Wealready know that cats can be as neurotic as their owners are, but just how deep are the personality ties between felines and the humans who look after them?
Pretty deep, according to new research from scientists in the UK, who found that personality traits of cat ownerscorrelatedwith related behaviours exhibited by their pets – suggesting that, to some extent, your cat might be absorbing and mirroring aspects of your own personality.
"Many owners consider their pets as a family member, forming close social bonds with them," animal welfare researcher Lauren Finka from Nottingham Trent University explained to The Telegraph.
"It's therefore very possible that pets could be affected by the way we interact with and manage them, and that both these factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences."
Finka and her team surveyed over 3,000 cat owners, asking a series of questions that measured them on a scale known as the Big Five Inventory (BFI) of personality traits, which assesses people's agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism, and openness.
What they found was a number of correlations that not only predicted the cat's general welfare, but also its own personality.
For example, higher owner neuroticism was linked with cats cited as having a "behavioural problem", which could be evidenced by aggression, anxiety or fear, or stress-related behaviours – in addition to medical conditions or being overweight.
The researchers also found that cat owners who scored higher on extroversion were more likely to have animals that themselves enjoyed more freedom outside, while participants who came across as agreeable reported being more satisfied with their (perhaps more agreeable) felines.
The figures do not seem to correlate.