Science Confirms It: Cats Don’t Love Us

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Photo: Roy McMahon/Corbis

People really love their cats. They're friends to the friendless, four-legged furry pillows of comfort. We've all been suspicious that they maybe don't like us, but we ignore those thoughts and love them anyway. Well, science now confirms what we've always known in our hearts to be true: Cats are loners, rebels, the James Deans of pets — frosty, unemotional little jerks who are just going to ignore you.

A new study from the University of Tokyo found that when researchers played voice recordings of a cat's name being called by its owner, the feline subject displayed recognition, i.e., reacting to the familiar voice by "moving their heads and ears to locate the sound," but then remained totally unresponsive — they didn't meow or move toward the voice or anything. They just sat there, withholding love.

The study, published in the journal of Animal Cognition, reasons that cats haven't been domesticated to respond to human command. But we know the heartbreaking truth: Love your cat, love it well, but never expect it to really care about you unless you put it on one of those weird harness leashes and force it to be more like a dog.