If you’ve ever thought your cat was a bit suspicious, you might be right on the money…
“If you’re standing among a pride of lions, sometimes you’ll be fine and other times they will pounce and attack for no reason,” psychologist Dr Max Wachtel told the BBC. “And it’s the same for little domestic house cats.”
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Bronx Zoo compared the personalities of domestic cats to their wild relatives.
Scientists rated the behaviours of domestic cats, snow leopards, clouded leopard, Scottish wildcats and the African lion using the ‘big five’ human personality traits – openness to experience, extraversion/introversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism.
Interestingly, African lions and domestic cats had very similar personality structures, with a strong emphasis on aggression, dominance and impulsiveness.
“They’re cute and furry and cuddly, but we need to remember when we have cats as pets, we are inviting little predators into our house,” says Dr Wachtel.
“For a lot of people, it is worth it. Cats can be fantastic, sweet companions. Until they turn on you.”
So should you be afraid of fluffy? You can probably relax – the small size of cats prevents them from unleashing their full predatory nature.
It’s been a pretty tumultuous year for our relationships with cats, with different studies suggesting that cats don’t love their owners and that they could be carrying a mind-controlling parasite.