Do you ever wonder what your cat is thinking? If you’ve got a special feline in your life, odds are you know her personality pretty well. Sure, she’s an animal with a pretty basic life, but in reality, there’s a whirlwhind of thoughts and tastes and preferences circling in that tiny brain at any given moment. In fact, one team of researchers suggests that there are seven major personality and behavior patterns that can be observed in cats. Read on to find out which one your kitty falls under!
The Personalities of Cats
For their research, scientists from the University of Helsinki used a questionnaire created to assess personality and behavior traits of 4,300 cats from 26 breeds, which their owners completed. It included questions about each cats’ background and health, as well as ones about their general behavior and demeanor. According to the final analysis, seven distinct traits were identified, and most cats fell predominantly into one. They were:
- Aggressive towards humans
- Sociable towards humans
- Sociable towards cats
- Litterbox issues (relieving themselves in inappropriate places, precision in terms of litterbox cleanliness and substrate material)
- Excessive grooming
The scientists suggest that identifying these patterns can help us reduce or even eliminate common behavioral problems in cats, and in general, understand them better. “Compared to dogs, less is known about the behavior and personality of cats, and there is demand for identifying related problems and risk factors,” said Salla Mikkola, one of the researchers on the study. “We need more understanding and tools to weed out problematic behavior and improve cat welfare. The most common behavioral challenges associated with cats relate to aggression and inappropriate elimination.”
And while “litterbox issues” aren’t really a personality trait, the experts say they may reveal things about what’s going on in your kittys’ nervous system. “Litterbox issues and excessive grooming are not personality traits as such, but they can indicate something about the cat’s sensitivity to stress,” Mikkola added. Pretty interesting stuff!
Differences Between Breeds
Another (perhaps unsurprising) finding of this study was that individual breeds were more or less associated with certain personality traits and behavioral patterns. “The most fearful breed was the Russian Blue, while the Abyssinian was the least fearful. The Bengal was the most active breed, while the Persian and Exotic were the most passive,” Lohi pointed out. “The breeds exhibiting the most excessive grooming were the Siamese and Balinese, while the Turkish Van breed scored considerably higher in aggression towards humans and lower in sociability towards cats.
So what do you say, do any of these sound like your furry companion? The researchers hope that their work will make it possible to identify genetic, environmental, and personality factors that could be contributing to problematic behavior in cats. In the meantime, it’s fun to observe our little friends from this whole new perspective!