Worldwide, domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) outnumber domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Despite cats' success in human environments, dog social cognition has received considerably more scientific attention over the last several decades [1-3]. A key aspect of what has been said to make dogs unique is their proclivity for forming attachment bonds, including secure attachments to humans [1,3], which could provide scaffolding for the development of human-like socio-cognitive abilities and contribute to success in human environments . Cats, like dogs, can be found living in social groups or solitarily, depending on early developmental factors, resource distribution, and lifetime experiences such as human interaction [1,2,4]. Despite fewer studies, research suggests we may be underestimating cats' socio-cognitive abilities . Here we report evidence, using behavioral criteria established in the human infant literature [5,6], that cats display distinct attachment styles toward human caregivers. Evidence that cats share social traits once attributed to dogs and humans alone would suggest that broader non-canine-specific mechanisms may be needed to explain cross-species attachment and socio-cognitive abilities.
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