A new study has revealed the true nature of bonds between pet cats and their owners.
The five types of bond the study by The University of Lincoln in England discovered were "co-dependence", "friendship", "open relationship", "casual relationship" and "remote association".
At one end of the scale, co-dependent relationships are characterised by "a very emotionally invested owner" and a cat who "doesn't relate well with others" except for their owner.
At the other extreme, cats in remote relationships with their owners are "not typically considered to be a close friend or part of the family".
The article, published in Animals, concluded that "as with any complex social relationship, the type of cat-owner bond is a product of... their certain personality features."
Animal behaviour expert Daniel Mills, one of the paper's authors, said in a statement that while "many cats may be aloof, it seems that this is not as common as might be portrayed."
The survey that the study is based on was advertised on social media in English and Portugese and received usable responses from 3,994 cat owners, most from the United Kingdom.
The university also published a quiz for cat owners to find out which type of relationship they have with their pet.
It is hoped the study will help owners to better care for their pets.