Why Anxious People Tend To Really Love Their Cats

Why Anxious People Tend To Really Love Their Cats

The more neurotic and anxious cat owners are, the more trust and affection they have for their cat, researchers say.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have many people feeling anxious. But if you happen to own a cat, they may be benefiting from your anxiety.

“Our study finds that anxiousness may be a positive trait to have because it is associated with trust and affection for a cat,” coauthor Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis.

“…a tendency toward negative emotions will affect any relationship, including a relationship with a cat.”

Delgado and coauthor Gretchen Reevy, a psychologist with California State University, East Bay, conducted an online, anonymous survey of 1,239 cat owners. Of the participants, 87% were female. The survey asked questions about how worthy people felt of their cat’s love, how available and trustworthy they felt their cat was, and their general feelings of affection toward their cat.

While higher scores on neuroticism and anxiety could benefit a relationship with one’s cat, the study shows that higher scores on most negative emotions, especially depression, were related to feeling less worthy of their cat’s love. Previous studies have found similar results in romantic relationships and friendships.

“If you are prone to depression, you’re seeing everything through that lens,” Delgado says. “This shows that a tendency toward negative emotions will affect any relationship, including a relationship with a cat.”


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


In contrast, the way in which negative emotions influenced feelings of trust in a relationship depended on whether the relationship was with a human or cat. In human relationships, depression decreased the feeling that a friend or partner was trustworthy.

Anger decreased the feeling that a cat was trustworthy, and anxiety increased the feeling.

Delgado says she embarked on the study to understand what can help people have a better bond with their pet. A lot of that can be influenced by human behavior.

“While we’re sheltering at home during coronavirus, our cats may be our sole companions. They’re important to our lives,” she says. “But problems with the human-cat relationship put cats at risk for ending up in animal shelters.”

Reevy says it’s important to understand that our personalities can affect how we bond with our pets.

“Cats can be wonderful companions and sources of comfort, and it looks like a person’s personality affects their tendency to appreciate, enjoy, and hopefully benefit emotionally from a relationship with a cat,” Reevy says.

The authors are currently comparing people’s romantic relationships with their relationships with their cat. People interested in participating in the study can click here to learn more.

The study appears in the journal Anthrozoös. Support for the research came from Maddie’s Fund.

Original Study

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

FROM THE EDITORS

Why Donald Trump Could Be History's Biggest Loser
by Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com
Updated July 2, 20020 - This whole coronavirus pandemic is costing a fortune, maybe 2 or 3 or 4 fortunes, all of unknown size. Oh yeah, and, hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, of people will die…
Blue-Eyes vs Brown Eyes: How Racism is Taught
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
In this 1992 Oprah Show episode, award-winning anti-racism activist and educator Jane Elliott taught the audience a tough lesson about racism by demonstrating just how easy it is to learn prejudice.
A Change Is Gonna Come...
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
(May 30, 2020) As I watch the news on the events in Philadephia and other cities in the country, my heart aches for what is transpiring. I know that this is part of the greater change that is taking…
A Song Can Uplift the Heart and Soul
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I have several ways that I use to clear the darkness from my mind when I find it has crept in. One is gardening, or spending time in nature. The other is silence. Another way is reading. And one that…
Mascot for the Pandemic and Theme Song for Social Distancing and Isolation
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf
I came across a song recently and as I listened to the lyrics, I thought it would be a perfect song as a "theme song" for these times of social isolation. (Lyrics below the video.)