Last Updated on August 17, 2021 by Pets Feed
Observations of the behavior of three thousand cats and their owners have shown that psychological traits and habits of a person are reflected in the health of the pet and its character. British researchers write about this in the journal PLoS One.
In recent years, scientists have uncovered a growing body of evidence that typically human intelligence and our ability to display complex emotions are common to many other animals, including dogs, primates, and even ravens and goats.
For example, neurophysiologists recently determined that dogs can understand the intonation and meaning of words spoken by their owners, and recognize emotions on the faces of familiar and unfamiliar people. It turned out that they communicate with people not for the sake of food, but to gain attention and positive emotions. In addition, the dogs were able to memorize information and use it later when communicating with the owner.
Scientists have long believed that cats stand apart in this respect. Earlier experiments on assessing their attachment to the owner showed that the murk turned out to be extremely practical and independent animals. They rarely worry about the owner and are not inclined to waste their efforts, including on food puzzles, if they know that they will be fed anyway.
Mark Farnworth of the University of Nottingham-Trent (UK) and his colleagues have shown that this is not entirely true, observing the lives of approximately three thousand cats and their owners living in London and the suburbs. Gathering a large group of volunteers, scientists studied the condition of the pets and conducted a large-scale social survey among the owners.
We find more and more evidence that pets’ health and wellness depends not only on the conscious actions of the owners and their ‘intelligent’ behavior, but also on unconscious characteristics.Mark Farnworth
Scientists were interested not only in the characteristics of the character and behavior of cats, including their positive and negative qualities, but also how many people were in the family, what character the owners themselves had and whether they were satisfied with their animals.
Analyzing this data, Farnworth and his colleagues discovered the link between the quality of life, behavior and health of cats and the so-called “big five”. It represents five key characteristics of the behavior of their hosts.
For example, cats of neurotic people more often suffered from health problems than pets of other volunteers, and four-legged companions of good-natured and obese people copied their owners and also suffered from excess weight. In contrast, furry companions of extroverts were generally low in weight and spent more time outdoors than other animals.
In general, the character of the cats repeated the way their owners behaved. For example, sociable pets who spent a lot of time in the company of “two-legged neighbors” were more common among extroverts and people open to communication and inclined to conscientiousness. Aggressiveness was most often diagnosed in animals living in a company with neurotics, and unsociability was most often diagnosed in cats owned by people with a low level of openness and good nature.
All this, as scientists note, suggests that the behavior and well-being of cats depends not only on how well their owners take care of them, but also on the character of people. In other words, a person’s mood and general style of behavior affect the life of his pets no less than the execution of formal rules of grooming them.