What explains the attraction of felines for humans? Could it be due to their seemingly capricious nature? And what is their effect on human health? This special file leads the investigation.

Why are you so attached to your cat, and what could it mean for your health? When people say they love cats, that love can be intense. For many, a feline friend is a singularly trustworthy confidant and a comforting presence in times of solitude. But are these close relationships psychologically or physically healthy? Geneticists, infectious disease experts, psychologists and others have come up with several theories about why cats resonate so strongly with some people and what effects felines can have on the health of their humans. .

An old connection

According to DNA analysis, the ancestor of today’s domestic cat was the African wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica, which lived in the Fertile Crescent, at the intersection of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Levant and Persia ancient. While it seems likely that our bond with felines began around 9,500 years ago in the Near East, the earliest evidence of a mutual relationship between cats and humans dates back 5,300 years to the farming village of Quanhucun. , in China. Egyptians were known to believe that their feline companions embodied divine energy.

Cats were domesticated as commensals: They approached human settlements because there was food: concentrated rodents thriving on grain accumulations. They adapted to this specific human environment, which was an evolutionary advantage for them. Humans had a real interest in having cats around. They were just happy for the cats to feast on the rodents destroying their grain.

One study found that there were at least 13 feline genes that signaled the transition of cats from “feral to friendly.” These genes are linked to cognition and behavior, and may have enhanced the felines’ ability to learn from food rewards, and to feel less fearful of humans. The widespread geographical proliferation of cats probably occurred in the Middle Ages;

What people like in cats

the discriminating behavior of felines could be irresistible to humans. The subtle and somewhat unpredictable responses cats give us make us feel like we’re chosen, or seen as “special” when a cat response occurs. And because the nature and timing of their actions are less predictable, we can remain captivated, almost in an addictive way. It’s also possible, according to some research, that we can’t help but find felines cute because of the characteristics they share with human babies. We react instinctively to their big eyes and playful demeanor, an evolutionarily beneficial response that has allowed us to care for our little ones.

No discussion of the appeal of cats can exclude mention of their often hilarious comedic prowess. Kittens, in particular, invest unbridled energy, and far less planning, in their play. Adult cats can be just as silly and entertaining. Sometimes it’s high-speed antics, and other times it’s endearing oddities…is there a reason nine hair ties are hidden under the desk rug?

Read a cat

Cats have an unjustified reputation for being mysterious and aloof due to the unique and sometimes subtle ways in which they express their feelings. A cat’s face may appear attractive, or grumpy, as the case may be, but it’s actually fixed and largely devoid of expression. Their tail also does not wag to signal their excitement or pleasure. Recent research suggests that their temperament may nonetheless be closer to that of eager-to-please dogs than many realize.

Similarly, the vocalizations of cats, which are very numerous, range from meows and hisses, through the chirping of birds through a window, to deep meows that freeze the blood and announce a fight. Some vocalizations are clearly meant to communicate with humans, such as the breakfast time meow. However, cats mostly seem to “talk” or mumble to themselves. Despite this, felines have many ways to signal their feelings through other behaviors.

Headbutting and Marking

For people they like or are interested in, cats often offer to butt on outstretched fingers or a pant leg. This behavior serves two purposes.

First, they leave behind pheromones secreted by cheek glands, marking you as their own. Second, especially in the case of pant legs, they collect olfactory information about your interactions with other animals if they find you worthy of examination.

Purrs

People often think that a purr is a sure sign of pure happiness, but it’s not. Cats in distress may also purr. Some experts suggest that a cat can make this soothing sound to comfort themselves in difficult times. Some have speculated that a purr may even have healing properties. The hum occurs both on inspiration and exhalation, producing a hum of 20 to 150 Herz. It is unclear exactly how they achieve this.

Stay close to yourself

Often the presence of a cat is the best sign that it likes you, this is especially true for shy cats. A feline will stay away from a person who does not interest or worry him.

The eyes

Feline eyes are always quite large, but when they get very large, sometimes with their irises dilated, they can signal a state of hyperarousal or perceived threat.
Researchers recently confirmed what some cat lovers have long suspected: To make peace with a cat, offer it a very slow blink. It’s like saying, “I feel safe enough with you to close my eyes, and you should feel the same.”

Mustaches

Although they are made of keratin, the same substance as hair, cat whiskers are much more than that. Whiskers are specialized tactile organs, each with 100 to 200 nerve cells that provide the cat with information about anything they brush against.

Whiskers can also signal a feline’s mood. When a cat is relaxed, they extend beyond the side of its face. When a cat is happy or excited, such as being gently petted, they point forward in a tight little arc of pleasure. The whiskers are tucked up against the cat’s face when worried.

How Cats Affect Their Owners’ Health

Researchers have found that living with a cat has health benefits on a physical level and, more importantly, on a psychological level, provided you are not allergic to cats.
A 2009 study, for example, found that people who had owned a cat had a lower risk of dying from a heart attack than people who had never owned a cat.

In a 2011 survey by the UK Cat Welfare Organization, 93.7% of respondents said that owning a cat had benefited their mental health. And a study has shown that living with multiple pets, including cats, can reduce a child’s likelihood of developing allergies.

Positive psychological effects

Cats give us attention, ease our loneliness, bring us comfort, fun and play, affection, and a unique and special permission to pet them and keep them in our lap, which, we as we know, releases oxytocin, which in turn suppresses the production of cortisol, a stress hormone.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.