Are cats psychopaths? Scientists say probably


People have different preferences on what kind of pet they want to take care of. But those who lean towards cats might find this new study a bit interesting. The December issue of the Journal of Research in Personality showed these felines could have actual psychopathic tendencies.

Researchers at the UK’s University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University conducted a survey involving cat owners to rate their pet’s level of psychopathy, based on human psychological standards. Psychology Today defines psychopathy as “a condition characterized by the absence of empathy and the blunting of other affective states.”

The survey contained 46 questions and was given to 549 participants, who were asked to rate whether their cat “torments their prey rather than killing it straight away,” “is undeterred by punishment”, “vocalizes loudly (e.g. meows) for no apparent reason”, etc. Answers were recorded on a five-factor ranking, from “Does not describe my cat” to “Describes my cat extremely well.”

Cats psychopaths, <b> Are cats psychopaths? Scientists say probably </b>
Unsplash / Mikhail Vasilyev

The findings revealed the spectrum that cats fall into is on the “triarchic” concept of psychopathy, which utilizes levels of boldness, meanness, and disinhibition to measure the psychiatric disorder in humans. But those three traits also developed as factors to lead towards a psychopathic cat.

The researchers also explained two more factors used in the study: human-unfriendliness and pet-unfriendliness. This new method of measuring feline psychopathy is called the Cat Triarchic Plus (CAT-Tri+).

Speaking with Vice Motherboard, researcher Rebecca Evans said that she is interested to discover if psychopathy in a cat can affect the pet-owner relationship. She said, ‘Our cats and the differences in their personalities inspired us to start this research.’

The study also theorizes that the results most likely stem from traits inherited from their undomesticated ancestors, whose primary goals were securing food, territory, and mates.

The survey was made public for cat parents worldwide to figure out what cat psychopathy level their pet is in.

Cats psychopaths, <b> Are cats psychopaths? Scientists say probably </b>

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