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Cats get the bad rep for being the less affectionate of our four-legged pets, but if you’re a cat owner, you know it’s far from the truth. In fact, cats can be the most loving and loyal companions you can have, and new research is here to back it up….

In a new study conducted by Oregon State University, researchers presented 50 felines with four stimuli: human interaction, food, toy, and scent. This study was done in conjunction with dogs, but it was the behavior of the felines that peeked researcher’s interest: across the board, cats were drawn to the social interaction first, even after being deprived of all four for a few hours. It even rang true for shelter cats, too.

So why it is such common belief that cats are not very personable? “This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for,” states the author of the study. We have the tendency, as pet owners, to compare our felines to canines, but maybe that’s where we’re getting it wrong – after all, they couldn’t be any more different (their ways of communicating love and affection are vastly different, too!). While it comes as no surprise that kitties do, actually, seek human contact, we love the attention this study is bringing to the media.

And just for fun, here are some wonderful photos of cats, because we couldn’t love the creatures any more than we already do.