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Are Cats a Woman’s Best Friend?

The following article was written by Joe Taksel and originally appeared on PETA Prime.

A recent article in Time magazine reports on a new scientific study confirming what many of us “cat people” have known all along: Cats and their humans, especially women, form strong social bonds and a mutual understanding based on affection—and maybe just a little indulgence.

The researchers closely followed nearly every interaction between 41 cats and their human families over a lengthy period. What they found was that both the cats and their guardians responded to the other’s desire to interact—in everything from petting to being held to playing games. The study took the old concept that a cat’s behavior toward humans was based solely on the animal’s desire for food and stood it squarely on its head.

What the researchers observed was true mutual social attachment (i.e., love) as well as a return of affection by cats who were previously shown affection by their guardians. The humans and the cats were observed having direct influence over each other’s behavior. The study showed that the dynamics underlying the relationship between mutually adoring cats and their humans are nearly identical to human-to-human bonds.

So once it’s established that humans and cats form special social bonds with each other, how do we explain the fact that most cats prefer to interact more with women than men? Cat-loving men, take heart! Thanks to this study, we may finally have the answer. The observed cats repeatedly returned affection to the human who had previously shown affection toward the cat, and that human was female most of the time. The corollary to that observation would be that if the human who interacted most with the cat were a man, the cat would return the affection to the man.

Disclosure: I am a male, and I can attest to the depth of love, affection, and understanding that exists between a man and a cat. Whether I’m playing hide-and-seek with a cat, talking to a feline friend (yes, I had a cat who loved a multisyllabic chat), or just nodding off for a nap induced by a kitten’s hypnotic purr, I can say unequivocally that cats are this man’s best friend.

What is your relationship with your cat like?

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  • Jessica says:

    we found my cat in the back of my house and when we opened the door, she ran in. we kept her because winter was coming. she has been with me and my family for a year and i love her so much. she was only one month when we found her. shes my baby.

  • sam says:

    I rescued my kitten when she was 4 weeks old. Her mom got hit by a car. I found two of her siblings homes as well. I raised her. She barely had any teeth so i had to teach her to eat….use the litter box and so on. I became her mom. And still am a year later. I love her so much. Shes just like my child. I buy her toys and food and treats just like a kid. Im a huge animal lover. All my animals are rescued. I own three cats two dogs and a rabbit. I absolutely adore them.

  • JennyNZ says:

    My husband and I have 3 cats: The Matriarch calico 8 year old Felicity, docile smoochie grey & white Tigger (7ys) & live-wire little tabby Chevy (2ys). All were rescues, all are much loved and their individual personalites and affection add much to our lives. Felicity is extra special as she was abandoned at just 6 weeks, and we had to wash & groom her to begin with, and even teach her to Meow – now the conversation never stops! Where ever I am in the house she is with me, whenever I sit/lie down she comes running to jump up on me – we share a really close, loving relationship and I’m so glad we found her and her adopted brothers to share our lives.

  • Penny says:

    My husband and I thought we didn’t like cats until this little stray kitten ended up living with us. LOL! He was very special. Even those who don’t care for animals at all really liked him a lot. He lived to be 18 before cancer took him away,and he changed our lives. We have three cats and a dog and would have more if we could take care of them. I still think of him and miss him every day. I believe he was a gift from God to change our way of thinking.

  • Sandynursebiker says:

    I recently left my husband and took my cat with me. He had his own cat which had recently died in December last year. Shimby (my kitty) loves me but is VERY people shy she hides when their are any new people. She is a beautiful companion and because of this I am not seeking any partners, friends with benefits or lovers. Shimby and I are very happy together…only my cat understands me. She only eats fish dry cat food so she is basically a pecsiterian. She won’t eat vegan cat food I tried !

  • Sarah says:

    I love my little
    Milo(or meow-low) as we call him. He is a darling rescue from the clinic I work at(he had a crushed hip/femur/almost died and found at an abandoned lot as a kitten)he is so funny and affectionate/always there when you need a cuddle boy, I cant imagine our lives without his throaty raspy meoow echoing through the house.

  • Annemiek says:

    We have 4 cats, 2 tuxedo’s, 1 white and 1 black with a litlle white spot.
    The white male is completely in love with me (well that’s I’m saying to myself). Everywhere I go, sit or lay he’s somewhere closeby. Most on my lap, behind me on my chair or in the old paperbox. Funny thing about him is when he’s laying on my lap always stretches is front paws….Normally cats cuddle up he makes himself longer.

  • chander kumar soni says:

    yes, cat can be friend.

  • Katrelya Angus says:

    I have a feline nephew named Babboo. When his Mom and Dad are away, I look after him. Together, he and I listen to jazz and relax! If I get to his house when he’s out, he senses my presence and comes running. Babboo is a good loyal friend whom I cherish.

  • Tuanita says:

    I have 2 cats: both rescues. One white (named Sofia Loren) and the other black (named Brigitte Bardot)
    Before these two angels came into my life I thought I was a dog person, but now I really can’t tell which pet I love the most…
    My black and white beauties are my “yin yang” 🙂 can’t live without them!

  • Lori says:

    I rescue cats and adopt them out to loving forever homes. I love all of my cats, whether they live with me for 15 days, or 15 years. They are all loving, funny, and beautiful, and make my life hectic, but an absolute joy.

  • Laurie Morales says:

    I feel so blessed to have cats in my life. I have a mother and also her babies, which are grown now. No one can tell me that cats don’t have emotions and don’t know what love is. That momma kitty and her children, still cuddle, groom eachother and sleep together!

  • Laura says:

    My first cat was given to me by my childhood boyfriend, i was 14 at the time, she was a kitten and lived 20 years, i couldnt even imagine at 14 i would have this cat until i was 34. I was so devasted when she died, I grieved more than for some human family members. I recetly adopted a male cat from the shelter, he has to be with my everywhere and has taken my recliner.. 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    I absolutely adore cats. I love all animals, but there is a very special place in my heart for cats. And – John in Sacramento, I’m looking at you – guys who love cats are THE BEST! 🙂

  • Marilynn says:

    I rescued a cat that the owner was taking to the pound. His name is Finnigan and he is unbelievable. If I am on the computer and get off my chair, he jumps on the seat so I will swivel him around. He loves it. He sleeps with me too. At night when I let him out he comes back and scratches on my screen to let me know he is there. (I bought a cat scratch proof screen and have never regretted it). Before I bought the new screen, he bailed out the first night through the old screen. is where I ordered it from. They are great. When he sees me he throws himself on the floor and that means “Pat Me”. I have two dogs as well but Finnigan takes the “cake”.

  • Karen Lockard says:

    Here I am again. Just a little note: My husband was a dog lover before we married and now after 38 years of marriage he is a huge cat lover. He is a truck driver and they mostly like their dogs, but my husband has fallen in love with all the kitties we have had throughout the years and they all love/loved him too. I guess it takes a special man to love cats, and I am blessed to have found one. 🙂

  • Karen Lockard says:

    I have 3 Himalayan kitties that rock my world. Bandit is my big boy and he follows me around and stares at me when I am idle. Muffin is the cutest little munchkin and she purrs as soon as I walk in a room. Princess is my little angel from heaven and every time I sit down anywhere, she is on my lap and needs lots of attention. She gives me kisses and she plays fetch!
    Love Love Love my kitties!

  • Sarah says:

    I love all three of my cats. Kavie sleeps beside my pillow every night, and Mewey, a kitten that I raised from three weeks old burrows under the blankets to snuggle with my boyfriend and I. Lili mostly keeps to herself, but we sometimes wake up with her perched on top of one of us ;D

    I love all of them, they’re simply beautiful. They do love us, its evident every time we are away over night. (Kavie literally jumps into my arms when I come home from a vacation. He’s a mama’s boy.)

  • Cheryl says:

    Cats? Oh yeah, I’d forgotten they were cats. I have some very short, four legged beings with lots of soft fur that live with me. They are my babies 🙂 I talk baby talk to them and as soon as they hear my voice, most of them come to me. They get on my lap, lay on my arm on the chair arm, try to operate my mouse (computer variety), one is an outright ink pen bandit. She lies in wait till I stand up or even turn away then bolts to the pen that I keep by my keyboard and she’s off.. under the dining table where she knows I can’t reach her! I truly do love them. Each has their own unique personality. I was being humorous earlier, of course I remember they are cats, but in my heart they are my friends, confidantes and snuggle babies. 🙂

  • John in Sacramento says:

    I’m a GUY who loves cats! Let me say that again, I’m a guy who loves cats. I’ve had cats as pets since I was a young boy, and feel like I share a special bond with them.
    And yes, I face the usual stereotypes from people who wonder why I like cats, to the degree that I do, because of my gender. I hope in the future we can get past nonsense like this, that serves to reinforce cultural, as well as gender-role stereotypes.

  • Wiki says:

    I have 3 cats. Since I got married I move to my husband’s place and he has 3 dogs. I miss my kittys but I go to visit them in my sisters place every week. I miss especially my sweet baby albino cat named Ginji. I got him since he was a week old and since that moment we were together. Sadly I can’t take him to my new house because of the dogs but I’m planing to take him gradually just to get use to the dogs around. The other kittys names are Yami (the tabby) and Murphy ( a gray tabby with white spots) The last one is a rescue and he is such a sweet kitty. Murphy is the trouble maker but my mom’s favorite.


  • Sammi says:

    My cat PJ’s is the cuddliest cat i’ve ever had, she’s a black American Shorthair, and even though she’s as cute as a button, she knows how to fight with tooth and claw to keep other cats away from her territory!

  • Lorraine says:

    What bothers me is the ASPCA’s regulation of keeping your cat indoors for safety. I am 56 and have had a cat in my life since I was about 10. A cat is a “free” animal and loves the outdoors. I am referring to country living cats. Not only are they my companion, but also my mouse traps. Yes, they get the occasional baby bunny or squirrel, but that is nature.

  • Colleen Coleman says:

    I have had a cat since I was 7 years old. My Aunt gave me a kitten for my birthday. I have loved cats ever since and have had many over the years. I have 9 now and I love them all and wouldn’t want to live without them.

  • jessanimal says:

    My Cat Trina is my best friend. she waits for me at the door for when i get home from schoool. Me and her have and love and hate relationship haha, she mainly hates me when i dont feed her on time!

  • nathalie boudreau says:

    My husband bought me a cat (humane society) for my birthday, after my beloved Penny passed away after 16 years together. Even though Daisy is 6, and had been at the shelter for 2 months, she is so attached to me already! The cuddles and licks I get to wake me up makes my day better. Only problem…she bites to get my attention if I am not quick enough to pet her. But hey, no big deal! I am learning to be faster…lol

  • pauline oldfield says:

    Love my cats so much, one sleeps with me most nights couldnt live without a cat xxxx

  • DewiMaya Saptasari says:

    i really love my cat, he always cheer me up when i have bad mood 🙂 also feel free to “speak everything ” to my cat 😀

  • Patty says:

    I Love My Cat Adrian Monk She Is So Sweet And Very Lovable And Full Of Kiss’s And She Gets Into Trouble Also But With A Face Like Her’s You Cant Stay Mad At Her. She Also Does Not Like Strangers. She Is A Mommy’s Girl