Cats – and Attachment to Cats!

Most of you may know that I got a trio of cats in the last couple of years. Two from the same litter in 2021 (Luna & Tiggy), and one in 2022 (Tux).

I thought to explore this huge attachment that I seem to have to these little creatures that now dominate my house.

Attachment to cats is a deep and meaningful connection that many people develop with these furry companions. Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, and their unique qualities often make them beloved members of households around the world.
I looked at some aspects of attachment to cats that many cat owners may experience.

Cats are known for their independent yet affectionate nature. They often provide companionship to their owners, offering a sense of comfort and emotional support. Many people form strong bonds with their cats, finding solace in their presence. I often have these cats sit on top of me or around me when alone at home and I find their furry presence of huge consolation when having a dark moment.

Cats are known for their ability to form strong bonds with their human caregivers. They can show affection in various ways, such as purring, kneading, and headbutting. The unconditional love that cats provide can create a deep sense of attachment. Well, conditional on food. But still, lots of love, contrary to many cartoons you will see.

Studies have shown that interacting with cats can have positive effects on human mental health. The act of petting a cat can release oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and reducing stress. Cats often sense their owners’ moods and can provide comfort during difficult times. Furthermore, they are playful and funny – that entertainment alone can lead to improved moods.

Cats thrive on routine, and their daily care becomes a structured part of their owners’ lives. This routine can provide a sense of purpose and stability, contributing to a strong attachment. I have managed to create structure around their feeding times and cleaning their litter – as well as the time dedicated to play with them.

Cats are non-judgmental and accepting of their owners – they are stoic beings. They don’t criticize or make demands, creating a safe and comforting environment. This lack of judgment can lead to a deep sense of trust and attachment. Cats are very good at accepting their life and while some may think that cats will go into a funny mood if you’ve left them alone, if they are treated well those moods won’t last long.

Taking care of a cat involves responsibilities such as feeding, grooming, and providing healthcare. This sense of responsibility and purpose can enhance the bond between a person and their cat. The cat is the cared-for being which gives the responsible owner a sense of contribution to a good cause – the life of a cat.

Cats are playful animals, and engaging in interactive play with them can be both entertaining and bonding. The shared moments of play can strengthen the attachment between the cat and its owner. Funny antics, as well as the scrapes that cats get into, can well help improve humour and strengthen the companionship bond.

Despite the fact that cats don’t communicate in the same way humans do, owners often develop a unique understanding of their cats’ behaviors and expressions. This silent communication can create a profound connection. Cats also understand our facial expressions even if they don’t give off that signal. Cats can be sensitive to the owner’s mood although they may not be able to display it: their own facial features are often not very telling.

The relatively longer lifespan of cats compared to some other pets allows for a more extended period of companionship. Cats can be there for their owners through different life stages, providing a constant source of support in good and bad moments.

Attachment to cats goes beyond the practical aspects of pet ownership. It involves emotional connections, mutual understanding, and the unique qualities that make cats such beloved companions.

The bond between a person and their cat can bring joy, comfort, and a sense of fulfillment to both parties involved.
By Geraldine Spiteri

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