Cats like humans are extraordinary beings with individual personalities, needs and preferences.
It’s important to identify your cat’s temperament as cats with different characters and likings have distinct environmental and social needs required to achieve a superior quality of life.
Let’s debunk how many personalities cats have, and which trait does your feline possesses based on recent scientific research.
About Cat Personalities
There have been several studies of personalities in cats and just like people, cats vary. Some are confident, bold, sociable, while others are timid, exploratory or fearful. Similarly each cat behaves in non-identical way when confronted with a particular situation or event.
Let’s assess what shapes a cat’s temperament
Genes And Environment
A cat’s personality is influenced by its genetics and the environment it’s nurtured in. Studies into maternal and paternal effects on kitten’s temperament traits revealed that there’s a paternal genetic influence with regards to friendliness towards people; kittens of friendly or bold fathers (Reisner et al, 1994) approached people and investigated novel objects more readily than those from a more fearful father (Turner et al, 1986).
The Oxytocin Receptor Gene (OXTR) which is related with a human-dog attachment may also foretell the sociability or roughness in cats, although further studies are needed to clarify the genetic structure causing personality variability attributes in cats (Travnik et al, 2020).
Generally pedigree breed cats are approachable, less fearful, more exploratory and likely to pass on these traits unlike street cats who live independently and can be vigilant to danger together with potential threats from people, possibly less comfortable and more scared in their presence.
Early Socialization Period
For an adult cat to live comfortably with humans, it’s essential for the kitten to have a positive experience and accept handling by as many people of all ages between 2-8 weeks of age. Kittens are most responsive to learning about their surroundings during the sensitive period which shapes their response to humans for lifetime.
Equally kittens who have pleasant encounters with their own species and other pets are likely to perceive them in a confident manner and can be more accepting of them if the cat continues having repeated, positive experiences throughout kittenhood and adolescence.
Exposure To Novel Situations
Kittens require positive exposure and habituation to novel and a broad range of situations and experiences. Lack of exposure during kittenhood to sights, sounds, smells or new people encountered in a home environment may mean the cat will learn to avoid or fear things that aren’t familiar and can avoid any interaction by hiding away or being aggressive if it’s chased to be touched.
Although cats have individual personalities, a recent study found that there’s a genetic link between cat breeds and performed behaviour, particularly a link between human-directed aggression and shyness traits.
Cat Personality Assessments
Cat personality assessments consider the cat’s behaviours and emotional expressions which are constant across time and in various contexts. Temperament evaluations are usually conducted and measured across short vs long-term observations, across distinct tests, in addition to behavioural plus personality questionnaires and by monitoring cats during their habitual life situations to produce personality types (Travnik et al, 2020).
What Personality Type Does Your Cat Have?
According to new research involving about 200 cat parents conducted by Dr. Lauren Finka (a post-doctoral research fellow at Nottingham Trent University) published by Daily Mail suggests cats only have five personality types which are influenced by their genetics and developmental upbringing.
Let’s examine what personality type does your cat have according to Dr. Finka’s study:
5 Feline Personality Spectrum
The Human Cat
The Human Cat is a sociable cat that likes being handled moreover share their space plus home with their owner/carer. Generally the human cat is incredibly friendly, calm and responsive towards people displaying affection through kneading preferring daily social attention. This kind of cat will cope well in a busy, lively house.
The Inquisitive Cat is eager to investigate and explore new scents, items, sights and noises within their environment which is formed by early exposure to new stimuli during the socialisation and habituation period.
This cat will thrive in an energetic environment by meeting new people and being exposed to novel events and settings on regular basis. Keep them engaged with puzzle toys, foraging boxes and cat castles.
The Hunter Cat expresses most predatory hunting behaviour by stalking, capturing and manipulating prey furthermore it displays play behaviour targeted towards inanimate objects like mice and feather type toys often bringing ‘presents’ to their owner.
The foremost suitable environment for this pursuer is outdoors with plenty of exploration and prowling opportunities. Indoor only lifestyle without prospect for expression of predacious behaviour may lead to boredom and dissatisfaction.
The Cantankerous Cat is the least tolerant of human handling, vulnerable to touch, usually hypervigilant to their environment and easily frustrated. This feline requires an owner with plenty of patience since this moggie will need more time and TLC to make sure they’re comfortable with human interaction in quiet and predictable home.
The cantankerous cat needs individual space to explore, play and will interact with its owner on their own terms. Ensure such a cat has plenty of toys for independent play and remember to respect his/her wishes.
The Cat’s Cat enjoys sharing their home with other felines despite being a solitary species. The cat’s cat is capable of living with related/non-related individuals if they’re socialised with other kittens or cats during the sensitive period moreover have sufficient environmental resources for every moggie.
A cat’s cat will play, allogroom and allorub it’s siblings or other cats within the house and thus will form a more harmonious multi-feline household suitable for working type people able to be left alone for extended hours.
Each cat has a unique temperament with a genetic link. When we choose a kitten or adult cat to live closely with us, we need to think about their individuality, species-appropriate needs together with socialisation to people involving proper handling to make sure they’re well adaptable to our family and lifestyle which in turn will help improve the human-cat bond, decrease a cat’s frustration and enhance their wellbeing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do cats have personalities?
Like humans, cats have a broad range of temperaments. A cat’s personality traits are influenced by their genetics, breed disposition, early experiences and therefore the environment they’re born into and housed in.
How do you describe cat personalities?
Analysis of recent research suggests cats only have five personality types although some cat parents may disagree. Three decades of research on a feline’s character have identified a multidimensional method to define cat personalities like friendliness, boldness, impulsiveness, inquisitiveness, fearfulness and more. Understanding better your cat’s temperament can assist them have the best life possible.
How do you match cat personalities to your lifestyle?
Determine if you reside a quiet, busy or noisy lifestyle with boisterous kids before adopting a kitten, likewise don’t choose a nervous, fearful kitten since it may convert into a stressed cat if your household isn’t suitable and your time poor. Lastly decide if you would like an inside only or outdoor cat that spends much time hunting and less time interacting with humans. Get the correct cat for your personal circumstances by choosing a feline companion based on its character, genetics, early encounters and behaviour rather than looks.
Is cat personality influenced by coat color?
The scientific evidence that links personality traits to a cat’s coat colour are lacking in nature. Judging a cat by its coat colour is stereotypical and detrimental to a cat’s homing prospect and welfare. Never judge a book by its cover or someone by appearance, same goes for cats!
Care, I. C. (2020, September 01). Module 3 Reproduction, Behavioural Development and Behavioural Health in Kittens. Advanced Feline Behaviour for Vet Professionals. UK. Retrieved August 24, 2021
Heath, J. B. (1992). Cat personalities and their origins. (A. I. Southampton, Compiler) UK. Retrieved August 24, 2021
Isadora de Castro Travnik, D. d. (2020, August 24). Temperament in Domestic Cats: A Review of Proximate Mechanisms, Methods of Assessment, Its Effects on Human—Cat Relationships, and One Welfare. MDPI, 10, 1516. Retrieved August 21, 2021, from https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/9/1516