London - Cats may have nine lives – but they have only five personalities, according to scientific research.
Dr Lauren Finka assessed about 200 felines as part of her PhD and concluded that all cats fall into one of these categories: Human Cat; Hunter Cat; Cats’ Cat; Cantankerous Cat; or Inquisitive Cat.
The research fellow at Lincoln University says it has nothing to do with their breed. Instead, it’s all down to a complex interaction between the genetics and temperament of the cat’s parents, their own DNA and their experiences during development and in adulthood.
Dr Finka put the cats through a series of behavioural tests in a study sponsored by Pets At Home, such as stroking them, playing with them, and being near them at feeding time. She also asked owners to complete a questionnaire called the Lincoln Cat Assessment Test – or L-CAT.
Dr Finka said: "Choosing the right cat to suit our individual preference and lifestyle is important."
The five categories are:
Happy to share our home, our lives and often our personal space. Domestic cats are not necessarily born with an affinity to humans but are nurtured into it with positive interaction, particularly in their ‘sensitive period’ which starts around two weeks of age. Shows a willingness to make your lap their ‘spot’, and regularly kneads you with their paws.
Most cats are born with hunting instincts, but this character far excels at stalking and capturing prey. Clasping toys in their teeth and frantically kicking can be strong signs of an expert hunter. Would suit a home with plenty of rural outdoor space.
This type has to be nurtured into developing positive relationships with other felines, which can often go against their nature to see them as a threat to resources. The trick is to expose them to other cats and kittens when they’re young. Can be identified through their willingness to touch noses and rub up against other cats.
: Sensitive to touch and their environment, they can be identified by their need for their own space to play and explore independently and a preference for regular but less ‘hands-on’ interactions with humans. They need to make the first move when it comes to being handled.
: Their urge to investigate comes from a combination of DNA and exposure to new sights, smells and sounds from a young age. Will explore every box, handbag and lap that enters their domain.