After surveying feline behavior, a new study found that cats have seven personality and behavior traits.
The research, conducted by the University of Helsinki, developed a comprehensive analysis for surveying feline behavior and used a dataset of more than 4,300 cats representing 26 different breed groups.
Cats are some of the world’s most common pets, but many dog-lovers have deemed them less impressionable than canines. However, the study’s researchers argue that this is because cats are not as understood as dogs.
“Compared to dogs, less is known about the behavior and personality of cats, and there is demand for identifying related problems and risk factors,” doctoral researcher Salla Mikkola from the university’s Folkhalsan Research Center was quoted as saying in a statement.
“We need more understanding and tools to weed out problematic behavior and improve cat welfare. The most common behavioral challenges associated with cats relate to aggression and inappropriate elimination.”
The questionnaire used for the research involved comprehensive sections on background and health-related information. The seven personality and behavioral traits that were identified in cats are: activity/playfulness, fearfulness, aggression towards humans, sociability towards humans, sociability towards cats, litterbox issues (relieving themselves in inappropriate places, precision in terms of litterbox cleanliness and substrate material), and excessive grooming.
“While the number of traits identified in prior research varies, activity/playfulness, fearfulness and aggression are the ones from among the traits identified in our study which occur the most often in prior studies. Litterbox issues and excessive grooming are not personality traits as such, but they can indicate something about the cat’s sensitivity to stress,” said Mikkola.
Different breeds exhibit different personality traits
The team noted that some breeds tended to show more of one specific quality than others.
“The most fearful breed was the Russian Blue, while the Abyssinian was the least fearful,” said the study’s lead author professor Hannes Lohi.
He added that the Bengal was the most active cat breed while the Persian and Exotic were the most “passive.”
Siamese and Balinese cats exhibited the most “excessive grooming” and the Turkish Van cat, one of the rarest breeds in the world, exhibited high levels of aggression towards humans and lower “sociability towards cats.”