What You Need to Know About Cat Personalities

What You Need to Know About Cat Personalities

A leopard-spotted cat poses in the sunlight.A leopard-spotted cat poses in the sunlight.
A leopard-spotted cat poses in the sunlight.A leopard-spotted cat poses in the sunlight.

Do cats have personalities? You bet they do! In fact, a cat’s personality can be classified into one of five different classes, similar to those created for humans. In a study done at the University of South Australia, 3,000 cats were tested to determine their personality. The cats in the study displayed a range of “human” behaviors, so much so that researchers were able to classify this conduct into these five distinct cat personalities:

  • Skittishness. Cats with high scores for skittishness are more anxious and high-strung. They may appear insecure or fearful of people. Skittish cats may benefit from having hiding spots in the home, and you should attempt to identify and resolve any conditions that could stress them out. A cat who scores low in skittishness is usually very well adjusted to their environment.
  • Outgoingness. An outgoing cat is especially curious and nosy. These cats love to explore and investigate, and they need more mental stimulation and environmental enrichment. If they are bored, they may resort to destructive behavior. If your cat scores high in the “outgoingness” category, they may benefit from additional toys and active playtime. Aging cats and cats with health issues may score lower in this category.
  • Dominance. Pets with a dominant personality are bullies that can make a multi-cat home stressful and frustrating. A dominant cat may commandeer household resources like food, toys, and the litter box. If your cat scores high on the dominance scale, they may have difficulty being around other cats. If they score low, they may adjust well to being in a multi-cat household. If you have a dominant cat in your multi-cat home, make sure that each cat has its own food, water, and litter, and place them in different areas of the house.
  • Spontaneity. Cats who score high on this personality trait could be reacting to something in their environment that is stressful. This type of cat may be a little erratic, responding differently to the same situation on multiple occasions. If your cat scores low in impulsivity or spontaneity, it could mean that the cat is well adjusted to their environment, and enjoys their current routine.
  • Friendliness. This is a well-adjusted cat. The friendly or agreeable cat is often the result of being well-socialized as a kitten. If your cat scores high in friendliness, they may adjust well to people and other pets in the home, and cats with a low score in friendliness may enjoy a more solitary lifestyle.

If you struggle with your cat’s behavior problems, or if you have a multi-cat household where certain cats can’t seem to get along, understanding a cat’s personality may help you to recognize why your cat is behaving in a certain fashion. This understanding can help you develop a plan to make adjustments to the home, or provide your cat with something that is missing, like environmental enrichment.

Understanding your cat’s normal cat personality can also help you to better monitor your cat’s health. Changes in your cat’s personality could signal underlying medical issues. For instance, if your cat is normally outgoing and suddenly becomes withdrawn or is hiding more often, a medical issue could be to blame.

All About the Bengal Cat Personality

The Bengal cat may not be the best cat for everyone, particularly first-time cat owners. Bengal cats can be a blast to live with, but their energy level can make the day-to-day rather challenging. They are, however, very friendly and extremely intelligent, despite their need for constant interaction.

When a Bengal cat gets bored, they can become destructive, taking things apart to see how they work, and opening drawers and cabinets. Be sure to hide your jewelry from your Bengal, as they love to stow away shiny items.

Here are some more traits in the Bengal cat personality:

  • The Bengal loves water play. That means this furball might jump into the tub or shower with you, or swim alongside you in the swimming pool. Those with a Bengal cat should be weary of having an aquarium.
  • Bengal cats love to climb, and they need many vertical territories. The higher up, the better—they can often be found perched at the highest reachable point in the household.
  • These highly intelligent cats are avid hunters and fishers. They love to catch fish and small animals.
  • The Bengal cat personality is extremely friendly. Bengals love people and other pets and will do anything to get their attention.
  • These guys are also very vocal and they love to chatter with humans as much as they can.
  • Bengals can be territorial, so if you want more than one cat, it would be wise to introduce them to the household at the same time.

All About the Russian Blue Personality

The Russian Blue personality is gentle, sweet, and affectionate. This is a reserved cat, but once they get comfortable with you, they can be a playful, loving companion. Often described as elegant and stoic, the Russian Blue personality is warm, but not overly clingy toward family members. They may want to sleep with you, snuggle up with you on the couch, or follow you around as you complete household chores.

Here are some more Russian Blue personality traits:

  • This is a sensitive cat that doesn’t like to be ignored. When they don’t get attention, the Russian Blue may become anxious or fearful.
  • The Russian Blue has a quiet voice and is not especially vocal, however, they will respond if you talk to them and they can learn the meaning of many words.
  • They’re also rather playful and docile, and are capable of playing fetch or lounging around the house.
  • They love jumping and climbing up to the highest place where they can study the people in their home before deciding whether or not to interact.
  • The Russian Blue is an intelligent cat that is easy to train. They love to be challenged to learn tricks and play with puzzle toys that reward them with treats.
  • This breed is very particular about hygiene and will not enter their litter box if it is dirty.
  • Being an avid observer, the Russian Blue can learn how to open a closet door or break into the treat container or cat food bag.

All About the Calico Personality

Calico is not a breed of cat. The word “Calico” actually refers to the cat’s coat coloring. Calico cats have patches of three different colors in their coats: white, black, and orange.

Since Calico cats are not a specific breed of cat, their personalities will vary, but that hasn’t stopped certain characteristics from being attributed to this typically female feline.

Here are a few common traits attributed to Calicos:

  • Calico cats are affectionate, intelligent, and good with children.
  • The Calico personality is thought to be quirky and sassy, but loving.
  • Some Calico cats have been credited with acts of bravery, like saving their human family or an entire litter of kittens from a burning building.
  • Ultimately, the Calico personality will be determined by a variety of factors including breed, experience, and environment.

All About the Ragdoll Personality

Sweet, friendly and loving, the Ragdoll breed is known for its calm demeanor and even temper. This uniquely calm attitude is one of the many reasons that the Ragdoll is one of the most popular breeds in America according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

A Ragdoll cat is eager to greet you at the front door and follow you everywhere you go. They have even been nicknamed the “puppy cat,” because of their desire to follow their humans around from one room to another, and because they simply love to be held, cuddled, and snuggled.

The Ragdoll has a moderate energy level and rarely shows signs of anxiety. Rather than climbing to the highest spot in your home, the Ragdoll prefers to stay at ground level, often lying on your feet or in your lap. They love snuggling with their owners and having a fuss made over them.

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