Cats Mirror Their Owner's Personality Traits, Study Finds
If people are always commenting on how calm and good-natured your cat is, there's cause to feel pretty smug. Likewise, if your cat hates humans and is always on edge, you might want to take a long look in the mirror. Why? It's been found that cats' behaviours actually mirror their owners personalities.
A study by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln surveyed 3,331 cat owners to ask them questions about their personality, health and their cat's behaviour.
Posted in the PLOS One scientific journal, the study focused on the Big Five Inventory (BFI), the standardised traits to measure personality, which are Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness.
It found that owners with higher levels of Neuroticism were found to have cats that did not get as much access to the outdoors, were reported to have 'behavioural problem', were aggressive, fearful, and prone to stress-related sickness, ongoing medical conditions and being overweight.
Oppositely, owners with higher levels of Extroversion had cats with an increased likelihood to have more access to the outdoors.
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Owners with Agreeableness were found to have a higher level of reported satisfaction with their cats and as having cats with a normal weight.
Finally, Conscientiousness and Openness in owners were associated with having more gregarious cats, who were in generally less anxious and avoidant.
The findings mirror those of widespread studies into the parent-child relationship, which show the personality of the parent affects the nature of care received by the child.
The study concluded: "Our results present initial evidence which may indicate that lower levels of owner Neuroticism but higher levels of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion and Openness may potentially be generally more beneficial for cats; a finding mirroring conclusions from the parent-child literature."
So there it is: if you're someone who often feels anxious, worried or moody then it's like to reflect on your cat. You can test where you stand on the Big Five by taking a personality test here.
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