Alie and Micah are the proud owners of the YouTube channel Neurotransmissions, and their two cats Bill and Loki.
Alie, a Neuroscientist, and Micah, a therapist are married and together they make videos about all things brain-related for their channel.
Given how much they love their cats, they decided to test just how much they loved them back.
What is love?
First, they define the love they are looking for as a “strong affection or warm attachment”, like when simply being close to the people you love makes you happy.
They argue that the attachment a cat feels for their owner is most likely similar to the one between a human child and their caregiver.
It is a bond that is based on the cat being dependent on its owner, for food, comfort, and security, just like the bond between child and caregiver.
Building on this idea, Alie and Micah decided to experiment with a method used to determine the attachment styles of children with their cats.
If the cat has a healthy attachment to its owner then their love for them is certain, if the cat has an unhealthy attachment, it means the cat feels insecure in their bond.
The experiment works like this; Micah went into an unfamiliar room with Bill, he stayed in the room with him for two minutes and then left for two minutes. After the two minutes were up he came back inside.
The way that Bill reacts to Micah’s re-entry tells us whether his attachment style is healthy or not. When Micah re-entered the room, Bill came to him for comfort and then began exploring the unfamiliar room they were in.
This means he has a healthy attachment.
But when the same experiment was carried out with Loki, he had a different reaction. When Micah came back to Loki, Loki wouldn’t leave his side and seemed skittish and afraid that Micah would leave again.
The reason two cats of the same owners can have different attachment styles is because we rarely raise our cats from the day they were born.
Loki was six months old when Alie and Micah adopted him, and who knows what might have happened to him in that time.
It’s also possible that Loki might have felt more secure with Alie.
It’s hard to know if cats feel love the same way we do.
But based on the experiment carried out by Neurotransmissons, it’s clear that our feline companions are at least attached to us like a child would be a caregiver.