Do Cats Choose their Owners?

Family PortraitsSome US cat behaviourists have conducted a series of fascinating experiments. A cat was placed in a room with several people. Some were cat lovers, others not. Surprisingly, the cat made overtures to the non-cat people. The cat approached the non-cat lovers and rubbed its body against their legs, a sign of ownership and affection. The cat even climbed on the lap of one of the non-cat lovers. Do cats really choose the people they want to befriend? Do cats choose their owners? Some seem to. Some cats develop a certain kind of fondness for people that provide its basic needs.

We know cats to be solitary animals. Unlike dogs that have the tendency to develop destructive behaviour when not provided with enough attention by the owners, cats don’t seem to require human contact for their existence. Notice how stray cats managed to survive on farms, in warehouses and in decrepit and abandoned buildings on their own. These animals hunt mice and rats and other small fast moving animals to survive. Cats are noted for their independent and aloof personalities. Of course cats never consider themselves owned! Unlike dogs, a cat doesn’t have a master. Cats are pretty choosy animals. They are particular about who they will bond with. This knowledge makes some people take pride in the fact that cats have specifically chosen them to be their ‘owner’.

Despite the studies conducted on feline behaviour, humans are still puzzled by some of the actions and behaviour these animals show. One example of cat behaviour humans find perplexing is the animal’s tendency to choose its owner. In the example given above, cat behaviourists have explained that cats are intimidated by the attention given to them by cat lovers. Thus they tend to choose people that are ignoring them. Feral cats that have existed in farms and kept grain sheds free from mice and other rodents may suddenly decide to change their lifestyle and move into family situations. The decision can be influenced by the ever present food source in households. It is common for stray cats to hang around areas where food can be found. It is also possible that the cat has instinctively found someone in the home that it can bond with. Many cats may not be very affectionate but they can develop a bond with anyone that is showing them kindness. It is not uncommon for animals to have a strong attachment to children. The cat may have found a friend in the child that offers food and provides care and affection.

In a family setting where the pet cat is being cared for by all the members of the family, the pet still chooses to bond closely with a particular person. Behaviourists have theorized that the person’s voice, demeanour or the way he/she interacts with the cat is what entices the cat to choose the person to be its owner.

There is still no definitive reason for the cat’s tendency to bond with a particular person and to consider that person as its owner. It is not surprising if people would want to win the affection of cats given that cats are wonderful animals to have around. Cat lovers need to understand that even if cats are noted for their independent personalities, these pets would not say no to the attention and to the love showered on them. You want the family pet to consider you as its owner? Try spending more time, that is be present but don’t smother your kitty and see if it does not follow you around and consider you as its most favourite person.


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