Is Your Cat a Psychopath? Probably

Morning Cat

By Samantha Cole

Motherboard December 6, 2021, 11:18am

One of our cats is sitting directly behind me as I type this, screaming at the back of my head for reasons that only he knows. When he’s bored with that, he’ll stalk our other cat like prey while she tries to use the litter box. He regularly makes guests uncomfortable with prolonged, almost alien eye contact. He is undoubtedly a demon, but according to the findings in a recently published study, he may also meet the description of a cat psychopath.

A team of researchers at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University in the UK devised a survey for cat owners to find out if the hellions living with them fit the bill for cat psychopathy. They wrote a survey that includes questions like: “My cat vocalizes loudly (e.g., meows, yowls) for no apparent reason,” “My cat runs around the house for no apparent reason,” and “My cat does not appear to act guilty after misbehaving.”

The researchers used the answers to these questions given by 549 cat owners who completed the survey to create a new criteria for psychopathy in cats. They started with the “triarchic” concept of psychopathy, where levels of boldness, meanness, and disinhibition have been used to measure psychopathy in humans. These three traits also emerged as factors that lead toward a psychopathic cat, the researchers wrote, but two more factors also arose: human-unfriendliness and pet-unfriendliness. They named this new method of measuring psychopathic cats the Cat Triarchic Plus (CAT-Tri+).

“Our cats and the differences in their personalities inspired us to start this research,” Rebecca Evans, one of the researchers on the study, told Motherboard. “Personally, I am also interested in how owner perceptions of psychopathy in their cat can affect the cat-owner relationship. My cat (Gumball) scores relatively highly on the disinhibition scale—which means he can be quite vocal, proximity-seeking and excitable!”

Minna Lyons, another of the study’s authors, told Motherboard that they are all “crazy cat ladies” who among them study primates, rodents, and psychopathy in humans. “We decided to join our forces and see if psychopathy is something that is relevant in our feline friends too,” she said. “My personal inspiration is my cat Axel, a fluffy and greedy little creature.” Axel participated in a part of the study that assigned activity trackers to some cats, to watch how they move about their days. “Axel is totally bold, and known to go into neighbors’ houses, cars, and garages to search for food,” Lyons said—a sign of a feline psychopath.

All of this sounds like normal cat stuff, which the researchers told me may just be the case; it’s likely that all cats have an element of psychopathy, as humans understand it, they said, as these traits make good sense for their wild ancestors whose main goals were securing food, territory, and mates. They don’t make a lot of sense in a small Brooklyn apartment where kibbles are doled out on a schedule, so to us, zooming up walls and body slamming other pets seems unhinged.

~  Grif

Evening Cat

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DrE
Admin
DrE(@eowyn2)
1 month ago

“My cat runs around the house for no apparent reason”

This just shows the researchers’ pathetic ignorance of cats. Cats run or dash around “for no apparent reason” to expend pent-up energy, which means there is a reason.

All in all, I can only assume that the researchers meant their study and conclusions as a joke or maybe the researchers are cat-haters. It is ridiculous to generalize from human psychology to nonhuman creatures.

 
greenworxx
greenworxx
1 month ago
Reply to  DrE

I agree Dr. E. I’ve lived with cats all of my life and love all of their distinct personalities which can somewhat be affected by their breed. Cats have made my life more full and I thank God for them.

 
entagor
entagor
1 month ago
Reply to  greenworxx

Can’t imagine life without my little furball

 
entagor
entagor
1 month ago
Reply to  DrE

Well, if it wasnt satire, obviously the authors are psychopaths, well, at least they are clueless. I call such cat behavior delightful. Especially the hypnotic stare, as they try to use thought control to get me to open a pack of treats.

 
Mist'ears Mom
Mist'ears Mom
1 month ago

I love my furballs…they are amusing that’s for sure, but psychopaths maybe – sometimes…lol.
Hopefully this was meant to be satire or some people have too much time on their hands.
Never ceases to amaze how people think animals are the same as humans – Mother Nature and God say differently …

 
Calgirl
Calgirl
1 month ago

Ah! My cats, a favorite subject 🙂 The weirdest thing about my youngest cats is that they were born right before COVID lock down, & so grew up over the last nearly 2 yrs without seeing another human being besides me & my husband. When the quarantine lifted somewhat & we started to do some repairs that required others entering the house—–the cats ALL disappear—scatter all directions…each into their own little hiding place (and we don’t know where they all are, even) though it takes all day or sometimes days. My husband and I call it their sense of “stranger danger!” People notice the signs of cats in the home, but NEVER see one as long as they are working in the house. In the evening, when “the coast is clear,” they all creep out to cuddle up with us on the couch.

 
Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago

Depends upon the cat, I guess…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ-3J-hqgzE