There’s Scientific Proof Cats Adopt Owners’ Personalities
Kitty see, kitty do.
Recent research has shown that dogs tend to match the personality traits of their owners and are particularly prone to taking on their stress levels. But because people tend to think that the bond between dogs and humans is stronger than the one between cats and humans, most of us assume our personalities don’t have an impact on these majestic, independent creatures. But now, science is proving us wrong.
A recent study published in the journal PLOS One indicates you may have more of an influence on the behavior of your feline than you thought. Researchers at the United Kingdom’s University of Lincoln and Nottingham Trent University used an online survey to ask more than 3,000 cat owners questions regarding their “Big Five” personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. They also asked them questions about the breed, personality, health, and behavior of their cats.
The results showed that, to some extent, cats really do match the personalities of their owners. For example, owners who rated high for neuroticism were more likely to have cats that acted more afraid or anxious, had more stress-related illnesses, and were less likely to wander around outside at their leisure. Meanwhile, owners who were more extroverted seemed to have cats who loved to be in the great outdoors. And owners who were especially conscientious seemed more likely to have cats who were affectionate and friendly.
The study is limited by the fact that the results were self-reported as opposed to observational, so it’s very possible that the owners were projecting their own personalities onto the cats. The study also fails to answer the chicken-or-the-egg question of whether your personality has an impact on your cat or whether you’re just more likely to choose a cat that seems similar to you in temperament.
“Many owners consider their pets as a family member, forming close social bonds with them,” study co-author Lauren Finka, a postdoctoral researcher in animal welfare at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural, and Environmental Sciences, said in a press release. “It’s therefore very possible that pets could be affected by the way we interact with and manage them, and that both these factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences. The majority of owners want to provide the best care for their cats, and these results highlight how influential our own personality can be on the well-being of our pets.”
And for more recent research on our furry friends, check out Study Finds That Cats Know When You’re Calling Them, They Just Don’t Care.
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