Cats prefer people who aren’t ‘cat people’

We’ve all been in situations where our cats seem to gravitate toward that person who wants nothing to do with them. A recent study has just confirmed that cats actually do prefer people who aren’t “cat people.”

While the study’s findings don’t exactly surprise us, it at least tells us why this is. People who aren’t into cats give cats the freedom and control they crave.

The study by Nottingham Trent University observed 120 people, according to The Dodo. These individuals were surveyed during their interactions with cats.

Cats prefer if you didn’t

Animal behavioral scientists studied which behaviors the cats enjoyed from humans, how each human behaved, and how comfortable the cats were in these situations.

The study showed that the cats weren’t really fans of being doted over or held. Cats also didn’t enjoy being grabbed or restrained.

Older people were more likely to do this than younger people. Cats also preferred to initiate contact rather than have humans initiate contact.

Cats in the study didn’t mind being pet on the chin. Pic credit: Pixabay

The humans that engaged in behavior that the cats didn’t enjoy were likely to be people who live with cats or lived with cats at some point.

The cats in the study did hang around people who pet the base of their ears or under their chin, rather than those who stroked their bellies and the base of their tails.

Cats were found to be more attracted to humans who were more “passive” and didn’t touch them as much. This is believed to coincide with a cat’s independent nature and need to be in control.

How to handle cats

The study was funded by a grant from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Battersea is an organization that takes in animals, offers them care (including hydrotherapy), and finds them new homes.

“Battersea is here for every dog and cat, and has been since 1860. We believe that every dog and cat deserves the best. That’s why we help every dog and cat in need – whether it’s newly born or getting on, cute or cute in its own way,” their website states.

The purpose of the study was to create a set of guidelines for best practices when handling cats. This could come in handy in a shelter setting and when cats are being adopted.

“The results of this study demonstrate the beneficial impact of
a simple set of cat-interaction guidelines on cats’ real time
responses to humans during human cat interaction (HCI),” the study’s finding said.

When given instructions on how to best handle cats, the cats responded positively. They were also more likely to exhibit behavior that was favorable to being adopted.

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