Purina Research Reveals Cats Are Better At Reading The Room Than We Think

In this study, recently published in the journal Animal Cognition, cats were given a solvable task (an easily accessible treat in a loose-lid container) and an impossible task (a treat in a closed container) in the presence of either attentive or inattentive caregiver.

In the solvable task condition, cats easily figured out how to access the treat and did not attempt to involve the person in the process. However, when cats were unable to access the treat themselves, they used behavioral strategies to convey their intent to the person, e.g. As well as asking for help, they changed their behavior based on the person’s availability. If the person was looking at them and paying attention, the cats were more engaged; they looked at her earlier and more often and approached the treat container more often. If the caregivers were not paying attention, the cats adjusted their strategy, presumably after realizing that the person was not engaged. It was believed that these sophisticated cognitive skills were used by dogs, not cats.

“Communication is an important part of any relationship, and this study shows that cats may be better communicators than we thought they’d be,” said François Martin, MA, Ph.D., director of Applied Behavioral and Animal Welfare Research at Purina and lead the Purina scientist on the project. “The more attentive a cat owner is, the more engaged their cat will be, which strengthens their relationship.”

This study complements the decades of research by Purina animal behaviorists to better understand the behavior, emotional development, and health of cats and dogs.

“The more we understand about pet behavior and the factors that contribute to their general well-being, the better current and future pet owners will be at looking after their dogs and cats in ways that bond together.” said Martin.

Learn more about this study at https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-021-01503-6

About Purina
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering science-based nutritional innovations. Purina makes some of the world’s most trusted and popular grooming products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast, and Tidy Cats. Our 8,700+ US employees pride ourselves on our trusted pet food, treat, and bedding brands that feed 51 million dogs and 65 million cats each year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians and animal care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition.

Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products, and our support for pet-related organizations. In the past five years, Purina has done more than $ 150 million to organizations that bring and keep people and pets together, as well as organizations that help our communities and our environment thrive.

Purina is part of Nestlé, a global leader in nutrition, health and wellness. For more information, visit purina.com or subscribe here to get the latest Purina news.

SOURCE Nestlé Purina PetCare

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