No Cat is Purrfect

Personality Disorder

Would you describe your cat as neurotic, extravagant, domineering, impulsive or agreeable? Maybe a combination of some? Would your cat agree with your assessment?

I believe our cat, Chester, goes through all these personalities which a research paper on cat psyche explored.

A recent article on the internet resurrected results from a survey that measured 52 cat personality traits and narrowed them down to five in a paper titled, The ‘Feline Five’: An exploration of personality in pet cats (Felis catus).

The Feline Five personality traits are: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Dominance, Impulsiveness and Agreeableness. 

The Feline Five.

The analysis was spearheaded by the University of South Australia and was published in 2017. It involved 2,802 domestic felines in Australia and New Zealand. To be clear the survey was answered by people, not cats, though the four-legged guys thought they should have been able to give their feedback too.

How might a human handle their cat who has one of these personalities? The research paper had suggestions and Chester did too.

The paper said, “Cats that score high on Neuroticism (shy) may be stressed and benefit from an assessment of social stress by observing any interactions between the neurotic cat and others (human or non-human animals). These cats may benefit from additional hiding places around the home or access to quiet areas.”

Neurotic Cat. Courtesy: Real Mascot.

“Why does the cat need more hiding places,” Chester said as he watched funny cat videos on YouTube. “Stress is giving the cat another psychological evaluation. What causes stress? People. It’s always humans’ fault. Remove the person from the home and let them sit on a shrink’s couch and spill out their neuroses. If a cat needs a quiet area, I suggest poolside in Miami with a Pink Pussy Cat and a water chaser.

“You know who’s neurotic? You are because you’re a Jets fan. You have all the classic symptoms; anger, anxiety, irritability, emotional instability and depression.”

“You might be right on that one cat,” I admitted. “That’s what happens when your team hasn’t made the playoffs in 12 seasons.”

Chester, the Extraversion Cat.

The Australian study continued.

“Cats with high scores for Extraversion (smart, curious, inventive) may need additional stimulation and more complex environmental enrichment to avoid boredom such as extra room to play, additional sensory items or toys, and social interactions with humans and/or other animals.”

“They got that one right,” Chester said while multitasking by solving the day’s Sudoku. “But I disagree that we need more social interactions with humans. Your species is the definition of boring. Just let me play Cat Quest on my PS4 and I’m stimulated.”

The Feline Five study went on.

“High scores on Impulsiveness (erratic, reckless) may also indicate a stressful environment with negative effects on a cat’s health and welfare and owners may need to seek advice from an animal behaviorist to locate the source of stress.”

Dominance Cat.

“We’re not erratic or reckless,” Chester snorted just as the YouTube video showed two cats falling off a bookshelf they had just climbed while swatting glassware to a smashing demise. “We know what we’re doing at all times. If you’re too simple-minded to recognize our genius, that’s your problem.

“Again, with the behaviorist. Stop! The first sign you have a problem is admitting you have a problem and you have many problems. Not me, not other cats. It’s you, blockhead.”

“Thank you doctor,” I said sarcastically. “What problems are you talking about?”

“Blaming cats for your human issues. Don’t point your fingers at us,” Chester said defiantly. “You people are arrogant, conceited, narcissistic, predatory, deranged, paranoid, bumptious and just plain stupid, to name a few.”

“I’m impressed by your vocabulary, Chester,” was my only comeback, because I really was amazed at the big words my cat was throwing at me.

Impulsiveness Cat.

“Read a book, Guttenberg. You might learn something,” Chester leered.

Back to the study.

“High scores for Agreeableness (friendly) are likely to represent cats that are well adjusted and ‘happy’, potentially serving as a source of enrichment for other cats.”

“Correct,” said Chester. “As long as you agree with what I say, I’ll be friendly. If not, you’re going to have a problem.”

“Thanks for the advice,” I sluggishly responded.

And the final Feline Five persona.

“High scores for Dominance reflect a cat that is likely to bully other cats in the household, potentially causing stress, aggression or injury with object (food) and social (inter-cat) dominance behaviors observed in situations with forced grouping of cats.”

“What’s wrong with being a dominant cat,” Chester reacted in disbelief. “Does anyone complain when a lion or tiger rules the jungle? Nooooo! You really think a house cat shouldn’t be an alpha? You want to see dominant, get between me and my kibble and I’ll introduce you to my claws.”

Friendly Cat. Courtesy: Getty Images.

“You’re starting to sound like a person,” I countered.

“Aaaaahhhhhh!” Chester screamed. “You’ve hit me with the second worst insult you can give a cat.”

“What’s the first,” I asked.

