The Five Personality Traits of Cats

white cat lying on a rug
Cats are known to be mysterious, but we can get to know our feline companions better by understanding their personalities! Knowing their personality types and the factors that affect them can be helpful if you’re trying to find the right cat for your lifestyle, decode your mysterious pet, or create the right training techniques. 
Let’s start by consulting the experts. Researchers at the University of South Australia administered a personality test to 2,802 cats in Australia and New Zealand. 
They discovered cats fit into these five personality types: Skittishness, Outgoingness, Dominance, Spontaneity, and Friendliness.
These categories can be simplified into two main types:
1. The Extrovert
Cats are known for their independence, but not all cats are as antisocial as people think. Cats in this category are sociable and playful.
2. The Introvert
These cats tend to be on the quieter side. They’re shy and may be slower to approach and trust humans.
While your pet may not fall neatly into one category, it’s a helpful framework for beginning to understand what makes your cat tick.
What Affects a Cat’s Personality?
How great would it be to read your pet’s mind? Until that magical gadget is invented, you can consider how the following factors may affect your cat’s unique personality.
Breed and History
Choosing a pet whose personality aligns with your lifestyle is essential. For instance, you may want an independent cat if you tend to work outside of the home for most of the day.
The first step in determining the cat personality type that best suits your lifestyle is to consider your cat’s background: their breed and their history.
Genetics determine cat personalities. A breeder can help shed some light on the type of personality your kitten is likely to develop as they mature. Want a highly vocal cat? Consider a Siamese. Need an energetic cat that can keep up with your active lifestyle? Try an exotic breed. Create a shortlist of your top contenders and then do some detective work online to learn as much as you can about each one.
It’s more difficult to determine the potential personalities of strays and cats adopted from shelters because you don’t know their history. They may have been abused or surrendered due to no fault of their own. However, that doesn’t mean that the cat is beyond help. In a supportive and loving environment, a cat recovering from abuse can grow to become well adjusted.
Kitten Socialization
When it comes to socialization, start ’em young! The first three months of a kitten’s life are a time of discovery. Without proper socialization and exposure to new experiences, your kitten may develop fears that they will carry with them into their adulthood.
Environment & Cleanliness
A change in environment may influence your cat’s personality. For example, an unfamiliar visitor may cause a timid cat to run and hide (which is an acceptable fearful behaviour). Even cleanliness plays a role. Wouldn’t you feel depressed if your surroundings started to become dirty and unkept? That’s why it’s important to always keep your cat’s litter box clean and provide plenty of fresh food. You can refresh your memory on the basics of litter box care here.
We hope this article helps you uncover the clues to your cat’s personality. While we may never fully understand our cats, one thing is certain: We couldn’t live without them!