Studying Cat Personalities

And now for something completely different!

Believe it or not, a professor and I are embarking on a new scientific study on the personality of cats. I’m glad today isn’t April Fools, because I assume almost all of you would think I wasn’t being serious, but I most definitely mean this.

During the psychology of personality class I sat in last semester, I became more and more intrigued with just how personality is measured and how it’s affected by different factors. Karol (the professor) and I spoke at length about this, and we became more and more focused on how pets enter into all of this. Do cats really have personalities, or are we just projecting our own thoughts onto them when we think they’re being cute or shy or outspoken? What different things might affect a cat’s personality?

There are a ton of different questions I’d like to see if we can answer, but Karol has told me not to say what they are, as that might influence how people respond to our survey.

Oh yeah! The survey!

We’ve developed a brief 5-10 minute survey we’re asking cat owners to fill out. It has questions about their cat’s personality and their own personality. (You can fill it out for up to five cats, for what it’s worth, though obviously it will take a little longer if you fill it out for multiple kitties.) Once we get all this data, we will be able to churn through it to come up with averages for different cat personality traits, which owners can then look at to determine just how special (or “special”) their own little fur ball is.

The best part is, this is actually scientific. We’re basing it all around heavily tested, solid research into human personalities, and I’d like to write up an article around the results we get. (Maybe even do a book, depending on how it plays out.)

But the first and most important part is getting a solid number of responses. Ideally, I’d like thousands of people to take the test, but I suppose we’ll just have to see how easily it spreads and how many other people are curious about this topic. That’s where you come in. I would love it if you would take this test (if you’re a cat owner) and spread the word about it far and wide (even if you’re not a cat owner!) We hope to start getting results by March, but we’ll see how it all plays out. (Naturally, I would be discussing some of those results here on the blog.)

If you have questions, I’m happy to try and answer them. Here’s the link to the survey: though you can also just share this blog post if that’s easier.

And . . . that’s it! Send this out into the world, and stay tuned for the answers to all those driving questions surrounding our feline friends.

EDIT: You can get an update on the first day of results here.

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