Uh, cat owners, we have some news.
Whether it’s good or bad news depends on your cat… and you.
If your cat is anxious, aggressive or lazy, a new study suggests a look in the mirror might help you understand why.
Research by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln in the UK has found a link between the personalities of owners and the behaviour of their cats through surveying more than 3000 cat owners.
The relationship between parent personality and the development, behaviour and wellbeing of children is well established and the findings published in the Plos One journal suggest that the same is true of owners and their cats.
The study results found evidence that lower levels of owner neuroticism – defined as individuals more likely to show hostility and suffer from anxiety, anger, depressions, self-consciousness, impulsiveness and vulnerability – may be more beneficial for cats, the same conclusions found in parent-child studies.
Owners with higher levels of neuroticism were more like to have cats with greater aggression, anxiety, weight issues and ongoing medical conditions.
Dr Lauren Finka, Postdoctoral researcher in animal welfare in Nottingham Trent University and co-author of the study told the Telegraph that many owners consider their pets as family members and form close social bonds with them.
“It’s therefore very possible that pets could be affected by the way we interact with and manage them, and that both these factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences.
“The majority of owners want to provide the best care for their cats, and these results highlight an important relationship between our personalities and the wellbeing of our pets.”
Dr Finka told PsyPost our personalities – and therefore how we interact with and manage our cats – can have important consequences for their wellbeing.
“Cats may not always find living as our pets easy, and it’s important that we are aware of how our behaviour may be impacting upon them, in both positive and negative ways,” she said.
She said more research is required to see if this correlation equals causation.
“Further research is needed in order to understand if, and how, aspects of the owner’s personalities are directly influencing the welfare of their cats.”