Female werewolf kittens were just one example of the many feline species that are thriving on human-created habitats, as well as human-made food sources, like pet food, pet treats, and toys.
These feline-themed items are often marketed as part of the ‘cat-inspired’ lifestyle, as opposed to the ‘human-created’ one, as is often the case with most consumer goods.
But in a study published by Cornell University, scientists found that the cats who sat on their backs in the pet food and toys section were actually just as good as the cats in the natural environment at keeping them company.
“The more time that cats spend on their back, the more their bodies respond to the tactile stimulation,” study author Michael Hirsch, a professor of psychology at Cornell, told The Huffington New York.
“They are responding to touch and to other objects, to touch in the form of grooming, to other human-directed stimulation.
So cats who sit on their haunches are responding better to the stimulation of their back.”
While the cats’ natural-likes of food and treats are no doubt attractive to some of the humans in their households, the cats were actually responding to these stimulation-inducing stimuli when they were in the artificial environment, Hirsch said.
The researchers also discovered that the natural-likeness of the toys helped the cats maintain a balance of body weight, which is another way in which they may be responding to the natural experience.
“This is another finding that is not really surprising, but also important,” Hirsch told HuffPost.
“It suggests that we may be using cats as social surrogates.”
For example, a study earlier this year showed that a cat named Cheerios has developed an appetite for the same kinds of food that a human would, and is now the third-most popular cat in the U.S. with a pet food popularity of more than 50 percent.