament
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D390 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:46656
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 14:02

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