Some years ago, we got it into our heads that cats are untrainable, independent, unaffectionate creatures that see humans as nothing more than kibble dispensers.
When it comes to the pet of choice, many people turn away from the cat in favor of the dog, citing all the undesirable traits of the cat and the easy, unaffecting nature of the dog. While any cat owner who takes time to learn their cat's personality will disagree with the wild claims of unaffection, the stigma persists.
However, a new study released in August 2017 opens this discussion and provides evidence that everything we once thought about the unaffectionate nature of cats is false. The study sampled cats from the housecat and the shelter cat pools to measure their social interaction preferences among food, toys, and human contact.
After independently determining the favored items in the food and toy categories and the preferred mode of human interaction, the items were presented to the cats as well as was the opportunity for the cats to seek the human for social interaction once again. The study concluded with cats of both pools choosing human social interaction over the favored food and toy items more often than not.
The cat study points to a reality that most cat lovers already knew; that cats, while independent-minded, are also, highly affectionate with people. The reason for why people under-rate the domestic cat as a "good pet" is most likely because people don't understand the personal preferences or the communication of cats. Each cat is unique and is excited by specific conditions. They are also more likely to hide their emotions and physical pain, making it difficult to understand what motivates them best.
The key to unlocking your cat's affection is in understanding your communication with her. Spend quiet time learning her preferences and subtle cues. When she shows you love with a head bunt or by wrapping her tail around you, consider her current environment and what may have induced the display of affection. Dogs are simple creatures and readily show their emotions and desires to their owners, but cats do not. Perhaps this is why dogs are the preferred choice of some many people. However, taking time to learn and understand the motivation of a cat can be a meaningful challenge with a big payoff.