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LifestyleCats prefer free food rather than working for it: Study

Cats prefer free food rather than working for it: Study

Published: 23rd Aug 2021 4:53 pm

Washington: During a new study, researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine found that cats would rather eat from a tray of easily available food rather than work out a simple puzzle to get their meal. This showed that most domestic cats choose not to work for their food, a behaviour called contra freeloading.

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When given the choice between a free meal and performing a task for a meal, cats would prefer the meal that doesn’t require much effort. While that might not come as a surprise to some cat lovers, it does to cat behaviourists. Most animals prefer to work for their food.

“There is an entire body of research that shows that most species including birds, rodents, wolves, primates- even giraffes- prefer to work for their food,” said lead author Mikel Delgado, a cat behaviourist and research affiliate at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “What’s surprising is out of all these species cats seem to be the only ones that showed no strong tendency to contra freeload.”

The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition.

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