There has been a debate amongst pet owners stretching back centuries – the debate asks one simple question: cats or dogs.
It has divided people and a lot of owners claim to be either a dog person or cat person, and never the two shall mix. Although humans either love cats or dogs, neuroscientists have now discovered which species actually loves us more.
This finding was recently discussed in-depth on the BBC2 show ‘Cats v. Dogs’ hosted by animal lovers and displaying findings from neuroscientists who, until recently, had only done a ‘love’ test on dogs.
It’s fairly well-known that dogs release oxytocin, the love hormone when they have been around somebody that they are particularly fond of.
Neuroscientist Dr. Paul Zak took saliva samples from 10 dogs and 10 cats following a session where the household pets spent time playing with their owners in order to test the oxytocin production. The results, whilst not at all surprising, showed that cats do indeed release oxytocin much as humans and dogs do, but this only rose by 12%, whereas dogs experienced an increase of 57.2%.
Dr. Paul Zak went on to explain, “I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin… the dog level of 57.2 percent is a very powerful response. It shows these dogs really care about their owners. It was also a nice surprise to discover that cats produce any at all. At least some of the time, cats seem to bond with their owners.”
There have been many articles and studies published within this field, such as this article which explores how faithful dogs and cats are and which is the more loyal species. There have also been studies (1) carried out into the oxytocin production in dogs and how it makes them more social with one another.
Additionally, there have been studies (2) into how cats don’t bond with humans the way we might hope – which is an interesting article given the results of Dr. Paul Zak’s study.
What do you think about research in this field? Are you a cat or dog person? Or, if you consider yourself both – we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Do you feel more of a bond with your dog or with your cat? Let us know.