Many Wonder If Cats Feel Love But Cat Lovers Already Know The Truth

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on March 2, 2021

Do cats feel love?

Of course, they do. Just don’t tell anyone! After all, felines have a reputation as cold overlords, and they’ve worked hard to craft it. But if you’re smitten with a cat, you know the hidden truth.

Cats definitely feel love. All the headbutts, slow blinks, and purr-filled hugs certainly prove feline love! And for anyone who doesn’t believe it, scientific study has the data to back up the claim.

So, the secret might just be out. Cats aren’t the aloof and distant beings many believe them to be. Kitties are actually snuggly little bugs who love their people just as much as we love them.

Chemical Proof

In the BBC2 documentary, Cats v. Dogs: Which is Best?, hosts Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin explored the age-old question of feline or canine, examining whether cats or dogs feel more love for their people.

But how does one measure love?

Like humans, cats and dogs both produce oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone.’

“We have pretty good evidence that dogs actually love their humans,” according to Dr. Paul Zak, the neuroscientist behind the love study. “A couple of small-scale studies have shown that when owners interact with their dogs, the human and their dog appear to release oxytocin.”

Armed with this knowledge, Dr. Zak set out to find just how much oxytocin cats and dogs produce when it comes to their humans.

To conduct the study, Dr. Zak sampled oxytocin levels in the saliva of 10 dogs and 10 cats twice. The first sample was taken 10 minutes before a playtime session between pet parent and animal. A second saliva sample was taken as soon as playtime wrapped up.

So, how did the furry score?

As a baseline, Dr. Zak explained, “When we see our spouse or child, the levels in our bloodstream typically rise by 40-60 percent.”

Cats showed a 12% increase in oxytocin after playing with their human.

Dogs’ oxytocin levels rose by 57.2%.

While dogs seem to love humans more than cats do, Dr. Zac said it was “a nice surprise to discover that cats produce any at all.”

This was the first time anyone had examined the oxytocin levels of cats, but the study proved, “at least some of the time, cats seem to bond with their owners.”

But as we well know, comparing cats and dogs is like comparing apples and oranges. Each have their own charms, and it’s better to just love them for their many differences. Including the feline need to keep their love under wraps!

Sorry kitties, your humans aren’t keeping secrets anymore. We’re telling everyone you love us!

Feature Image: @francopants/Instagram & @pawsbabi/Instagram

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