Study Says Dogs Love Their Owners 5 Times More Than Cats Do
Okay dog owners, time to say “I told you so.”
The numbers all come down to a chemical present in the brain called oxytocin. Also known as the love hormone, oxytocin is released during times of bonding, when a mother is feeding her newborn, for example.
Scientists decided to see how this “love hormone” affects the pet-owner relationship by testing the oxytocin levels of cats and dogs before and after they saw their owners. Researchers took a saliva sample from a group of felines and canines, let the pets play with their owners for ten minutes, and then they took another sample.
Both showed an increase of the good stuff after seeing their favorite human, but pooches showed a much bigger boost in oxytocin. The dogs had a 57.2 percent increase in oxytocin levels after interacting with owners, while the cats only clocked an average increase of 12 percent.
Before dog owners get too smug, it’s important to note that canines also outperformed many humans. The average person shows a 40-60 percent rise in oxytocin after interacting with their spouse or child.
“I was really surprised to discover that dogs produced such high levels of oxytocin,” said neuroscientist Dr. Paul Zak, who examined the results. “It was also a nice surprise to discover that cats produce any at all. At least some of the time, cats seem to bond with their owners.”