Humans and their pets often seem eerily similar to each other, and it’s not just in our imagination, according to a new study.
In a study published in Plos One, researchers surveyed over 3000 cat owners. They asked them a variety of questions about five broad personality traits: extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Then they observed their cats’ behavior.
The researchers found that the traits that were dominant in owners were also observed in their cats.
For example, owners who rated higher in neuroticism had cats who exhibited behavior problems. Owners who rated themselves as more extroverted had cats who enjoyed being outside more.
Cats are notoriously independent animals. They’re not really into being told what to do or how to act. So, how do they end up picking up on so many of their humans’ traits?
It may be due to the tight bond that many humans and cats share.
“Many owners consider their pets as a family member, forming close social bonds with them,” explained Dr. Lauren Finka, co-author of the study. “It’s therefore very possible that pets could be affected by the way we interact with and manage them, and that both these factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences.”
She added that “further research is needed to investigate the causal nature of this relationship – and to look at if, and how, owner personalities are directly influencing their cat’s behavior and welfare.”