Despite being labelled as solitary creatures, domestic cats are welcomed as family members to the extent of mirroring their humans’ habits, whether good or bad. With that said, it might be time to re-evaluate your lifestyle as a pet owner.
Assessing the owner’s personalities and their cat’s well-being and behaviour
New research conducted by the University of Lincoln and Nottingham Trent University explored the relationship between the personalities of cat owners and their impact on their furry companions.
The research method involves a survey on 3,000 predominantly cat owners in the UK. For research purposes, they have gathered information about the different personalities of cat owners and their cat’s behaviour, lifestyle, and health.
The research reached a conclusion that there is little to no difference in the initial research about the relationship between parent and child. It further suggests that in the same way parents affect the child’s personality, the case is similar for cats and their owners.
One example is how the parent’s neuroticism trait can be passed on to the child. Not only that, it includes the parent’s mental and physical health. With this recent research, the same pattern is observed with cat owners having high levels of neuroticism that lead to a negative effect on their pets.
Owners with higher neuroticism are more likely to encounter behavioural problems with their cats. This includes aggressive and stress-related behaviours as well as health conditions including obesity.
Further, positive influence is also observed on some of the same similarities such as behaviour, lifestyle, and welfare. For instance, an owner with higher levels of meticulousness can result in a cat with fewer chances of aggressiveness, anxiousness, and others.
Doctor Laren Finka, a postdoctoral researcher in animal welfare, pointed out the special bonds with pets treated as family members. That said, it is unsurprising how pets could be greatly affected by the way owners manage and interact with them. She added that ‘the majority of owners want to provide the best care for their cats, and these results highlight how influential our own personality can be on the wellbeing of our pets.’
There has not been a clearer presentation on the relationship’s causal nature. It remains vague how the owner’s personality was directly linked to their cat’s welfare and behaviour. Perhaps future research will give more enlightenment on this matter.
Previous research suggests that parents having greater neuroticism scores may lead to negative outcomes on the children’s well-being. On the other hand, positive parenting methods can contribute to openness, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
The current study took more efforts on the observation of the moods of the pet owners.
‘More and more we are learning that the welfare of pets is driven by the underlying nature of the owner, and not simply by their conscious decisions and behaviours,’ noted Associate Professor Mark Farnworth of Nottingham Trent University.
Another research on cats kept indoors and outdoors
This research was contributed to the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour. Cat subjects were divided into two groups. Each group is provided with good care including food, grooming, and medical attention. All owners followed the same pattern of working hours during the day and going back home in the evenings.
The cats on the first group were kept indoors close with their owners, whilst the others were free to live an indoor/outdoor lifestyle on a bigger property. The latter cats were also kept outside during the night.
With time, the first group of cats echoed their owners’ way of life. This includes their activity, meals, and sleeping patterns. As for the latter group, they adapted with a nocturnal lifestyle, living a more feral life and semi-dependent farm felines.
Jane Brunt, DVM, stated in an interview with the Discovery News that as intelligent creatures with a good memory, cats are bound to watch and learn from their humans. With these discoveries, researchers hope that pet owners will have a better understanding and show better efforts on being a role model to their furry companions.
Cats can influence their owners too
Brunt added that these furry creatures have an effect on the owner’s lifestyle and habits such as getting up to tend their needs.
The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) listed cat breeds that have a natural affinity to certain types of people.
- Abyssinian cat owners tend to be creative and flexible.
- American shorthair and Russian blue feline owners are affectionate with a strong sense of independence and self-reliance.
- Burmese cat fans enjoy a good time in the comfort of their homes.
- Persian cat lovers are another group of homebodies themselves.
- Maine Coon followers are known to be family-oriented.
- Siamese owners are usually associated as great communicators.
The likelihood of such cat breeds directing people’s success is more for entertainment purposes rather than guidance. The bottom line is to improve the quality of life you are providing to your furry buddy. Any cat breed should receive the love and care they deserve with you as the role model.