Cats are loved by humans because of their loyalty, affection and intelligence.
But cats are also misunderstood and misused by some people, according to research by the University of British Columbia and the University at Buffalo.
The findings were published online Tuesday in the journal Animal Behaviour.
The research is based on the premise that people who dislike cats are often not aware that they’re misusing them, said lead author and psychology professor of psychology at the University At Buffalo, Steven F. Sommers.
But there’s also a stigma associated with cats that people don’t seem to be aware of.
Sixty-two percent of respondents said they’d heard a lot of negative things about cats in the past month, including people using cats as a pet, being cruel to cats, and not understanding them, Sommer said.
“The more we learn about cats, the more it becomes clear that we need to educate people about the relationship between humans and cats.”
Somms and his co-authors surveyed 2,000 Canadian adults and found that 42 per cent said they’ve been told negative things by a family member or friend about cats.
A quarter of the people said they have heard negative things from a pet store or animal rights group.
One in four people said their friends have misused or misused cats and had heard about them.
“We found that people are quite likely to misinterview cats, even if they have never interacted with them,” Sommes said.
SOMERS’ ANSWERS TO THE PROBLEM OF MISINTERPRETATION: “What I would say is that people tend to underestimate how much they understand cats and how much it takes to understand a cat.”
The research was based on a series of surveys that Sommets, a professor in the department of psychology and a doctoral student at the university, conducted on Canadians and Americans.
In the first survey, conducted in August, Somsers asked respondents how they felt about the public perception of cats, whether they were aware of cats’ missteps and how often they were abused.
In addition, the survey asked people if they had ever been in an abusive relationship, a relationship that involved cat ownership or ownership of a cat.
“What we found was that people generally have some sort of negative view of cats,” Somser said in an interview.
“They are a pet and people love cats, but they have some misperceptions about cats.”
In a second survey, completed earlier this year, Somes and his team asked about the misperception of cats and the relationship of cats to humans, as well as their relationship to dogs and other animals.
“These results suggest that there is some stigma associated [with] cat ownership, which leads people to assume that they are misusing cats, as opposed to understanding them and having a positive relationship with cats,” the authors wrote.
The third and final survey was conducted on September 2.
The researchers found that a third of respondents (33 per cent) reported that they had misinterpreted or misunderstood cat behavior, even though they didn’t actually own or interact with the cat.
About a quarter (24 per cent of respondents) reported misinterpretation or misunderstanding of their cat’s behaviour.
“This suggests that the perception of the misconstrued behavior may be influenced by social context,” Somes said.
In response to the third survey, Some said the responses were representative of the general population, although the responses of some respondents may be skewed.
“It seems like it’s important to remember that the misinterpretation of cats is a very common misperceived behavior, so it’s not uncommon for people to be misinterpresenting,” Soman said.
It may not be the case that misinteraction is a rare occurrence, Soman added.
The study found that cats can be trained to do things people don and shouldn’t do, like sit in a safe, well-lit room and stay in their own space.
The cats in question, the researchers said, were trained to sit on the floor.
“Cats are not just for entertainment.
Cats are important because they can help us manage stress, for example,” Soma said.
However, “cat training can be dangerous if we don’t know how to treat them right,” Somer said.
The authors also noted that a pet may not always be able to be trained in a way that meets their needs.
“A dog may not have the same skills that a cat has, and cats may not know what they’re doing, which may lead to misbehavior.”
SOMES SAYS SOME PEOPLE WILL NOT RESPOND TO FACTS OF FARMERS AND CATS: “If you’re not aware of how cats are used, you may not respond to these concerns, which is a concern for me,” Somas said.
He said the findings highlight the need for people, both in the public and private sector, to learn more about how to manage and care for cats.
“When you’re working