What is YOUR CAT’S personality type? From Bossy Bella to Spontaneous Simba – experts reveal the FIVE different types and HOW you can improve human-feline relations by tailoring your interaction to each unique character
- Experts have revealed the five common cat personality types and what they mean
- There are Nervous Nala’s, Outgoing Oliver’s, Bossy Bella’s, Spontaneous Simba’s and Agreeable Alfie’s according to research by eco-cat litter firm Natusan
- By appreciating each of these cat personality types, British animal behaviourist, Professor Peter Neville, explains that feline parents can apply dedicated approaches to help improve their cat’s health and emotional wellbeing
Cats can be particular creatures, and pet parents know that their unique purr-sonalities can be very different.
Analysing internal data from over 3,700 cat parents, the experts from eco-cat litter firm Natusan, together with leading British animal behaviourist Professor Peter Neville, have uncovered five common personality personas in cats – Nervous Nala, Outgoing Oliver, Bossy Bella, Spontaneous Simba and Agreeable Alfie – together with their characteristics.
“Understanding your cat’s personality traits and recognising their idiosyncrasies are essential ingredients in maintaining their health and wellbeing”, said Professor Neville.
“Even in the same household, and from the same litter, our furry friends can be like chalk and cheese when it comes to their individual behaviours and preferences.
“Like humans, the more we appreciate what makes them tick, the more we can fine tune our interactions, and create environments that encourage them to thrive by accommodating their social and emotional needs.
“Reducing and removing sources of stress plays a big part here. And something as unassuming as a litter tray can be a notable source.”
“Cats are fastidiously clean souls, so the quality, hygiene and even position of their toilet can make a huge impact on their happiness.”
“It’s also worth noting that things we humans see as “undesirable” feline behaviours are in fact normal and natural responses for a cat – but can just occur at times or in places that we pet parents find inconvenient.”
With one in four saying they live with an Agreeable Alfie and 22 per cent recognising they live with a Bossy Bella. Which cat do you live with?
Cats with this type of personality are much more extroverted and often noisier than most. Internal data from Natusan found that 36 per cent of cat parents said their four-legged friend verbally welcomes them when they get home.
They learn quickly that we humans respond most to vocal communication, and that we pay them more attention when they ‘talk’ to us.
Outgoing Oliver’s become far louder with us than their own kind and simply up the volume and frequency until we respond to their needs.
They can also get into the most trouble due to that extrovert exploratory nature.
Their lower boredom threshold can lead to attention-seeking and sometimes destructive behaviour, in their efforts to reach and maintain a happy mood state.
Work hard at play. Frequent short daily play sessions can work well here, providing plenty of different types and textures of toys.
Reward desirable social behaviour with loving praise and their favourite treats – and use the same treats to distract your cat’s attention away from carrying out unwanted behaviours.
“Baby”-proof your home. If your cat has a naughty habit of opening cupboards and doors, invest in kid-proof door stoppers to keep what’s inside from falling into the wrong paws.
Keep distractions close to hand. A strategically-placed scratching post or climbing centre will help refocus your cat’s activity whilst helping to preserve the longevity of your furniture.
Never shout at or punish your cat physically for any unwanted behaviour, as this will only confuse them and make them unsure about your approach and love for them.
Instead, if your cat gets a little too excitable, have them chase a toy or treat into another room and close them in for a few moments for a ‘time out’ until their zoomies calm down (just make sure it isn’t where you keep your priceless art…)
Then let them back in to share your company and offer gentle stroking or a hide and seek game for hidden treats.
Be patient, especially with young cats, and remember, big energy outbursts are normal – never acts of spite or mean-ness. Your furry friend is quite incapable of such contrived negative feelings towards you!
Nervous Nala’s have a more delicate disposition and can be more highly-strung than others.
They can also be the most shy of cats – and according to Natusan’s research, one in four respondents revealed the character their cat would most likely play in a film would be ‘The Shy Kid’ (25%). Over time, and with the right support, these cats can become just as confident and cuddly as any feline, albeit only to those they truly love.
Give Nervous Nala’s space – Boxes, cat tunnels and other “safe spaces” are very important to nervous cats – they love a hiding spot to retreat to in order to relax and re-centre.
Also provide several high ‘perches’ and shelves for them to sit on and peruse the world from a safe vantage viewpoint. Being high up means escaping ground level challenges – such as the dog and kids – and can provide safety for anxious cats.
Be patient. Nervous Nala’s may only enjoy attention and cuddles when they initiate it, so always be ready to respond – and never pursue them to force attention on them.
Make a routine. This personality type especially takes comfort from predictability of mealtimes and playtimes at home. Also, be sure to never disturb them when they are sleeping or resting in their ‘safe places’.
