I want to try and get into the head of domestic cats and ask what sort of human personality type they prefer in a caregiver. There’s been quite a lot of discussion about the personality of a typical ‘cat person’. They are said to be “graceful, subtle, independent, intelligent, thoughtful and mysterious” in one study by Gosling, Sandy and Potter in 2010. These are the stereotypical cat people. The stereotype is of an independent, middle-aged single woman living with their cat or cats.
This tells us about sort of person who likes cats. But do cats like this sort of person? I don’t think this question is asked an awful lot. What sort of human personality does a domestic cat prefer? Jackson Galaxy talks a lot about adding a cat to a home where there is already a cat. His advice in choosing a cat is to “match cats by energy level“. He says that the first thing to do “before even going to the shelter is to think about what personality type best compliments your cat’s”. He’s talking about a cat getting on with a cat.
I think it encourages and guides us to think about the kind of personality a human should have in order for them to get on with a cat. I’m looking at this from the cat’s perspective. And from personal observations, if you generalise as I must, domestic cats are quieter, more retiring, less extrovert and less boisterous than humans.
They like quiet and routine. The need to be reassured. They don’t like a lot of noise. They dislike a lot of comings and goings. They don’t like people running around and being highly active around them. They don’t like people being loud and doing unexpected things. This points to energy levels as referred to by Galaxy. They like order.
It all points to a person who is quiet, who likes routine themselves, who is inherently gentle and not ham-fisted. It points to a person who is sensitive to the feelings of others. A person who is. disciplined, precise and dexterous will be preferred by a cat to a person who is ill-disciplined, imprecise, careless and ham-fisted like Boris Johnson 😂. He prefers dogs. I like Johnson by the way. He’s just too sloppy.
Cats will prefer a person who is stable and not volatile. They don’t want to live with a person who is stressed and irritable. This sort of person is liable to lose their temper and as a consequence make noise and break out of their routine. Evenness of temperament and reliability in performance is the kind of personality that a cat would go for.
In the human-to-human world, they say that opposites sometimes attract. But I would argue that in the cat-to-human world opposites don’t attract. The same sort of personality attracts and so a human needs to have a personality which blends with the personality of a domestic cat.
I’m repeating myself but I think I have to because this is quite a difficult topic to discuss. Let’s just take one factor: reliability and consistency. Some people live semi-chaotic lives. There’s lots of change in their lives because emotionally and in terms of their personality they find it difficult to create routines and order in their life. They live chaotic lives because they can’t cope and they can’t manage their lives. This sort of person is not going to be ideal for a domestic cat.
The more precise and organised person who can cope and manage their day-to-day life with some precision is going to suit a domestic cat. Domestic cats live in the human world. Despite the domestic cat’s 10,000 years of domestication, their wildcat is just below the surface. This is the raw cat within.
They adapt to the human environment but can revert to their wild state quickly. The point is that they have to adapt which can at times be a little difficult. They are doing the adjusting. To make it easier for them, the human caregiver needs to create an environment that is stable and dominated by routines. A certain human personality type can create that environment. It is a personality which is in control of their lives, which can manage and which is sensitive to the feelings of others.
It is wrong to be dogmatic is this discussion. This is not science. It is not black-and-white. But domestic cats will tend to prefer people of a certain personality. I have touched on that sort of person in this article.
P.S. there is another point. The compatibility of the personalities of a couple who own a cat is also important. If a couple are constantly fighting because they are incompatible, the environment created will be highly unsuitable for a domestic cat.
Scroll down for some articles on the human-to-cat relationship: