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Feature May 2019 Issue

Turns Out They’re Not Aloof After All

Popular thinking has it that, like Greto Garbo, cats “vant to be alone.” But a new study out of Oregon State University shows that’s not true. In a two-pronged experiment involving pet cats and shelter cats, both types of felines spent much more time with a stranger sitting on the floor when that person called out to them and pet them as they approached, as opposed to having no attention paid to them.

In other words, the idea that cats don’t particularly like to interact may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t reach out to them, they’ll learn not to be social.

The study also shows that cats like to be the ones who control the socializing. That is, you can call out to them, but they like it better when they get to decide whether to engage.

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