Have you ever wondered if your cat does things just to spite you? You know he hears your voice, yet sometimes the infuriating feline doesn’t pay you any regard. Many a cat owner has felt that all their efforts to show affection, or devote hours of playing with their cat, often goes unnoticed or doesn’t raise even the slightest response. Why is it that dogs seem to automatically love their masters, while cat owners receive meager affection from their lordly pets? Raising felines can seem like such a thankless task when compared with the exuberant appreciation dog owners enjoy. Believe it or not, these feelings are so widely experienced, that academics Atsuko Saito and Kazutaka Shinozuka of the University of Tokyo conducted a study about cats and the way they respond to humans.
The study was applied to 20 cats that were observed based on physical reactions to the calling of their master’s voice. The cats’ body language and recognition was marked through posture, motion of tails, ears and eye movement and dilation, vocalization, and shifting of feet. The cats would indicate through dilated pupils, and ear/head pointing toward the call, as well as shifting paws and twitching tails with recognition when called by their owners. However, they would not move at all when an unfamiliar volunteer addressed each individual cat. The cause of this is believed to be a breakdown in the cat’s evolutionary process.
Though the study did not claim to reflect any conclusion about the depth of relationship or emotional connection between a cat and its master, it was conducted to show a contrast of how dogs respond when their name is called. The research found that dogs are more evolved to respond to their owners and follow orders than cats are. Because of the way wild dogs were domesticated to humans several thousand years ago, the relationship has always been motivated by the human supremacy in relation to the dog. The human acts as the master and provider: giving commands, praising them, feeding them, etc. Cats, on the other hand, have always functioned as independents, working alongside and not directly for humans as solitary hunters and rodent killers. Because of this, cats seem to have domesticated themselves on their own terms, and are less responsive to human leadership/command than dogs. The study concluded that this independent instinct is the likely cause for why cats are not as evolved as dogs in their natural inclination to respond, or submit to human authority the same way. Though they are still one of the most beloved American pets, in this regard, cats are not as advanced as their canine counterparts.