Businesses conduct market research on a constant basis. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that pet-related businesses such as Mars Petcare are very interested in the habits of pet owners. For proof, look no further than a recent study carried out by Mars Petcare, which provided a number of interesting insights into U.S. cat owners.
For starters, it turns out that U.S. cat owners spend a lot of time talking with their cats, so much so that the presented number is more than 3.5 hours on a weekly basis. This is perhaps unsurprising because humans tend to anthropomorphize our pets. Something that is particularly true when we are close to our pets, which turned out to be indeed the case when it came to most U.S. cat owners.
With that said, one can’t help but wonder how well humans understand cats and vice versa. Certainly, some of the findings of the study suggest that there is still much that U.S. cat owners need to learn about cats, which is presumably true in the rest of the world as well. For example, less than one in five U.S. cat owners knew that cats needed more protein than their canine counterparts, which can be attributed to the fact that cats are obligate carnivores whereas dogs are facultative carnivores, meaning that they prefer eating a lot of meat but can survive without it. Likewise, no more than 8 percent of U.S. cat owners knew that oral issues were the most common medical issues for cats, which isn’t helped by other studies revealing that cat owners are not necessarily good at realizing whether their cats are stressed out by something or not.
On the other side, cats don’t seem to be as good as dogs at understanding humans. For proof, look at how dogs will react to humans with a separate set of behavior than what is used for other dogs, which suggests that dogs are actually capable of recognizing humans as something other than other dogs. Furthermore, there are plenty of studies showing that dogs are actually quite good at interpreting non-verbal human communication, so much so that they beat out even our closest relatives in that regard. In contrast, the current evidence suggests that cats might see humans as other cats. However, there is a plus side in that while cats seem to see humans as big cats, they don’t see humans as big, stupid, clumsy cats because most cats don’t treat inferior cats anywhere near as well as they tend to treat their human owners. Having said this, it is also important to note that while cats don’t seem to see humans as humans, they are actually more clever than what a lot of people expect. For example, cats are perfectly capable of learning which behaviors trigger which responses from humans before putting that learning to use by manipulating humans. Moreover, cats are actually capable of doing this for different humans, meaning that they know that what works for one human might not work for another.
Summed up, it is clear that there is still a communication gap between cats and humans. However, there are plenty of things that humans can do to get a better understanding of our pets, which should come as welcome news to those who want to make sure that our pets get the best treatment possible.
What Else Was Revealed?
Of course, the study revealed some other items of interest as well. For example, it is clear that U.S. cat owners are very fond of their pets, so much so that 93 percent of them claimed to have a strong connection with them. This is supported by how the majority has stated that their cats have helped them out when they were feeling either lonely or stressed out. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this might be why 81 percent of U.S. cat owners also stated that they paid attention to the happiness of their cats, though as stated earlier, their efforts to care for their pets are hampered somewhat by an imperfect understanding of the same. On the whole, while the study was most important for pet-related businesses, it provided cat owners with a fair amount of useful and interesting information as well.