“Sounding like a dog,” Chester wailed.

“What will the other neighborhood cats think of me,” Chester cried. “I need a place to hide for a while and sooth myself with my Fidget.

“Do you hear what I’m saying! Listen to me, my opinion matters! In fact, it’s the only opinion you should pay attention to. You hear me Mr. Stone-deaf!

“Boy, do I need to binge on a sack of kibble right now.

Chester is spent after a day of self-analysis.

“By the way, I’m sympathetic to your inferior way of thinking and would like to offer my services so you can see the light on the real cat psyche. I’ll even do that pro bono.”

“You’re too kind,” I said. “And you were also nice enough to confirm my opinion that you encompass all aspects of the Feline Five. Well done.”

“Anything I can do to advance the cause of cat psychiatry is a win,” our almost humble tabby crowed.

Sigmund Freud couldn’t have said it any better.

Criminal Minds

How do you explain something you were absolutely positive about was on your kitchen table, except it isn’t? You search all the usual places you might have left that something but without success. Then you turn to the only other living thing at your residence, your cat, and observe he isn’t making eye contact with you.

Using your powers of deduction, you postulate that your feline is withholding information that can lead to your something. You know you can’t sit him down under bright lights for an interrogation session because your cat isn’t a stool pigeon.

You go around your home a second time and get the same result. Now all you’ve proved is the definition of insanity.

What to do? Think Sherlock Holmes.

Cat caught retrieving stolen goods. Courtesy: ignoramusky/YouTube.

As any good detective would, you try and find answers to the three pillars of a criminal investigation; means, motive and opportunity. Since you know you didn’t take the something, who could?

You narrow your suspects to one – your cat.

Did he have the ability to take your something? Yes, he’s a cat. Did he have a motive to take your something? Yes, he’s a cat. Did your cat have the opportunity to take your something? Duh, he’s a cat.

Does your cat have an alibi? Since he’s not talking, you assume he’s guilty. Screw the Fifth Amendment. But you’re lacking one very important thing – evidence, unless you count the cat hair where your something was last seen, but there’s cat hair everywhere in your domicile.

Now comes the most dangerous part of this case, you have to think like a cat. Where would I hide my something if I had four legs, a tail, whiskers, a strong flexible body and retractable claws?

As hard as you try, you feel your attempts at cat cognition aren’t working. That all changes when you go over to the dark side and sniff a wade of catnip. Your perception of time and space is distorted, you have an out of body experience as if you’re floating on air, your muscles twitch and you can’t stop hearing, When Doves Cry, being played backwards. But you also start to think like a cat.

Some cats can never be rehabilitated from a life of stealing.

Suddenly you’re looking in places you never would have; under the carpet, a hole in the back of a bedroom closet, the attic, the chimney and then it hits you. You haven’t pulled the 250-pound stove away from the kitchen wall.

Eureka! You’ve found your something.

You are proud of your detective work. Then you slap cat handcuffs on your pet and read him his Miranda rights. Additionally, you scold him about the evils of stealing and the virtues of living a good clean Christian life.

And what is the impact on your furball? Nothing.

He just stares at you and says “are we done now; I have to resume being a cat and hide more of your stuff.”

So, while you consummated your search, you failed at rehabilitating your pet. What did you expect? This isn’t an episode of Columbo, it’s real life and you have to deal with it.

What I’ve described recently happened to TikTok user @juliaparadiso_.

Ms. Paradiso was searching for a 60 pack of springs she got for her orange cat when the light bulb went off in her head.


I was wondering where his SIXTY pack of springs went #orangecat #orangecatbehavior

♬ original sound – Julia
Courtesy: @juliaparadiso_/TikTok.

In her TikTok video, she pulls her oven away from the wall to discover many of the springs strewn in back of the appliance. The felonious feline watched the proceedings, and like any cool cat, showed no emotion as his scheme was revealed.

We don’t know if Paradiso did a few hits of catnip, but it’s a fair assumption she did. How else do you explain her solving the mystery so quickly?

So, what is the moral of this story?

If someone tells you, “Don’t do drugs.” Tell them you should whenever you’re looking for something your cat decided to pilfer. It also works for other occurrences of animal fleecing.

If you suspect your pet reindeer has committed larceny and you want to meld your mind with it, take what they do, mushrooms. Maybe you have a bigger cat in your home. Try yagé to connect with your jaguar’s criminal thoughts. You might even share some giggles. And if you want a chilled cross-examination of your cow, chew the cud on some locoweed. Even if you don’t get the information you seek, the trance you both go into is worth your time.

One thought on “No Cat is Purrfect

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