Cats may have nine lives, but a new study suggests they have only five personalities.
Dr Lauren Finka, of England’s University of Lincoln, came to the conclusion after “interviewing” more than 200 felines and their owners.
Finka gained her PhD studying cat welfare, to be used in shelter and rescue environments where behavioural assessments of cats are often very difficult and must be carried out over relatively short periods.
She suggests that the five categories of cat are Human Cat, Hunter Cat, Cats’ Cat, Cantankerous Cat or Inquisitive Cat.
The personalities are caused by a complex interaction between each cat’s genetics and their experiences during development and in adulthood.
THE HUMAN CAT
The Human Cat is generally happy to share your home, your life and often your personal space.
It can be identified by its willingness to gently headbutt you.
It likes to make your lap their ‘spot’ and will likely knead you with its paws on a regular basis.
The ideal home for the Human Cat is a vibrant family home with plenty of faces to nuzzle and laps to nap on. If they fit, they’ll sit.
The more human attention and chin scratches, the better for this friendly feline.
THE HUNTER CAT
While most cats are born with hunting instincts, this character excels at stalking and capturing its prey.
The Hunter Cat can be identified through its interactions with realistic cat toys.
It will often clasp toys in its teeth while it frantically kicks.
The best environment for this adventurer is a home with plenty of outdoor or rural space.
This will allow it to explore, chase and pounce to its heart’s content, without the worry of urban dangers like busy roads.
THE CAT’S CAT
As with the Human Cat, the Cat’s Cat has to be nurtured into developing positive relationships with other felines, which can often go against its nature because it sees them as a threat to resources.
The trick is, as with humans, to socialise them when they’re young, exposing them to other cats and kittens.
You can identify a Cat’s Cat through its willingness to play with and groom its furry siblings, touching noses and rubbing up against each other.
A Cat’s Cat may cope better living with other felines, but even well-socialised cats can be choosy about who they share their bed with.
This cat may be perfect for young working couples who can leave their partners-in-crime to run riot throughout the day.
THE CANTANKEROUS CAT
The Cantankerous Cat is more easily frustrated than his counterparts and can be less tolerant to being handled, due to being quite sensitive to touch, their environment and being on high alert.
These felines require more time and effort to make sure they’re comfortable when interacting with humans.
The Cantankerous Cat can be identified by its need for its own space to play, explore independently and preference for regular but less hands-on interactions with humans.
It needs to make the first move when it comes to being handled.
THE INQUISITIVE CAT
The Inquisitive Cat can be a keen investigator, sniffing around anything and anyone unfamiliar.
But this inquisitiveness is a combination of DNA and exposure to new sights, smells and sounds from a young age.
The Inquisitive Cat can be identified by its eagerness to explore and investigate anything new in its environment.
It could cope well in a home that sees new people coming and going, or even as an office cat.
But be warned: it’ll get into every box, bag, handbag and lap that enters its domain.