A May 1, 2017, article in The New York Times discusses recent research in cat cognition. While the author Nicholas Bakalar references the popular belief that cats tend to be aloof and unsociable, the March 24, 2017, online report of studies from Oregon State University refutes this perception.
Investigating cat preferences among “…four categories: human social interaction, food, toy, and scent,” the study employed both pet and shelter cats. The, perhaps surprising, conclusion of the study? While individual variability was seen, the majority of both feline populations preferred attention from humans, given the established choices for interaction.
Study authors suggest that future research may use these results that indicate how cats have favorite stimuli (often human interaction!). With additional knowledge of what cats prefer as reinforcers, trainers and researchers can explore and expand feline problem-solving skills.
Read The New York Times article.
Read the study abstract at Elsevier’s ScienceDirect.com website.