Chilled-out owners tend to have happier cats

Chilled-out owners tend to have happier cats

Cats' behaviour and welfare are affected when their owners feel stressed or anxious.

That's according to researchers at Nottingham Trent University, who found that neurotic owners tend to have less healthy cats.

It's similar to the parent-child relationship, with previous studies showing how the personality traits of a parent affect the nature of the care they provide to dependants.

The new study, published in the journal PLOS One, involved 3,331 cat owners who responded to an online survey examining their personality and the health, behaviour and management of their cats. Owner personality was measured for five factors: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism and openness.

The research showed that the owners' personality was associated with several aspects of their cats' well being and behaviour.

Neurotic owners were less likely to allow free access to the outdoors -- perhaps reflecting a generally more over-protective, anxious approach. Their cats were also more likely to be overweight and displayed more frequent stress-linked sickness behaviours, behavioural problems and aggressive or anxious/fearful behavioural styles.

Meanwhile, more agreeable owners were generally associated with more positive well being outcomes for their cats. They were more likely to indicate that their cats had a normal weight and displayed less aggressive and aloof/avoidant behaviours. In addition, they reported being more satisfied with their cat.

Similarly, owners higher in conscientiousness and openness were more likely to report their cats as being more sociable, and less aggressive and aloof/avoidant. More conscientious owners also reported less anxious/fearful behavioural styles in their cats.

"Our personalities may be an important factor in relation to how we interact with and manage our cats, and this can have important consequences for their well being," study author Lauren Finka told PsyPost. "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."


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