Understanding Your Cat: 5 Types of Cats Personalities

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: April 27, 2023
© Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points

  • Cats’ behavior may oftentimes come across as unpredictable or strange to their owners, as they are an entirely different species with their own set of social rules and expectations.
  • It can help to strengthen a person’s bond with their cat by meeting them halfway and endeavoring to understand their quirks.
  • Though every kitty is wholly unique, here we’ll discuss five of the most common feline behavioral types so you can better accommodate your cat’s purr-sonality!

While different stereotypes go along with “cat people” vs. “dog people” (I’m sure a few just popped into your head), there are also stereotypes about cat personalities and dog personalities. While your dog may excitedly greet you at the door as if you were gone forever with an enthusiastic tail wag, your cat may barely acknowledge your existence with a head nod as if to say, “What up?” and then casually continue his wandering. Cats have a reputation for being aloof and low-key, but not all cats follow that stereotype.

Researchers in Australia and New Zealand conducted a research study to determine if cats have different personality types. If you are a cat owner, you probably have some idea of where your cat would land! Read on to find out all about understanding your cat and the 5 types of cat personalities.

What did Researchers Find Out about Cat Personalities?

Researchers in Australia and New Zealand provided an online survey to cat owners that represented a pool of 2,802 domestic cats. Owners rated their cats on a scale from “not at all” to “very much” on 52 different questions. The questions included things like “friendly to other cats,” “greedy,” and “seems scared easily.” Taking the data from the survey, researchers were able to categorize the results into one of five cat personalities.

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The personality types of cats mirror the personality traits of humans in many ways. One goal of the research was to help cat owners better understand their cat’s personality types. This way, owners can provide the best home and experience for their pets. Owners can “enhance the quality of life for their cats.”   

What are the 5 Types of Cat Personalities?

The 5 types of cat personalities are called the “Feline Five.” Each cat was scored on a 52-question survey. The results illustrated behaviors based on five different traits. Read through the personality traits a do a quick analysis of your cat! There might be more than one personality trait that your cat exudes, but there is probably one that is most predominant.

  1. Extroverts
  2. Agreeable
  3. Impulsive
  4. Dominant
  5. Neurotic

What is an Extroverted Cat?

Domestic Cat, Autumn, Birman, Nature, Winter
Extroverted cats seem curious and alert.

©Liudmila Chernetska/Shutterstock.com

An extroverted cat is similar to an extroverted person. They seem to be energized by being around other people and/or other animals. They seem curious and alert. These are the cats that move from one activity to another quickly, needing lots of stimulation. If visitors stop by, they may come out to investigate vs. running to hide under the bed. They may intentionally seek out their co-pet if they live in a multi-cat or multi-pet house. They may initiate play or just find a good place to snuggle up to their furry friend.   

What should you do if you have an Extroverted Cat?

If you have an extroverted cat, you must ensure they get plenty of socialization. It’s probably not hard to give lots of love and attention to these attention-seeking cats. Researchers also advise that you provide extra stimulation like various toys and experiences. They encourage owners to give “additional stimulation and more complex environmental enrichment to avoid boredom.”

If you work from home, you can set a timer to take a break and spend a few minutes playing with your favorite feline. Each break, move to a different room of your home for variety. When you are away from home, make interactive toys available, again putting different toys in different rooms of the home. Be sure to swap out the toys and cat puzzles frequently. One tip is to create 4 shoe boxes of toys and rotate a new box each week, occasionally adding new toys for variety. This should give your extroverted cat the happiest possible home!

What is an Agreeable Cat?

nice cat
Agreeable cats are described as “friendly” and are often therapeutic cats.

©Shebeko/Shutterstock.com

An agreeable cat is just that, agreeable and easy to get along with. If your friends say, “Man, your cat is so chill!” then you know you have an agreeable cat. These kitties go with the flow and don’t seem to mind sharing “their home” with other pets. They are described as “friendly” and are often therapeutic cats. This is the cat that people look forward to coming home to and cuddling with for an evening of Netflix. Cats that are in shelters and exhibit agreeable personalities are more likely to be adopted (logical). If visitors come over, your cat may not come out right away like an extroverted cat, but they usually will come to investigate and offer a “snuggle by” rub against their leg with a soft purr. A welcome greeting!

