Whether animals can experience romantic love is unknown. But there is some evidence that they are capable of experiencing the same range of emotions as we can. The brains of many mammals are surprisingly similar to the human brain.
Take as an example the brain of a cat. A cat’s brain is small compared to ours, occupying only about one percent of their body mass compared to about two percent in an average human. But size doesn’t always matter.
Neanderthals, the hominids that went extinct more than twenty thousand years ago, had bigger brains than Homo sapiens, but they probably weren’t smarter than the Homo sapiens that beat them in the survival game. Surface folding and brain structure matter more than brain size.
The brains of cats have an amazing surface folding and a structure that is about ninety percent similar to ours. This suggests that they could indeed be capable of experiencing romantic love. But we will probably never know for sure.
There is one thing we do know though: Your dog or cat doesn’t regard you merely as a food dispenser. Pets, as well as zoo animals, form strong attachments to their caregivers. As attachment is a form of love, animals are indeed capable of loving their caregivers.
According to researchers, this contrast indicates that the dogs’ response to weeping wasn’t simply the result of curiosity but was based on a primitive understanding of human distress. These findings indicate that when a dog comforts his sorrowful owner, the caregiver-recipient roles are sometimes reversed. The dog temporarily becomes the caregiver, which suggests a more sophisticated attachment pattern in dogs than in infants.