Wednesday 16 February 2022

Women predestined to be the main human partner in human-cat relationships

Claudia Mertens, a Swiss scientist, decided that women are predestined to be the main human partner in human-cat relationships. They observed human-cat interactions in home settings in Switzerland. They observed these relationships for a total of 504 hours. The participants included 162 persons and 72 cats.

Women predestined to be the main human partner in human-cat relationships
Women predestined to be the main human partner in human-cat relationships. Photo: Pixabay.

When people were more often in the home the human-cat dyad increased. That is to be expected. By the way, a "dyad" is, in this instance, the partnership between one cat and one person.

However, when either the man or the woman was home more often in equal amounts, it is the woman who is more likely to interact with the family cat. In other words, the increase in interactions for men and women who were at home more often was more substantial for the women than for the men.

RELATED: Talk and touch, two reasons why cats tend to prefer women.

They also decided that the woman-cat dyads were the best based upon reciprocity of interactions; i.e. the best interactions in terms of quality occurred when women interacted with the family cat compared to either juveniles or men.

At the other end of the spectrum, they decided that the juvenile-cat interactions were the worst. I'm going to make a presumption and say that this is based upon breakdowns in the interactions in which both the juvenile human and the cat gained less from the meet up.

That, too, does not surprise me. It seems to be pointing to the fact that women are gentler and more sensitive towards cats and perhaps they enjoy the presence of cats more than men while juveniles are less delicate and caring in general. I can envisage slightly careless interactions in which the cat perhaps became disgruntled.

I don't have access to the full study and therefore I am writing this having read the summary which is why I have to speculate a little bit as to the conclusions.

The conclusion is perhaps obvious namely that women desire interactions with the family cat more than men and juveniles and when they do the quality of those interaction were higher than for both men and juveniles.

This reinforces the belief that women are more likely to prefer a cat companion while men are more likely to prefer a dog companion. Although that is a stereotype. In this instance the stereotype appears to be accurate.

Clearly, the quality of interactions and a cat's behaviour depends on other factors such as the ambience in the family home and the comings and goings in the home by which I mean now settled or unsettled it is.

The results of the study do not preclude the fact that there are many millions of male human-to-cat relationships which are superior to the general standard of the women-cat relationships. The point I am making is that the study indicates a trend towards women being predestined to the main human partner but that does not mean men cannot and do not enjoy great partnerships.

The study: Human-Cat Interactions in the Home Setting. Published online: 27 Apr 2015 on the Taylor and Francise Online website.

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