How to check if your cat is a psycho: Tormenting its prey, meowing loudly and going ‘overdrive’ could all be signs your kitty has personality issues, research suggests
- Psychologists studied the relationships between thousands of cats, their owners
- They developed a questionnaire to analyze your pet and see if it is a psychopath
- The detailed set of questions, called the CAT-Tri+, is the first-ever tool of its kind
If your cat’s perplexing behavior makes you think it might be a feline psychopath, there’s a way to find out now.
Psychologists have studied the relationships between thousands of cats and their owners to develop a detailed questionnaire that you can use to analyze your pet.
It comes in the form of 46 statements, with owners rating how well each statement describes their pet.
Examples include: ‘My cat harasses its prey instead of killing it right away’; ‘my cat makes loud noises (eg meowing, whining) for no apparent reason’; and ‘my cat is very irritable (eg goes into ‘overdrive’ and becomes uncoordinated)’.
The results will help measure the cat’s degree of ‘meanness’ – traits such as lack of empathy and callous aggression – ‘disinhibition’, which is behavioral restriction problems, and ‘boldness’, which is a measure of social dominance. and low levels of anxiety.
It also measures the degree of unfriendliness of the animal towards people and other pets.
Psychologists have studied the relationships between thousands of cats and their owners to develop a detailed questionnaire, the CAT-Tri+, that you can use to analyze your pet
Called the CAT-Tri+, it is the first-ever instrument available to measure psychopathy in cats, according to researchers from Liverpool University and Liverpool John Moores University.
Lead researcher Rebecca Evans said: “We believe that psychopathy, like any other personality trait, is on a continuum, with some cats going to score higher than others.
“It’s likely that all cats have some element of psychopathy because it would have been helpful to their ancestors at some point in terms of acquiring resources, e.g. food, territory and mating opportunities.”
While it may seem fun to find out how much of a Hannibal Lecter you have in your home, there is a serious side to the tool.
The team hopes it will help improve relationships between cats and owners and, by extension, reduce the number of pets sent to shelters or euthanized.
Miss Evans, a psychologist at the University of Liverpool, said the questionnaire could be used by owners or veterinarians to flag unwanted behaviors and make improvements to the cats’ environment that suit their character.
Lead researcher Rebecca Evans said: ‘We believe that psychopathy, like any other personality trait, is on a continuum, with some cats going to score higher than others’ (stock image)
“A cat who scores high on the dare scale may benefit from large scratching posts and high scratching posts, as the Cat-Tri+ items suggest that a bold cat likes to explore and climb,” she said.
“Providing environmental enrichment for bold cats can reduce agonistic behavior toward humans, other pets, and possessions.”
The study, which involved 2,042 cat owners, is published in the Journal of Research in Personality.