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.