It’s been proven over and over that having a pet you love, typically a dog or cat, can do great things for your health: lower your blood pressure, relieve stress, reduce the risk of heart attack, improve sleep, and provide emotional support. So it would make sense you’d want the pet that could give you the most love in return—but which one is that?
Well, if you can believe one new scientific study, the answer’s simple: Dogs love their owners almost five times more than cats do.
In the experiment, run by American neuro-economist Paul Zak, Ph.D., for a British documentary, dogs and cats were separated from their owners and their saliva was tested for oxytocin, the “love hormone” humans and animals produce when they feel affection. Owners and pets then spent 10 minutes playing together, after which the oxytocin levels were tested again.
And there it was: The dogs’ levels had shot up almost 60% (one’s soared 500%!), proof of their powerful affection. But the kitties? Theirs had risen a paltry 12%—a dismaying finding that, on hearing it, sent us home to give our own two cats a chance to prove it false.
And as soon as they stop licking themselves long enough to give a crap, we’re sure they will.