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The effects of owner and domestic cat (Felis catus) demographics on cat personality traits

By Laura E. Leech, Richard Preziosi, Rosica Stoycheva, Giovanni Quintavalle Pastorino

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Personality has been researched in many companion animals and is described as differences in behavioural traits of individuals that often remain consistent over time. In domestic cats many factors have been discovered to influence personality, including breed, coat colour, gender, rearing experience, number of cats within a household, owner age, owner gender and owner personality. However, research is limited for certain factors, including owner demographics, so the aim was to demonstrate that a simple survey could be used to infer personality traits and identify domestic cat and owner demographical factors that influence certain traits. An online personality survey with 34 traits was sent out to cat owners in the UK, Europe and North America, containing cat and owner demographical questions. Housing type, total number of cats in household and owner animal preference all had significant effects on many of the personality trait scores. Unexpectedly, cat breed, owner age, neutering status and country of residence showed distinct clusters in the multifactor analysis individual model but did not have any significant effects on any of the personality traits, along with coat colour, owner gender and cat gender which were initially considered of importance to the study, contradicting some of the previous research. This study highlights the importance of considering demographical factors that influence personality traits, to predict cat personality based on these factors to cater for specific husbandry practices and to improve the chances of successful adoption for those within shelters.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 248
Pages 105570
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2022.105570
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal personality
  3. Cats
  4. Companion
  5. Ethology