What should you do if you have an Agreeable Cat?

Agreeable cats are typically happy and indicate that you are doing an awesome job caring for your pet. Keep doing what you are doing! With an agreeable cat, you want to know that they still benefit from various toys and activities. So don’t just keep everything the same. Add new toys regularly. Cats need stimulating interactions to keep their minds active and to stay healthy. So grab your phone, record your kitty unboxing a new rollerball, and watch their reaction…very fun!

What is an Impulsive Cat?

Funny red cat flying in the air in autumn
If you watch an impulsive cat at play, you may cringe at some of its acrobatics.

©Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

An impulsive cat is a cat that is described as reckless and erratic. If you have a cat like this, you probably think it is a good thing cats have nine lives! While many cat owners have witnessed their cat in a crazed cat zoomie, an impulsive cat may exhibit extreme zoomies! If you watch an impulsive cat at play, you may cringe at some of its acrobatics. You may be sure that they will fall the next time they try to leap from the top of the fridge to the top of your pantry.

What should you do if you have an Impulsive Cat?

If you have an impulsive cat, you want to ensure they are not acting impulsively because they are stressed. Cats that are stressed, are bullied by other cats, don’t have enough space to play or are cooped up might act impulsively. If you think your cat is overstressed, be sure to check with your vet. If your cat has plenty of space and gets lots of attention, then it is probably just naturally an impulsive type of cat. You may want to cat-proof your house a bit for safety. Check for any dangerous situations your cat might get into. It may also be safer to keep your impulsive cat as an inside cat or limit their outdoor time to a fenced-in area for safety.

What is a Dominant Cat?

cat
If you have multiple cats, one may clearly show dominance over the other ones.

©Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.com

A dominant cat is the boss of the house…you included (at least that’s what they think!). If you have multiple cats, one may clearly show dominance over the other ones. This may come out as a cat that suddenly needs to eat as soon as one of the others starts and nudges them out of the way or the cat that starts fighting with other cats…”What you looking at?!?”…leading to a paw-swatting roll on the rug. This dominant behavior stems from behaviors you see in feral cats that live in group settings. The females usually work together to raise the young, but there is fierce competition between the males, so dominance is a positive trait used in mating.

One application of knowledge about these personality types is if you are considering having more than one cat, be sure to think about the personality types of each cat so that you don’t create a situation where one or more of your cats is bullied.

What should you do if you have a Dominant Cat?

If you have a dominant cat, you might want to decide to have a one-cat household. The researchers of the Australia study concluded that there needs to be more research done to help dominant cat owners improve their cat’s welfare specifically. If you already have several cats and one is being dominant to the point that it is affecting the well-being of your other cats, talk to your vet for suggestions on helping keep the peace in your household.

What is a Neurotic Cat?

Longest Cats - Siberian Cat
On the spectrum of neuroticism, you may have a cat that is shy to a cat that is always anxious.

©Emil Helge/Shutterstock.com

The final Feline Five is the neurotic cat. While many people may think their cat is neurotic because they sleep in an Amazon box instead of the $50 fleece cat bed you got them, or they swat your wine glass off the coffee table when you go to use the bathroom, actual neuroticism in cats looks different. On the spectrum of neuroticism, you may have a cat that is shy to a cat that is always anxious. This is the cat that takes off and hides under the bed when visitors come over vs casually looking at a visitor and just keeping walking…”I see you, not interested.” You can have a cat with a neurotic personality that is healthy and well-kept, or neuroticism can be a sign the cat is over-stressed.

What should you do if you have a Neurotic Cat?

If your cat is neurotic, ask your vet for advice. If you think your cat is shy and suspicious, try to be aware of what situations cause more anxiety. For example, if you have guests coming over for a party, consider having your cat stay with a sitter. A single-cat household might be the best option for a neurotic cat, or supervise interactions more in a multi-cat home. Give your cat time alone and time to chill by themselves. Keep toys simple and quiet. No need to get loud buzzing light-up entertaining toys for these cats. Create a low-key loving home, and your neurotic cat should be fine. They may even gradually become more chill.

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The Featured Image

Funny red cat flying in the air in autumn
Did you know that cats have different personalities? Some of them are similar to humans! Keep reading to learn more.
© Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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