Love them or hate them, we can all agree that cats can be total jerks at times. Well, this has been scientifically proven now. According to a new study, conducted by scientists at the University of Liverpool, all cats indeed have an element of psychopathy in them.
The study, which included 2,042 cat owners, was published in the Journal of Personality Research and highlights the evolution of the very first instrument accessible to detect psychopathy in cats, which was developed by the researchers.
The CAT-Tri+ test, as it is known, consists of 46 statements in which owners are asked to assess how well each statement characterizes their pet.
“My cat torments its target rather of killing it straight away,” “my cat makes loud noises for no apparent reason,” and “my cat is highly hyperactive and uncoordinated” are all examples of the statements in question. All replies are graded on a five-point scale from best to worst.
Additionally, you should watch for signs of aggression, such as high sitting, “towering over” adjacent cats, and purring when your cat attacks humans or animals.
“We designed a questionnaire to quantify psychopathy in household cats as part of our research,” said Rebecca Evans, the study’s principal investigator.
In order to design the questionnaire, instances of cat behavior submitted by their owners were analyzed in the context of the triarchic model of psychopathy (daring, meanness, and disinhibition).
According to the researchers, the final questionnaire assesses five characteristics of feline psychopathy: boldness, meanness, disinhibition, animosity against animals, and hostility toward people.
Specifically, Evans indicated that owners reported having a worse quality connection with nasty and daring cats, but they reported having a better relationship with unrestrained and animal-hostile cats.
“We think that psychopathy, like any other personality attribute, exists on a continuum, with some cats scoring higher than others,” she said.
Because it would have been advantageous for their predecessors in terms of collecting resources (e.g., food, territory, and mating chances), it is probable that all cats contain an element of psychopathy.
Evans said that there are ways to assist any cat that is very high on the Cat-Tri+ scale, such as purchasing large scratching posts, as well as other methods of assistance.