Reduce “triggers”. If possible, try to determine and avoid things that may cause anxiety for your cat. For example, if your cat is scared of the hoover, take them to another room before flipping the switch.
You can’t scoop the litter box too often. Stress has been fingered as one of the biggest causes of urinary problems in cats. Fastidious about cleanliness, it’s not surprising that a urine-soaked tray could be the root of their anxiety.
Highly scented litters can be off-putting, as can course textures that may irritate the paws. Natural biodegradable clumping litters like Natusan not only do a stirling job of soaking up the powerful ammonia smell, making it easier to maintain. It’s plant-based formula means it is also fragrance-free and soft on feet.
Keep calm and purr on. Your cat is an expert at picking up your vibes, so try to stay cool, calm and collected, and hopefully your cat will do the same.
Bossy Bella’s always tend to be very assertive personalities and easy to spot as the ‘controlling influence’ in many multi-cat households, using their forceful presence and sometimes intimidating behaviour to get what they want when they want it.
These cats are masters in the art of manipulation, and can effortlessly wrap you around their little paws.
First impressions matter. When introducing new members of your pet family, use the “two-door method” to gradually let them get to know each other, slowly removing the barriers until they can get acquainted.
Share the love – but perhaps with each cat individually or with groups while your Bossy Bella is asleep or secure and alone in a different room – as this will avoid provoking competition, disruption and repercussion from your Bossy Bella. You may have a favourite, but they don’t need to know that unless it’s them!
Food, the great motivator. You’d be surprised how quickly your cat can straighten up and fly right when dinnertime comes into question – and internal data from Natusan found that 32 per cent of cat parents said their feline friend demands to be served immediately at dinner time. If you have more than one cat, provide separate feeding areas and bowls to prevent your Bossy Bella from monopolising the bowls and stealing the food or preventing access to the others.
Consider a permanent “fix”. Neutering or spaying your cat can help to control the hormones responsible for some undesirable behaviours. If needed, a specialist veterinary behaviourist can help you live in harmony with your cat.
Live with it. Cats, while fairly resilient and adaptable, can be set in their ways. If they’ve been “top cat” for too long, you may just have to deal with the fact that you’re seen more as a servant than a parent, in which case you should just be grateful to have such a merciful ruler.
According to Natusan’s research, 22% of British cat parents live with a Spontaneous Simba.
These cats are the most impulsive, and tend to have a lot of energy, which sometimes is released all at once.
Whilst all cats go through a “scatty” phase as kittens, some cats stay “young-at-heart” and keep their youthful exuberance. Particularly, it seems, in the middle of the night…
Tire them out with frequent short sessions of interactive play and activity during the day as this will help them rest and sleep at night.
If your Spontaneous Simba is an indoor cat, consider acclimatising them to wearing a secure harness and walking on a leash to take for daily walks in different places, to help boost physical exercise and stimulation – whilst tiring them out by bedtime.
Never “scold” your cat. Shouting at a Spontaneous Simba will likely raise their levels of anxiety and increase any erratic behaviour as a result. Plus, it isn’t very nice and rarely works with cats, instead, try positive reinforcement for good behaviour.
Make a routine. Scheduling feeding and playtime at the same time of day can help to instill a sense of routine that can help keep your cat calm.
Read your cat’s body language. Try to identify the things that set your cat off, or how they behave in the lead up to the “zoomies”. This can help single out any triggers that are causing the nervous energy.
Synchronise your activity cycles. Some cats are more nocturnal than others and prefer to run around your home in the small hours. Try to keep them entertained and wake throughout the day to change their body-clock. If all else fails you could always join them on the night shift, after all, compromise works both ways.
This persona is the very definition of a “cool cat”. Super chilled, sociable and with plenty of the laissez-faire attitude that cats are known for.
This agreeable personality is usually the result of proper socialisation as a kitten.
Consider expanding the family. Agreeable cats are perfect for multi-cat households, often taking younger cats under their wing and passing on good habits. This type of cat is the ideal role model for newer additions, particularly rescues who can re-learn behaviours much quicker than from humans.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Whatever you’re doing, it’s working. A well-adjusted cat can provide an endless amount of comfort, care, calm and cuddles. Just know that it’s incredibly rare that a cat will fetch your slippers.
“Of course it goes without saying that every cat is unique and has its own personality, just like us!” continued Professor Neville.
“Felines have evolved to be solitary hunters while maintaining variable – but often very large – social capacity, both with people and their own kind.
This combination helps account for the massive range in personalities and why every cat forms such a unique relationship with their pet parent.
“Being attuned to your cat’s personality can help you to understand their individual needs and personal likes – and dislikes -, which is one step closer to purr-adise.”
Want to learn more about your four-legged friend’s personality? Visit Natusan and take the cat personality test at Natusan.co.uk
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