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A new personality test can check whether your cat is a psychopath


The first ever tool has been created to measure psychopathy in cats (Picture: Getty Images)

Cats can be pretty ruthless creatures – picking and choosing when they are interested in us.

But experts have developed a new questionnaire to see whether a cat is really just being a bit rude, or if they are actually a psychopath.

Psychologists studied the relationships between thousands of cats and their owners to come up with this new test – which involves 46 statements that humans can rate their pets against.

Some of these include ‘my cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away’, ‘my cat vocalises loudly (eg meows, yowls) for no apparent reason’ and ‘my cat is very excitable (e.g. goes into “overdrive” and becomes uncoordinated).’

Essentially, results measure a cat’s levels of three things: ‘meanness’ (AKA traits such as a lack of empathy), ‘disinhibition’ (problems with behavioural restraint) and ‘boldness’ – which, in this instance, is to do with social dominance and low levels of fear.

The test also looks at a feline’s level of unfriendliness towards people, and towards other pets. 

Experts think all cats have an element of psychopathy (Picture: Getty Images)

Dubbed the CAT-Tri+, the test is the first tool available to measure psychopathy in cats and it’s been developed by teams at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.

But experts actually say that most cats will probably have some element of psychopathy in their personality.

Lead researcher Rebecca Evans said: ‘We believe that like any other personality trait, psychopathy is on a continuum, where some cats will score more highly than others. 

‘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.’

The team also hope the questionnaire will help improve cat and owner relationships and, as a result, reduce the number of pets that get taken to shelters or end up being put down.

Psychologist Rebecca stresses that the test can also be used by owners or vets to highlight undesirable behaviours and to make improvements to a cat’s environment, to suit their character.

‘A cat that has a high score on the boldness scale may benefit from large cat trees and tall scratching posts, as the Cat-Tri+ items suggest that a bold cat enjoys exploring and climbing,’ she adds.

The full questionnaire used in the study has been published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

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