Science has a way of making us think about our dogs in ways we wouldn’t otherwise think. But who would have thought that one of the coolest things we can learn about our dogs comes from something scientists just learned about cats?
Recently we learned that dogs’ bodies produce oxytocin when in the presence of their human counterparts. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for the human sensation of love. The levels of oxytocin in humans have been measured to show we produce more of it at certain times, like when we’re with our mates or offspring, or when we look at pictures like this:
The testing of dog levels of oxytocin revealed they get big bursts of the hormone every time they make eye contact with their bonded humans. So science basically told us, “Hey, your dogs really do love you. We checked, and the test came back positive.”
Cats also produce oxytocin in the presence of their humans, but their levels are far below those of dogs. In fact, dog levels of oxytocin were on average FIVE TIMES HIGHER THAN A CATS.
Neuroscientist Dr Paul Zak, who assessed the results of the test, said it best in an article on Metro: “It was… a nice surprise to discover that cats produce [oxytocin] at all. At least some of the time, cats seem to bond with their owners.”
But in defense of cats, dog levels of oxytocin are ridiculously high. So high that the results suggest dogs love us even more than we love other humans. What should we make of those results?