While we already know that no two cats are the same, data from thousands of cat owners now gives us in-depth insight into the minds of our unique feline friends. Just like humans, all cats have personalities.
Some are sweet, others sassy, and more than a few know how to be both assertive and affectionate at the same time. You could use countless words to describe your cat, but did you know that science shows there are five main cat personality types?
Researchers in the UK analyzed data to determine five different groups and help cat owners better understand and care for their pets.
The UK-based litter company Natusan sponsored the project that looked at data from 3,700 cat owners. The cat people provided information about the personality traits that make each of their cats special.
Cats can have a reputation for being a certain way, but the truth is, cat personalities range from extremely affectionate and outgoing to introverted and reserved.
Animal behavior expert Professor Peter Neville told Daily Mail that knowing what kind of cat you’re sharing your home with is an important part of caring for their well-being and keeping them healthy.
Here are what researchers say to be the five different personality types and how you can best care for each one.
Cats are equipped with full sets of sharp claws, teeth, and instincts that make them exceptional hunters, but these predators can also be prey. Their size makes them vulnerable, and the natural instinct to protect themselves is stronger in some than others.
Nervous cats are the ones who hide under the bed when a friend comes to visit. When you turn on the blender, they jump a foot in the air and feel anxious around excited children. They might also prefer to spend time in a safe, quiet place instead of out in the open with the rest of the family.
A nervous cat might be shy, but don’t assume all of these fearful felines don’t like human attention. Many cats in this category are extremely loving toward the people they trust.
How to Care for a Nervous Cat
Professor Neville advises people with nervous cats to always allow the cat opportunities to retreat when situations get too intense. “Safe spaces” like closets, carriers, cat trees, and underneath the bed allow these cats to calm down and feel more confident.
It’s also important to be patient and predictable. Nervous cats like knowing exactly what’s going to happen and when.
If your cat pushes their way into your lap or assertively meows to get what they want, you might have what researchers call a “bossy cat.” These strong-willed cats aren’t timid when it comes to expressing their feelings.
They’re also the dominant members of multi-cat households. Some bossy cats are assertive leaders, and others can be downright bullies toward other pets in the house.
How to Care for a Bossy Cat
Sometimes all a bossy cat wants is your undivided attention. If they have to push your laptop onto the floor to get it, that’s what they’re going to do. In this case, it’s okay to give in to your cat’s demands.
If you have more than one cat, try offering each feline one-on-one attention. Give your other cats affection when the boss isn’t around to prevent that one assertive personality from taking over.
Cats often get stereotyped as being reserved and aloof (especially when compared to dogs), but there are many cats that crave attention and affection from humans. There are the outgoing cats. This cat personality type is akin to those humans who thrive in groups and make friends easily.
An outgoing cat will greet you, and everyone else, at the door every day. If they’re not directly in your lap every time you sit down, they’re at least close enough to know exactly what you’re doing. These felines tend to be chatty, and they can act out when they feel lonely or deprived of attention.
How to Care for an Outgoing Cat
Outgoing cats rely on regular attention to keep them both healthy and happy. When those social needs aren’t met, they can become depressed and develop behavioral issues like not using the litter box or excessive scratching.
Frequent and regular play sessions and cuddle times are key for this cat personality trait. If they do act out, never yell or punish. Try to refocus their energy and offer treats and praise when they deserve it.
Random sprints down the hallway, daredevil acrobatics to reach the top of the fridge, shredded toilet paper littering the bathroom–these are all acts of a spontaneous cat.
When considering this cat personality type, make sure the feline in question is officially an adult. It’s common for kittens and young cats to have this level of energy and mischievous zest for life. Many, however, grow out of it as they grow into their true personalities.
How to Care for a Spontaneous Cat
The best thing you can do for a spontaneous cat is play, play, play. These cats have a lot of energy. They can either expend all that built-up pressure by chasing a feather wand, or they can do it practicing for the Kentucky Derby at two in the morning…every morning.
And as hard as it might be, don’t yell or punish your crazy cat when they get into trouble. This can make them anxious and lead to even more unpredictable behavior.
The last cat personality type is for the cats that land in the middle of the social spectrum. They don’t demand attention, but they’re also not hiding under the bed. They might greet a guest with a leg rub, but they don’t insist on the spotlight. Midnight zoomies can still happen, but for the most part, these cats are relaxed and flexible when it comes to their care.
How to Care for an Agreeable Cat
Agreeable cats most likely benefited from proper socialization as kittens, and the result is a happy, confident family member. It’s still important to offer one-on-one playtime and affection, but these cats don’t usually require specific treatment.
Many agreeable cats thrive as role models and can do well in multi-cat households while simultaneously providing the humans of the house with comfort and companionship.
Which one of these cat personality types best describes your favorite feline? Does your cat seem to fit into more than one category? The more you know about your cat’s personality, the better you can care for both their physical and emotional well-being.