Neurotic people who own cats come out badly in a studyA about the personality of cat owners and how it affects the well-being of their cats. The immediate observation by this study is that cat ‘ownership’ parallels the parent-child relationship. Where a mother of a child is neurotic there is a real link between that neuroticism and an increased chance of child obesity.
However, there will be a difference between UK and USA cat ownership in regard to the differences between conscientious and neurotic cat caretaking because in America it is far more likely that cats will be kept inside for their safety. In other words overall cultural and practical differences in certain countries have an impact upon the attitude of cat guardians within those countries.
Negative aspects of neurotic cat owners
There are other negative aspects of neurotic cat caretaking. Firstly, though, it’s worth deciding why neurotic cat caretaking can lead to domestic cat obesity. It is probably due to the fact that neurotic owners are more likely to have a negative or pessimistic view of their cat’s health. This not only leads to an over-reporting of sickness and medical conditions but also a possible poor assessment of their cat’s weight which leads to them overfeeding their cat in the interests of their cat’s health and welfare. Or they place their cat on a particular diet with certain restrictions or impositions which affects their weight negatively.
Their behaviour ends up being detrimental to their cat’s health but we shouldn’t be too hard on people who are labelled ‘neurotic’. Neurotic owners also have a tendency to take their cat more often to their veterinary clinic which can lead to negative outcomes unnecessarily.
Is also suggested that the more neurotic cat owners may be more authoritarian, unpredictable and apply a harsher more controlled caretaking style. This can lead to stress and anxiety in their cat which in turn can lead to a compromised immune system and ill-health.
They may also be more unpredictable in their cat ownership style which once again is detrimental to a cat. We know that cats like routine and predictability. Further, a more neurotic cat caretaking style is likely to lead to cats being restricted to the indoors because of an overprotective and anxious attitude. This has also been linked to the parent-child relationship.
Agreeable and open
At the other end of the spectrum, we have people who are described as agreeable, extrovert and open. It was found in this study that the more agreeable owners were more likely to say that their cat had a normal weight and displayed less aggressive and bad behaviour. Also more extrovert owners were more likely to provide their cats with free access to the outside. Cat owners with the personality of “agreeableness” were also more likely to give their cats restricted rather than unrestricted access to the outside.
I don’t want to go into heavy detail on this but the point being made is that the personality of the cat guardian impacts significantly on how they relate to their cat and how they discharge their responsibilities as a cat owner for obvious reasons I’d say. The study I refer to indicates quite strongly that a neurotic cat owner is more likely to be a bad cat owner for the reasons indicated above. I have two personal observations (1) not all neurotic cat owner are bad and we must not generalise and (2) it may be difficult to decide if a person is neurotic or a concerned cat carer. Some people may be unfairly labelled as neurotic. I am sympathetic towards nervous people as the world can be tough for individuals living alone.
Also a genuine concern for cat welfare may seems like neuroticism but it may be better than being overconfident and laissez-faire, which can lead to negligence and poor cat guardianship.