Some cats may seem a little more aloof than dogs, but they respond to the people they've bonded with in a similar way, according to a new study. Research at Oregon State University has shown that cats can form secure or insecure bonds with their owners. The researchers now believe the trait isn't specific to dogs, as similar research has shown, since it now applies to cats. During human attachment behavior studies, researchers look at how babies respond when they're reunited with their parent or caregiver after a short absence. When they're reunited, securely bonded babies return to exploring their surroundings in a relaxed way. About 65% of babies have a secure attachment. But insecurely attached babies will either avoid their parent or cling to them. The same tests have been simulated with primates as well. After applying it to dogs, babies and primates, the researchers wanted to see what would happen when they added cats and kittens to the scenario. The cats and kittens would individually spend two minutes in a room with their owner or caregiver. Then, the person would leave the room for two minutes, followed by a two minute reunion. This is called a "secure base test."
About 65% of the cats and kittens were found to be securely bonded to their owners. Their finding shows that the cats' bonds with people were stable in adulthood, and not just present in kittens.