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Cats form 5 different types of relationships with their owners. Find out which one you share with your feline companion.
Cats typically express love for their owners in a few common ways: cuddling, purring, and rubbing against you. But according to University of Lincoln researchers, these types of behaviors and how they happen signify more than just affection. The researcher team found that cats are capable of developing five different types of relationships with their owners, and how your feline friend interacts with you can help you understand which of these bonds you share.
1. open relationship
If your cat is super independent and solitary, you might have an open relationship.
Cats in this type of relationship relate well to other people and have some closeness with their owner, but don’t need to snuggle up on your lap or lick your face.
2. co-dependent relationship
“This cat has often come to depend on a very emotionally invested owner (the cat is very important to the owner, possibly seen as family or as a great friend),” explains the study.
“The owner typically plays regularly with the cat, and is seen as a part of the same social group (the cat behaves in a friendly way towards the owner, even regularly licking the owner’s hands and face) and as a secure base (the cat will seek the owner when worried).”
If you have a co-dependent relationship, your cat likely doesn’t engage well with strangers, and might even hide when someone enters the house. They also like to be right by your side at all times, and might cry or not eat when you’re away.
This relationship is especially common among single people with one indoor cat.
3. casual relationship
Cats in a casual relationship with their owner prefer life outdoors to being cooped up inside.
While they’re perfectly friendly with you, they’re not bothered about spending time apart, and might visit other houses in the area sometimes vanishing for days at a time.
The owner is emotionally invested in the cat and will often play with them, and the cat is warm and friendly in return.
“The owner is seen not only as part of the same social group (the cat will regularly lick the owner’s hands and face) but also as a secure base (someone to seek out for comfort when the cat is worried),”says the research.
“This cat likes to be near the owner but doesn’t feel a need to maintain physical proximity to the owner (doesn’t always follow the owner around the house and may even take him/herself away to a preferred location).”
This relationship seems to occur more often in busy households with more than one cat, and the cats often have some outside access.
5. remote relationship
If you and your cat have a remote relationship, you care for your cat, but don’t think of them as a member of your family or your best friend.
These cats prefer to keep a distance from people, and won’t seek out their owner even when worried.
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