If you’ve ever thought that your cat would choose treats over your companionship any day, you’re not alone, but a new study suggests otherwise. The Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University conducted a study and found that, contrary to popular belief, cats preferred interaction with humans over food.
In the study, researchers observed the behavior of adult pet and shelter cats. Researchers then presented the cats with four different kinds of stimuli — human social interaction, food, toys, and scents — and recorded the time of interaction with each stimulus.
Results showed that the most preferred stimulus of both cat populations was interaction with humans. The second preferred stimulus was food.
According to the authors of the study, future studies regarding felines can observe how preferred stimuli can be used as “enrichment” and also see how motivated cats are to work for their favorite stimulus.