Study: Cats Reflect Their Masters’ Personalities

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They say that pets are like their owners. The researchers decided to approach the issue scientifically and found a connection between the characters of cats and their owners.

Cats are not at all as independent as they are considered to be. Moreover, scientists have confirmed that the character of the cat can tell a lot about the personality of the owner.

The study focused on well-researched Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, compliance, and neuroticism.

The study involved 3331 cat owners (92% women) who have lived with their pets for at least six months. The participants took the Big Five personality test and answered questions regarding the character, behavior, health and lifestyle of their cats.

The results showed interesting connections between the personality of the cat owner and the personality of the cat:

  • Openness

The more open the owner was, the more friendly the cat was. Such cats show less aggression, alienation. At the same time, quite unexpectedly, such owners rarely allow the cat to roam the street.

  • Good faith

More conscientious cat owners have a very good influence on their pets. The cats of these owners are friendly and open to contact, they are less aggressive, aloof and anxious.

  • Extroversion

If the owner of the cat is extroverted, most likely his cat will also be endowed with extroverted sociability. In such owners, almost all cats are of normal weight, and can also walk freely on the street.

  • Compliance

The more compliant the cat owners are, the more friendly the cats themselves are in contact, which, moreover, did not show aggression or alienation. Most of these people are happy with their pets, and cats are almost always of normal weight.

  • Neuroticism

Neurotic owners affect cats the worst of all, because their pets are more aggressive, anxious and scared. Such owners unknowingly chose problem cats that not only misbehaved, but also had health problems and overweight. The neurotics had more mongrel cats, which the owners did not allow to walk down the street.

In addition, pedigree cats have been found to be more friendly, less aggressive, aloof and anxious than outbred cats. At the same time, they were less often allowed to walk freely down the street.

Also, according to statistics, open and conscientious owners have more cats than extroverts, neurotics and compliant people.

In general, as expected, owner neuroticism negatively affects the cat’s health and behavior, while other personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, and complaisance) are quite positive.

It should be borne in mind, however, that this study has important limitations. First, cats are adept at masking their pain, so owners ‘reports of their cats’ health may be inaccurate. Secondly, the owner’s report may be distorted by his personal qualities. For example, a neurotic owner may be more likely to experience health or behavioral problems in the cat. Meanwhile, a knowledgeable owner is more likely to take their cat to the veterinarian, thus discovering health problems. This study also fails to determine a causal relationship. Even if the owner’s reports are correct, it is not known if the owner’s personality directly affects the cat.

However, this study further proves the harmful effects of neuroticism, which, as it turns out, can sometimes be “diagnosed” with the help of the domestic cat.

Study: Current biology