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Are cats psychopaths? New research says, probably

To narrow down how a cat could be considered a psychopath, researchers surveyed 549 pet owners.
Credit: farbkombinat - stock.adobe.com

Have you ever wondered what was on your cat's mind? Well, a new study suggests that it may be something a little darker than we'd like to think.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University surveyed several pet owners to see what level of psychopathy their cats landed on based on human standards. Their findings were published in the December issue of the Journal of Research in Personality.

What they found was that a majority of cats surveyed fell under the spectrum of psychopathy. 

To narrow down how a cat could be considered a psychopath, researchers asked 549 pet owners questions like "My cat vocalises loudly (e.g. meows, yowls) for no apparent reason," "My cat runs around the house for no apparent reason," and "My cat does not appear to act guilty after misbehaving."

The "triarchic" concept of psychopathy was used to create a new feline-centric criteria for psychopathy. Under the "triarchic" concept, levels of boldness, meanness and disinhibition are used to measure psychopathy in humans. 

Cats checked all three of those boxes, but two other traits emerged: human-unfriendliness and pet-unfriendliness. 

In an interview with Vice's Motherboard, researchers said the reason cats may fall under this spectrum of psychopathy is due to their animalistic and wild nature. 

If you'd like to figure out if your cat might be a psychopath, click here to find information on a test.

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