People who say love can't be measured are probably too romantic to consider swabbing their dearest for saliva and then testing the sample in a lab. Or perhaps they're just not aware that technically, love can be measured, thanks to the revealing little 'love hormone' called oxytocin.
A neuroscientist, Dr Paul Zak,has applied this science to determining whether cats or dogs love their humans more as part of a new BBC2 documentary, Cats v. Dogs. The findings don’t come as a huge surprise, feline aloofness is no secret, and dogs are loyal and adoring.
However, this is the first time scientists have been able to measure exactly how much more loving dogs are than cats.
Scientists had already established that dogs release oxytocin when they are in contact with their owner but no one had ever conducted the same experiment with cats. Until now.
For context, Dr Zak explained: oxytocin is ‘one of the chemical measures of love in mammals. that Humans produce the hormone in our brains when we care about someone. For example, when we see our spouse or child the levels in our bloodstream typically rise by 40-60 per cent.’
So what happened when dogs and cats were tested? After a playtime session with their owner the levels of the oxytocin hormone increased by 57.2% in dogs, and only by 12% in cats.
Conclusion: dogs love their owners five times more than cats do.
Dogs have a much more powerful response when interacting with their humans, cats are, predictably, not that fussed. So there we have it. Cats aren't just good at keeping their cool in social situations, they're just much cooler through and through.