It Turns Out Cats Are More Empathetic Than We Thought July 05 2019, 2 Comments

According to new research, certain personality traits found in cat owners were also present in their cats.

Thanks to a recent study published in PLOS ONE, we might have a bit more insight into why cats do the things they do. The study found that our feline family members were found to mimic their owners’ personalities, especially with traits like openness, extroversion, neuroticism and emotional stability. It turns out your feline friend might be more of a copycat than you thought!  were found to mimic their owners' personalities, particularly with traits like extroversion, openness, and neuroticism or emotional stability.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Nottingham Trent University and surveyed over 3,000 cat owners. Researchers asked a multitude of questions that measured cat owners’ personality traits as they fit into the Big Five Inventory. The Big Five is a psychological model that focuses on five broad personality traits: extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. According to the study, certain personality traits found in owners were also observed in their cats. Similar to studies in which parents’ personalities (or parenting styles) were found to influence a child’s personality, this study revealed that cats are also mirroring the personalities of their owners.

For example, owners exhibited neuroticism traits had cats who demonstrated behavioral problems, while owners who classed themselves as more extroverted had cats who enjoyed being outside more.

"Many owners consider their pets as a family member, forming close social bonds with them," co-author of the study and animal welfare researcher Lauren Finka tells The Telegraph. "It's therefore very possible that pets could be affected by the way we interact with and manage them, and that both these factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences."

While the findings in the study are interesting to say the least, they’re far from definite. Finka notes that there is still much more research to be done on the ins-and-outs of the feline-human dynamic, and how dramatically a cat owner’s traits and habits really do influence the personalities of our feline friends. Until then, if you find your cat seems to trend toward neurotic … it might not hurt to take a look in the mirror, first!