Cats have long held a bit of a reputation for being stony creatures, especially when compared to their sweet, affectionate rivals: dogs.
When you think about the archetypal characteristics of a cat, what words come to mind?
I’m going to go ahead and assume you didn’t think, “loving”. Even cat owners are quick to admit their feline companions barely tolerate them.
I mean, just look at the connotations attached to the term “catty”.
The point is: a lot of people see cats as cold a-holes. But a new study suggests that it might not be puss’ fault that he/she is a jerk. The culpability lies with the owner.
“Owner personality was measured using the Big Five Inventory (BFI) to assess: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness.” the journal reads.
“Owners also provided information concerning the physical health, breed type, management and behavioural styles of their cats.”
The results are pretty, well… telling.
As an example, owners that displayed signs of neuroticism often reported their cats had “a ‘behavioural problem’, displaying more aggressive and anxious/fearful behavioural styles”.
On the other end of the scale, people that demonstrated a significant level of conscientiousness tended to have cats with less “anxious/fearful, aggressive, aloof/avoidant, but more gregarious behavioural styles”.
Interestingly, the study also showed that the personalities of humans appeared to have an impact on the health of their kitties.
Neurotic affinities not only led to poorly-behaved cats, but it was also found to be associated with “more stress-related sickness behaviours, as well as [cats] having an ongoing medical condition and being overweight”.
People who were particularly agreeable, on the other hand, usually had cats that were normal weight.
In a nutshell, what this research has shown us is that, like with most negative instances throughout history, humans are the perpetrators, here. All this time, we’ve been giving cats a bad rap, when really, it’s their owners that are the problem.
Kitties: it appears we’ve misjudged you.