Researchers have concluded that if cats were humans their behavior would be labeled “psychopathic”. In fact, the new study found that the average cat is likely harboring psychopathic tendencies.
“Researchers surveyed pet owners to rate their cats’ level of psychopathy — as defined by human psychological standards. Their findings revealed that most cats fall somewhere on the spectrum of psychopathy — that is, on the “triarchic” concept of psychopathy, which uses levels of boldness, meanness and disinhibition to measure the psychiatric disorder in people.
The 46-question survey, which currently includes 549 participants, asked cat owners to rate whether their cat “torments their prey rather than killing it straight away,” “cat dominates neighborhood cat(s) (e.g. chases them, picks fights with them),” “is undeterred by punishment i.e. will repeat behaviors he/she is scolded for” and “vocalizes loudly (e.g. meows, yowls) for no apparent reason.” Responses were documented on a five-factor scale, from “Does not describe my cat” to “Describes my cat extremely well.”
In addition, related behaviors are measured including sudden mood changes, aggression towards new people, and reactions to being petted; researchers also added human-unfriendliness and pet-unfriendliness to their scale to create the Cat Triarchic Plus, a tool to measure feline psychopathy.”
Conclusion: Psychopathic Cats may be the Norm
“It is likely that all cats have an element of psychopathy as it would have once been helpful for their ancestors in terms of acquiring resources, for example, food, territory and mating opportunities.”
-Rebecca Evans, researcher, University of Liverpool
Wanna’ know if your cat is a psychopath?
Take the survey: online
Journal reference: Rebecca Evans, Minna Lyons, Gayle Brewer & Emily Bethell, A domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) model of triarchic psychopathy factors: Development and initial validation of the CAT-Tri+ questionnaire, Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 95, December 2021, 104161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2021.104161