Dog-lovers, I don’t want to start any fights here, but when it comes to intelligence I think we can all agree that we’re talking about a universal cat trait.
Let’s take a look at the facts: cats are self-cleaning, they’re independent, they’ve learnt to confine their bowel movements to a miniature plastic box and their refined palette means they’ll rarely choose to eat a shoe or bra or even their own tail – à la ‘dogs.’
But what other characteristics can we expect to encounter? While speaking with Dr Jo Righetti, PhD Animal Behaviourist at Pet Problems Solved, these are the personality traits that continued to rear their delightfully-bewhiskered heads.
1. The Skittish Cat.
If your cat disappears from sight as quickly as a well-cooked tray of fish and chips, chances are you’re the proud owner of a Skittish Cat. According to Dr. Jo Righetti, “changing intrinsic aspects of your cat’s personality is difficult, but we can change undesirable behaviours.”
And like any wild-thing, you can curb the often anxious and fearful behaviour of The Skittish Cat with a little bit of positive reinforcement in the form of food, glorious food.
Use treats or a small bowl of dry food to create positive associations, encourage the exploration of new areas of the home or even just to coax a little time with you in the same space. Slowly but surely, begin to offer your cat treats directly from your hand – this action will serve to increase the bond between you and your live-in fuzz.
Additionally, Dr. Righetti says “cats that are impulsive or erratic in their behaviour may benefit from having a more predictable environment. In short, creating routines for these cats may help them cope with life.”
Cats with skittish personalities tend to get scared easily. Image: iStock.
2. The Playful Cat.
What does a cardboard box, a toilet paper roll and an expensive crystal vase have in common? They’re all remarkably fun cat toys - or so, The Playful Cat would lead you to believe. To keep these sometimes-destructive but always-endearing creatures contented, there are a few easy measures you can take.
Considering that Dr. Righetti graciously describes this personality type as “active and curious,” it’s no surprise that the first remedy calls for toys - and lots of them. Brightly coloured with varying textures work best.
The second is going to involve jazzing-up your place. Literally. Believe it or not, many cats find comfort in the dulcet tones of slow and smooth, jazz-like music. In fact, there happens to be an entire website dedicated to the auditory enrichment of your fluffy-Billie-Holiday, appropriately named Music For Cats.
From a nutritional perspective, your Playful Cat is going to require a meal high in protein. Think, real chicken, salmon and tuna which are all easily digested and will allow for optimal energy absorption - keeping your pet's vitality levels where they should be.
3. The Hostile Cat.
Cats are often referred to as the ‘tiny minions of satan.’ And with the hissing, growling and scratching that comes along with The Hostile Cat, there’s no mystery surrounding which personality inspired the phrase. Rest assured, there are a few measures you can take to keep these tell-tale signs at bay.
Dr. Righetti explains that the best way to increase the odds of a calm and friendly cat is to:
- Breed from cats with desired characteristics. Certain breeds such as the quiet, gentle and expressive Persian, possess personality traits that make them particularly popular.
- Ensure that you facilitate positive socialisation experiences when young.
- Provide companionship, a healthy diet and ongoing veterinary care to ensure your cat remains as healthy as possible, from both a physical and psychological standpoint.
"Ensure that you facilitate positive socialisation experiences when young." Image: iStock.
4. The High Maintenance Cat.
According to Dr. Righetti, “Most cats are intermediate in their trait expressions but those that are on the ends of the spectrum, however, often stand out from the clowder (cat pack).” The High Maintenance Cat does just that - stand out. They’ve heard that Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, has a modeling contract and two personal maids and will settle for nothing less.
To keep these narcissists happy (and healthy), keep an eye out for foods that are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as essential vitamins and minerals, like iron and magnesium. These ingredients will help to keep your moggy’s skin healthy and their coat shiny.
Oh, and a high level of antioxidants will help to support those bright, healthy, fame-hungry eyes of theirs.
So, let’s hear it. Which of these personalities best suits your cat?
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