Co-dependent? Friendship? Remote? Casual? Open? You’d be forgiven for thinking these are ways to describe your relationship status on Facebook (it’s complicated, actually). They are, in fact, the results of a new study into the different types of bonds we share with our cats.
Researchers from the University of Lincoln honed in on five relationship types, based on nearly 4,000 owners. We know pet–human love isn’t an exact science (plus, any cat owner will know that our feline friends can be rather fickle sometimes), so this study gives us some amazing insight into these relationship dynamics, and how understanding these bonds can hopefully help us look after our furry friends.
Cat relationship quiz
Off the back of the study, the University of Lincoln has also created a fun relationship quiz for owners to take. Naturally, the cat devotees in the Closer Pets team were curious to find out whether their feline friends do indeed see them as their human soulmates (rather than just a convenient food source). The results are conclusive – we’re a proud bunch of co-dependent cat owners!
Read on to discover the five types of relationships, and take the quiz for yourself here.
- Co-dependent relationship
If you refer to your cat as a ‘fur baby’, this category might ring one or two bells. Love is a two-way street in this relationship, with the study saying: ‘This cat has often come to depend on a very emotionally invested owner’. Your co-dependent kitty will likely follow you about, loves to play, and shows their affection by licking you.
Co-dependent Closer Pets cats (and their humans):
Marcus, Mango and Pekoe
Closer Pets team member Marcus took the quiz and felt it summed his relationship with his two feisty felines, commenting “I’d agree with this, especially when it said they could be considered clingy. Shut doors aren’t a thing at home; they’ve mastered opening doors, so they’re always close!”
Jakub, Loki and Princess
Jakub also gave it a go and was unsurprised to discover he has a co-dependent relationship with his two gorgeous cats – Loki (left) and Princess (right). He says: “It's quite accurate for both of them. They constantly follow me, but Princess is a bit more independent. But whenever my attention is elsewhere like on a Teams meeting, they get very jealous and either meow their hearts out or go in front of the camera.”
Sarah and Rafael
Another co-dependent pairing is Sarah and her cuddly cat, Rafael. Sarah says: “This makes total sense, as Raf will scratch at my bedroom door to be let in at 6am, and always comes for a cuddle when I’m working from home – hence why I’ve taken to wearing a special ‘cat jacket’ to catch all the fluff!”
Guy and Tink
Some cats love to ‘help’ around the house, as Guy can attest. He laughs: “This is evidence of my 'co-dependent' relationship with Tink! We support each other in everything we do – including the washing.”
- Casual relationship
If your feline friend loves to roam but will also happily cuddle up to you, then it sounds very much like a casual relationship. The study claims that your casual kitty will tend to spend long periods enjoying their independence outdoors, and might even pay visits to other homes (cheeky).
This is where both owner and cat are busy creatures but still find time to nurture a close bond. The study suggests the cat sees the owner as a part of its social group, but isn’t over-reliant or clingy. In turn, the owner sees the cat as a cherished member of the family, but might have a busy household and more than one cat.
- Open relationship
If your cat is super independent, you might have an open relationship. Your moggy will be friendly towards you and visitors, but neither owner nor cat feels the need to be joined at the hip. The study highlights that this type of relationship doesn’t mean the owner doesn’t care for the pet however – simply, that there is little need for owner proximity. It was also found to be the most common relationship type within the sample tested, which makes sense when we consider that some cats love their independence.
- Remote relationship
We’ve all learned a lot more about remote working, shopping and even dating over the last year, but do you have a remote relationship with your cat? The study suggests ‘Cats in this type of relationship are cared for, but not typically considered to be a close friend or part of the family.’ This characterizes shy cats who tend to stay away for long periods (likely returning at dinner times!).
At Closer Pets, we celebrate all cat–owner relationships, from the remote to the co-dependent. It’s brilliant to see new studies in this area, as it will hopefully help our understanding of our feline friends and how we relate to them – and, ultimately, how we care for them.
Our cat product range is designed to support and nurture these relationships, by taking care of pets’ and owners’ needs alike. Take our automatic feeders, for example, which are perfect for all of the five relationships – even co-dependent owners aren’t always at their cat’s beck and call, and having a smart pet feeder can reduce any stress if you’re stuck in traffic at dinner time or want to go for a meal after work.