25 Sep 2017

Cats have nine lives – and now five personality traits

From The Panel, 4:43 pm on 25 September 2017
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Photo: creative commons - pixabay - Lichtmagnet

Cats have five primary personality traits, a new study has found

Skittishness, outgoingness, dominance, spontaneity and friendliness are the 'Feline Five', says Dr Philip Roetman from the University of South Australia.

Roetman's research team studied complex personality tests owners had completed about 2082 Australasian cats.

They concluded that because feline personalities are so multi-faceted we need a better understanding of their experience and their needs.

Some of the Feline Five relate to the so-called 'Big Five' human traits – neuroticism, extraversion, dominance, impulsiveness, and agreeableness.

But while skittishness in cats is akin to neuroticism in people, it's not the same thing, Roetman says.

If your cat is skittish, he suggests provide them options for how they spend their time – toys, places to climb, access to sunlight and interaction with people (and even other cats) if that's what they like.

And keep in mind that identifying their personality traits is only so useful.

"If we think there's a problem we need to get specific advice for that individual cat."

Roetman's team are trying to make their personality test available to a larger sample of cat owners, which will help determine whether specific breeds share specific traits.