Let me tell you about our beautiful cat, Morty. She pushes her head against my hand when she wants to be petted, purrs and rubs on everyone she meets as if she’s greeting them. She also likes belly rubs, lying on her back, and cuddling you even when you’re already asleep. She’s a living representation of how cats are really nice and now (finally), we have a scientific proof to that.
An empirical study of the researchers from Oregon State University
found that cats are actually nice- so nice that they like interacting with humans more than they like eating food. Let that sink in for a moment- do you even like people more than food?
What motivated the study was to clear up the misconception that cats are unsociable. As the authors wrote, "Increasingly cat cognition research is providing evidence of their complex socio-cognitive and problem solving abilities. Nonetheless, it is still common belief that cats are not especially sociable or trainable. This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for."
They took 50 cats from a shelter and from other people’s homes and deprive them of toys, humans and food. The researchers discovered that there were no major differences between the shelter and the homed cats, with most of them preferring human socialization than toys and even food. Specifically, half of them preferred humans to every other stimulus type, and only 37% of them preferred food.
"While it has been suggested that cat sociality exists on a continuum, perhaps skewed toward independency, we have found that 50% of cats tested preferred interaction with the social stimulus even though they had a direct choice between social interaction with a human and their other most preferred stimuli from the three other stimulus categories," the authors wrote.
Cats are generally nice but each breed and life story can influence their preference for socialization. The study may not ground for concrete conclusions but it rings true to most cat owners. When bored, Morty will get out like she has some other things to do (then just sits around the kitchen waiting for food). Of course, your cat won’t spend every waking moment with you. They may even look aloof sometimes, but hey, the love you. See? They’d rather have you than anything else in the world! Love it back, man.