Our domestic cat companions can develop personalities that resemble those of their owners, just like dogs, a study has concluded.
Researchers, led by Daniel Mills, Prof. of animal behaviour at Lincoln University, and Lauren Finka, now at Nottingham Trent University, carried out personality tests on over 3,000 cat owners. The owners had completed surveys on their pets’ behaviour. The questionnaire included questions about how affectionate or aggressive their cats were and how often they scratched the furniture.
Their results, they say, demonstrate that cat owners have an influence over their cats’ behaviour along the same lines that parents have over their children’s behaviour.
So if your cat is behaving neurotically it may well be the case that it is your neuroticism which is causing it! If your cat is behaving aggressively then perhaps you should look to yourself because the researchers discovered that cats raised by neurotic or aggressive owners tended to have similar traits. In addition, they were prone to becoming fat. Was this because the cat was indulging in food therapy for comfort in a stressful environment or because the owner fed their cat too much as an apology (my thoughts)?
Conversely, in homes where the humans were cheerful and extrovert their cats were more gregarious and slimmer.
“Cats are a mini-me…They are sentient creatures strongly affected by the people around them. They are intimately bonded with their owners.” – Danielle Gunn-Moore, Professor of feline medicine at Edinburgh University
This is groundbreaking news because we are aware and have been for a long time that dogs tend to resemble their owners and vice versa but cats have been assumed to be too independent and less affected by their owners’ behaviour. Well, we now know that felines are strongly affected by the people they live with just like dogs.
“Higher owner neuroticism was associated with an increased likelihood of…cats being reported as having a ‘behavioural problem’, displaying more aggressive and anxious or fearful behavioural styles, and more stress-related sickness behaviours, as well as having an ongoing medical condition and being overweight.”
Source: The Times (hard copy).
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