During the last February a researcher team from the University of Lincoln (UK) and the Nottingham Trent University (UK) lead by Lauren R. Finka, published a very interesting paper on the relationship between the personality of cats and their owners.
The research demonstrated that lower levels of owner neuroticism but higher levels of agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion and openness may potentially be more beneficial for their cats. Indeed higher owner neuroticism was associated with an increased likelihood of non-pedigree rather than pedigree cat ownership, a decreased likelihood of ad libitum access to the outdoors, cats being reported as having a ‘behavioural problem’, displaying more aggressive and anxious/fearful behavioural styles and more stress-related sickness behaviours, as well as having an ongoing medical condition and being overweight. Other owner personality traits were generally found to correlate more positively with various lifestyle, behaviour and welfare parameters. For example, higher owner extroversion was associated with an increased likelihood that the cat would be provided ad libitum access to the outdoors; higher owner agreeableness was associated with a higher level of owner reported satisfaction with their cat, and with a greater likelihood of owners reporting their cats as being of a normal weight. Finally higher owner conscientiousness was associated with the cat displaying less anxious/fearful, aggressive, aloof/avoidant, but more gregarious behavioural styles.
These findings indicate that the good relationship between owner personality and the care received by a cat, as between parents and children, may positively influence the behaviour and potentially the broader wellbeing of cats.
The research team published their results on the journal “PlosOne”” and can be accessed via: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0211862