Showing love to your cat makes it MORE likely to the scratch sofa, study finds 


Claw-ful news for pet owners: Showing love to your cat makes it MORE likely to the scratch the sofa, study finds

  • Scientists surveyed 500 cat owners on their emotional bond with their cat
  • The survey also questioned their cat’s characteristics and behaviours
  • Results showed cats are more likely to scratch the sofa if they have a close emotional bond with their owner 

While cats have a reputation for being independent and unaffectionate to humans, many owners form close emotional bonds with their kitties.

But a new study may put owners off showing so much love to their cats.

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul have warned that cats are more likely to scratch the sofa if they have a close emotional bond with their owner.

‘Unexpectedly, in our study, cats with the behaviour of scratching furniture or destroying objects were associated with a higher emotional closeness level with the owner,’ the researchers wrote.

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul have warned that cats are more likely to scratch the sofa if they have a close emotional bond with their owner

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul have warned that cats are more likely to scratch the sofa if they have a close emotional bond with their owner 

Feline fat: Nearly HALF of Britain’s pet cats are now obese 

Nearly half of all pet cats in Britain are obese — and it is estimated that a whopping 54,500 of our feline friends are suffering from diabetes, vets have warned.

Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common hormonal diseases in cats, and the likelihood of felines developing the condition is strongly influenced by weight.

For cats, a diagnosis of diabetes can lead to the stress of daily injections and frequent veterinary examinations, or in many cases, sadly, euthanisation. 

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In the study, the researchers set out to understand whether the level of emotional closeness between owners and their cats affects the animal’s behaviour.

‘Evidence supports that cats’ behaviour influences the level of emotional closeness between the animals and the owners,’ the team wrote in their study, published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour.

‘In some circumstances, a bad relationship can result in neglecting, mistreating, or abandoning the animal.’

The researchers surveyed 500 cat owners in Brazil on their emotional bond with their cat, the characteristics that describe their cat, and their cat’s behaviours.

The vast majority of the participants (90 per cent) were female, and the level of emotional closeness was higher in this group than in male owners.

Factors such as having other pets and frequent visits to the vet were also directly linked to a higher level of emotional closeness.

‘No association was found between the owner’s emotional closeness level and the presence of aggression, excessive vocalization, or inappropriate elimination in the cat,’ the researchers wrote.

The vast majority of the participants (90 per cent) were female, and the level of emotional closeness was higher in this group than in male owners (stock image)

The vast majority of the participants (90 per cent) were female, and the level of emotional closeness was higher in this group than in male owners (stock image)

However, the team was surprised to find that emotional closeness appeared to be linked to scratching in cats.

‘Surprisingly, scratching furniture and destroying objects was directly associated with a higher emotional closeness in our population,’ they added.

‘Owners who did not report this behavior had a lower level of emotional closeness than those who did.’

Unfortunately, the reason for this link remains unclear. 

‘This behaviour could have been interpreted as expected and tolerable by most owners, since scratching appears to be corrected relatively less than other cats’ problem behaviors,’ the team concluded. 

Cats know the name of their owner and can also recognise the monikers of their feline friends, research shows

When it comes to pets, they are not always recognised as the friendliest or even the most sociable.

But it seems cats are less selfish than they may appear – for not only do they know the names of their owners but also those of their feline friends.

Japanese researchers looked at 48 cats which lived with at least two other pets, either in a family home or a cat cafe. 

Each animal heard a recording of their owner calling the name of a cat they lived with.

Then either a picture of that cat flashed up on a computer screen, or a picture of a different cat in their household.

The 19 cats from family homes spent longer staring at the picture when it did not show the cat whose name had been called – a common reaction if animals are surprised.

A study by Japanese researchers has suggested cats know each other's names and 'possible' those of their owners (stock image)

A study by Japanese researchers has suggested cats know each other’s names and ‘possible’ those of their owners (stock image)

A separate experiment showed cats either a picture of their owner or themselves when their name was called.

Although the 26 cats surveyed did less well overall, those living in a bigger family stared for longer when the picture and name did not match.

Authors, from Kyoto University, said the results suggest cats know each other’s names and ‘possibly’ those of their owners.

They said: ‘One possible explanation has to do with competition. 

‘A cat might receive food when the owner calls her name but not when she calls another cat’s name.’

However, cats are never in competition with humans at mealtimes so have less reason to know their names. 

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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