Are cats as loyal as dogs?

by Nadine Oraby

Here’s a joke:

Most of the dogs are loyal to their masters, but most of the masters are loyal to their cats. Between cats and dogs, loyalty is the real question.

In this blog post we are going to answer the long forgone question; are cats loyal? And if they are, are they as loyal as dogs?

Here’s your answer:

Yes, cats are loyal, but they are not as loyal as dogs. It’s something about cats’ psychology; unlike dogs, they are autonomous beings. While they care for you; they don’t obey you.

If you keep reading you’ll understand that cats love humans in their own complex way.

Are Cats Loyal? Maybe!

Are they or aren’t they, that is the question.

The problem starts with the comparison. Do you remember that famous book: “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus”? Same is the problem with cats and dogs; they are not the same.

The problem lies in how different cats and dogs are. Here are a few important points for you to consider:

  • The cat belongs to the Felidae family of animals. Under this family come animals like cats, big wild cats, jaguars and leopards, lions and tigers and similar other animals.
  • The dog belongs to Canidae family of animals. Under this family come all kinds of dogs, wolves, coyote and similar animals.
  • Since both families are different, their biological traits are also different. For example, dogs move in packs and there is always an alpha dog to lead the pack. On the contrary, the lion is perhaps the only cat that attacks in a pack; otherwise, a cat is a lone ranger. Since cats do not move in a pack, they do not have an alpha.
  • This means that when a dog befriends a bigger animal or a human being, his psychology makes him believe that that human is alpha and he must obey that human. On the contrary, when a cat is adopted by a human, she takes them like a friend. She takes care of them, she can be found worried for them, she may even move the mountains to bring help; but she does not get into a master-slave relationship.
  • A cat is loyal in terms of care and help, but not in terms of blindly obeying you just like a dog.

Is that all? Nope … keep reading!

Researcher Explains Why Cats May Like Their Owners as Much as Dogs

Cats Are Autonomous Beings

Believe it or not: But cats are freer than you think; they are autonomous beings. This means that they need you just as much as you need them.

A pro tip to make a cat loyal to you is to be loyal to them and their needs. You like it or not, but they’re kind of “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” kind of animal.

You cannot play your favorite “fetch the ball” thing with your cat; while a dog will immediately leap to get the thing, a cat would look into your eyes as though you said something extremely stupid.

Equality is the key here. In order to win a cat’s heart and trick her into loyalty, you need to first take the role of a caretaker and provider.

With time cats will learn to appreciate this and return with affection if not loyalty.

A Cat’s Kind of Loyalty

What if:

Cats are already loyal to their owners, but the biased dog-people are not willing to understand it?

Here is this thing – reverting to the cat psychology’s maze – cats are loyal in their own different ways.

They are not animals of the pack so they do not obey you (cuz you’re not an Alpha, duh), but they do know when someone loves them and cares for them.

So what’s cat’s kind of loyalty? Cat’s are loyal to their owners but in a different way. They would show their bally, purr at you, lick your toe or just rub their cheeks to show that they love you.

Excuse me for the example, but think of a dog as a submissive spouse and think of a cat as one who’d take first and give later.

Once cats know that you treat them equally (actually more than equally because you give first), they accept you as a family member and act like a loyal partner (not slave).

How attached are cats to their owners?

Hold Science for a Second – Here are Some Cat Loyalty Stories

Do you know what beats rumor? True, reliable, and provable news.

Here are some stories of some loyal cats; they checked all the loyalty boxes that a dog would check.

Fancy reading those stories? Here you go:

  • Tara – Irony! In this story, a dog attacks a human kid and family cat Tara was the first one to fiercely attack the dog and save the kid. Loyal enough?
  • Pudding – Cute name! Amy Jung adopted this cat from a shelter and took Pudding home. That same night Jung had a seizure in sleep; Pudding woke her up to call her son.
  • Pwditat – strange name and a strange story! Terfel was a pet dog and with the passage of time, he lost his eyesight. Pwditat was a stray cat that won her place in the family because she started guiding blind dogs from point A to B.

Doesn’t this sound like a parallel universe; a cat saving a kid from a dog, a cat playing the role of a caretaker dog, and a cat caretaking a dog?

Science, Cats, and Loyalty


So, while we’re toying with the prehistoric nature of these animals, the nature of their relationship with human beings, and the scale of dependence, there is a much bigger factor – science.

Here is what science says about how loyal are the cats:

  • A cat’s love and affection with you starts with providing, but then it grows into a sincere relationship. A study at the University of London found that while your dog will have a binding relationship with you a cat sets you free whenever you need it.
  • Why cats are not as responsive as dogs? A Japanese study proves that cats can listen to you, but they are not wired to run and fetch the ball.
  • Researchers believe that dogs are selfishly obsessed with humans, while cats have a mature relationship.
  • Research says that when a cat rubs against your leg, it is more than just showing affection; they actually mark their territory, which means as long as you are with them (or you come back), they are possessive of you.

So yeah … when she rubs her cheeks, it is more than loyalty.

Some More Scientific Evidence – This Time Against Our Notion

So, we believe (at last) that cats are loyal to human beings, but they have their own way of showing affection and loyalty.

I even compiled scientific evidence and true stories to prove to you that: yes, cats are loyal, and yes, their way to show loyalty can be mostly different.


There is this scientific evidence to reject the notion that we have nurtured by now; it is better to take a look at it before we jump to the conclusion.

  • Research at the University of Lincoln proved that cats prefer to look for themselves and they do not rely much on humans.
  • However, to some, it was good news for cat lovers. It meant that while cats can do good on their own, they still come back to you because a) they love you, b) they want to make sure that you’re fine (loyalty).

Introvert vs. Extrovert

The last angle to add to our comparison and study of cat loyalty is that of how social a cat or a dog’s life is.

While dogs are made for a party and they are extrovert animals, a cat can most astutely be categorized as an introvert or a solitary reaper.

Due to this big difference between the psychological frameworks of both animals, cats are not able to act the way dogs do and vice versa.

This is why dogs know how to express love and loyalty, and they are thus known as “man’s best friends”, while cats are known as an animal that takes more and gives less.


Cats just don’t know how to show it. They have their own ways to show it and we cannot expect them to say “I love you” in dog language.


Forming a conclusion in my mind, here I am sharing the most frequently asked questions on the topic:

How to make my cat-friendly/loyal? At the beginning of your relationship, take it as a date. Give more and expect very less. Show affection by feeding, providing shelter and toys, and by talking to your kitty.

Do cats care about their owners? Yes, they do. With research and with cat loyalty stories I proved that cats care about you, but in a different way.

Are cats protective of their owners? Yes, there is a story that I shared above and many others in which the cat saved a human life.

How long my cat can remember me? Surprisingly, a cat’s memory is 200 times better than a dog; but your cat will only remember you if you were kind to her.

In the end, I’ve got nothing to say, but one thing – what goes around comes around. If you love your cat, she’ll love you too.

Researches with opposite findings actually prove the same point; yes, your cat cares for you, but it does not act like a dog that always needs “babysitting”.

So what do you think.. are cats loyal? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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