If you call yourself a cat person, you’ve probably shared a connection with the feline kind for as long as you can remember. But, what is it about these curious, intriguing, and quirky beings that draw us in and makes us fall in love on sight? If you’re anything like me, you have a love for all animals, but there is something about cats that you feel a deep connection to. So, what is the real reason why we love cats? Well, according to science, the answer is rather interesting. And it just might make you appreciate your connection with cats even more.
A connection as old as time
People loving cats is nothing new, and history shows us that. Of course, there were periods of time when cats were feared, but early on, folks realized the many benefits of cohabitating with cats. According to Science Daily, research suggests that our connection with felines began about 9,500 years ago. The earliest evidence on record of a mutual relationship between cats and people dates back to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
And, as we know, cats were especially adored in ancient Egypt. While the ancient Egyptians worshipped many animals, cats were thought to be their favorite of all. This was because cats were regarded as mysterious and intriguing beings that many believed would reward them with good luck. And for those who kept cats as pets in their home, they were completely pampered. Not only were they admired and adored, but they were regularly treated to superb treats and even dressed in fine jewels. Most of all, the cats of Ancient Egypt were thought to have “divine energy” that was viewed as sacred.
A cat person is one who is defined as being highly emotional
In recent years, there have been medical studies that take a closer look at the bonds formed between cats and people. The research indicated that “highly emotional individuals” were more inclined to develop strong relationships with cats. Dr. Patricia Pendry of Washington State University dedicates her life to the study of human-animal interactions, and she has even published research that proves the especially strong bond between cats and highly emotional individuals. She shared that:
“The subtle and somewhat unpredictable responses cats give us, give us the perception that we are chosen — or perceived as ‘special’ when a response from a cat does occur. I also believe that because the response tends to take a little bit more time to emerge, we are captivated by a desire to know what the cat will do.”
Additionally, there is also research that suggests that we love cats as much as we do and think of them as “our babies” because their large expressive eyes cast an irresistible appeal to us, similar to that found in human babies (baby schema). Research shows that cats possess neotenous features, and because of this, our brains can’t help but be attracted to them. These features include a large head and round face, a high and protruding forehead, large eyes, a small nose, and a small mouth.
A cat’s love is earned, and not given, and many cat people find that deeply endearing
While there are perfectly friendly felines out there that will mosey right on up to a stranger, for the most part, cats are known for being reserved and on guard. It’s in a cat’s nature to be this way, and this is appealing to many who realize that a cat values your trust. Cats will often choose their favorite person based on the way that person interacts with them. Dogs are far more trusting, and while this is certainly appealing to many, cat people tend to pride themselves on being their cat’s favorite person as they understand the mentality of cats and the way in which they think. These are earned bonds and friendships, and oftentimes, their memories are deeply endearing. In the wise words of the great Charles Dickens, “what greater gift than the love of a cat.”
And, unlike dogs, you probably need your cat more than they actually need you—if you want to get technical
We know that cats that are permitted to go outdoors will travel to other houses. And, if your cat were to become lost, they’d find a way to feed themselves thanks to their natural hunting abilities. So, despite nearly 12,000 years of evolution alongside humans, cats have mainly retained the body structure and abilities of wild cats. Of course, this is not to say that your cat doesn’t need you, it’s just that they’d find a way in which to survive without you if they absolutely had to.