Five different forms of cat-owner relationship have been identified: from ‘Open Relationship’ to ‘Friendship’

Five different forms of cat-owner relationship have been identified: from 'Open Relationship' to 'Friendship'

Research , conducted by researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK, and involving nearly 4,000 cat owners who responded to a series of statements about their own behavior and that of their pets, suggests that there are five ways to engage with cats. cats

The categories can be used for the human-cat or cat-human relationship. These relationships are what people might categorize as: ‘Open relationship’, ‘Remote association’, ‘Casual relationship’, ‘Co-dependency’ and ‘Friendship’.


  • Open relationship : characterized by a slightly emotionally involved owner and an elusive cat.
  • Remote Association and Casual Relationship – Involved a relatively emotionally distant owner, but other people’s acceptance of the cat was different.
  • Co-dependent and Friendship had emotionally engaged owners, but again the cat’s acceptance of others varied, as did the need for the cat to stay close to its owner.

The questionnaire was developed to collect information on different emotional elements that could sustain the relationship . These included the cat’s potential perception of the owner as a secure base in a home, the owner’s level of commitment to the cat, his sensitivity to the cat’s needs, and the consistency of the owner’s interactions with the cat.

The University of Lincoln has launched a new interactive questionnaire for cat owners to find out what kind of relationship they have . According to Daniel Mills, an animal behavior specialist at the University of Lincoln:

Cats form close emotional relationships with humans, but little is actually known about this. As with any complex social relationship, the type of bond between the cat and the owner is the product of the dynamics between the two individuals involved, along with their certain personality traits. While many cats can be aloof, it seems this is not as common as it might be portrayed. The cat’s broader sociability and owner expectations can be significant, and the owner’s level of emotional investment in the cat and the cat’s sociability appear to be particularly important in discriminating what type of relationship they have together.