If you have ever looked at cat behave in a particularly curious way and wondered if they were on the psychopathic spectrum, wonder no more! Science has got your back, with researchers developing a new model to test just how much of a psychopath your precious little feline companion is.
Elements of Psychopathy
A group of scientists from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University have found that all cats tend to possess an element of psychopathy.
The study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, researchers have designed a model to measure the degree of psychopathy in cats. Lead researcher Rebecca Evans said:
We believe that like any other personality trait psychopathy is on a continuum, where some cats will score more highly than others
They did this by studying the relationship between 2,042 cat owners and their pets. A questionnaire dubbed, CAT-Tri+ was developed and participants asked to rate how well some 46 statements describes their pets. The statements included:
My cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away”, “my cat vocalises loudly (e.g meows, yowls) for no apparent reason”, and “my cat is very excitable (e.g goes into ‘overdrive’ and becomes uncoordinated).
Psychopathy On A Continuum
Participants were also asked to observe whether their cats sit in high places, how domineering they are with neighbourhood cats, and whether they purr when attacking people or animals. Rebecca Evans explained the methodology:
In our study, we developed a questionnaire measure of psychopathy in domestic cats. The questionnaire was developed using owner-provided examples of their cat’s behaviour in the context of the triarchic model of psychopathy (boldness, meanness, and disinhibition).
According to the researchers, the goal of the study was to improve relationships between cats and their owners. Evans explained that owners of cats that are mean and bold tend to have a lower quality of relationship but a higher quality relationship with disinhibited and pet-unfriendly cats.
We believe that like any other personality trait psychopathy is on a continuum, where some cats will score more highly than others.
So, what can you do if your cat scores highly on the Cat-Tri+ scale? Evans suggests investing in large cat trees and tall scratching posts might help.