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People have a tendency to believe that their beloved furry felines have their own unique personalities. However, according to the traditional definition of personality, a set of characteristics that are stable across both time and different circumstances, this may not entirely be true. Previous research into this area has resulted in dimensional groupings of cat personality traits similar to those found within the well-known human equivalent, the Big Five (Feaver, Mendl & Bateson, 1986; Karsh & Turner, 1988; Bennett, Rutter, Woodhead & Howell, 2017; Ha & Ha, 2017). While the number of labels and dimensions discovered typically differs, these studies have all come to the conclusion that cat personality traits do exist, and that they vary from individual to individual. Yet, none of these studies have intentionally examined the stability of these traits, a key component of overall personality. The current study addresses this issue by asking primary caregivers of cats to rate, on a scale from one to five, how well 29 adjectives (taken from Bennett et al, 2017) describe their cat in three different situations and at two periods of time. The 29 adjectives rated by the participants were scored on the six dimensions of cat personality (playfulness, nervousness, amiability, dominance, demandingness, and gullibility) following the method of Bennett el al. (2017). Separate repeated measure ANOVAs were conducted with either situation or time as the independent variable. A Bonferroni adjusted α level of .05 / 6 = .00833 was used. Significant effects of situation were found for playfulness, nervousness, amiability, dominance and demandingness. Gullibility was not statistically significant. Significant effects of time were found for amiability, dominance, and demandingness. Playfulness, nervousness, and gullibility were not statistically significant at the Bonferroni corrected α level. In conclusion, while certain personality traits were found to be stable either across time or across situations, others were not; therefore, overall personality was not stable.
Greg C Elvers
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium poster
"Examining the Stability of the Purrsonality of Felis catus, the Domestic House Cat." (2018). Stander Symposium Posters. 1429.