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  • Writer's pictureSarah Plant

Cat owners pass on personality traits to their pets!

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

New research carried out by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln has found a link between the personalities of cat owners and the behaviour and wellbeing of their pets.

The findings suggest that, just as a parents personality can affect the personality of the child, the same is true for a cat and their owner.

As part of the study, the researchers asked questions about owners' personalities, as well as their cats' behaviour, health and lifestyle.

Researchers found that owners who scored high for neuroticism, defined as individuals more likely to experience anxiety, fear, anger, depression and loneliness - were more likely to have pets with behavioural problems.

Such cats displayed more aggressive and anxious/fearful behavioural styles as well as more stress-related sickness, and were more likely to have an ongoing medical condition and be overweight.

On the flip side, the research also found that mentally well-adjusted owners had calmer, happier and healthier pets.

Dr Lauren Finka researcher in animal welfare at NottinghamTrent University said " Many owners consider their pets as a family member, forming close social bonds with them. 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.

The majority of owners want to provide the best cure for their cats, and these results highlight an important relationship between our personalities and the wellbeing of our pets."

Previous studies have found that greater parental neuroticism scores are generally associated with less positive wellbeing outcomes for children. Whilst agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness and extraversion are associated with more positive parenting styles and child welfare.

The study suggests pets are equally absorbent when it comes to the moods of their owners.

Notting Trent University associate Professor Mark Farnsworth said " More and more we are learning that the welfare of pets is driven by the underlying nature of their owner, and not simply by their conscious decisions and behaviours.

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