Can You Recognize Basic Cat Personality Types?

Researching this topic has provided a variety of answers about basic cat personality types. Of the posts I have read, the authors assure me there are anywhere from 5 to 15 basic types. One reason they cannot agree stems from the fact that, like people, no two cats are exactly the same.

Grey & white cat stalking prey
Hunter Cat

Depending upon background, breed, age, and upbringing, the cat at your house may not exactly fit any of these personality types. However, if you add a new cat to your family, it becomes important to try to find one with a temperament that blends with the make-up of your household.

Cats may have differing characters and likes or dislikes. For you, your family, and the cat to fit together, you need to find a kitty whose environmental and social needs can be met in your household.

Roles Of Genetics And Environment

The cat’s genetic makeup plays a part in personality. Also, the early environment in which it spends kittenhood will have a role. For example, a kitten must have a positive experience with humans, and must learn to accept handling between two to eight weeks of age.

This sensitive period shapes the kitten’s response to humans for its lifetime. Also, during this early period, if the kitten has pleasant encounters with other animals during this period, their self-confidence will improve.

Lack of exposure to new sights, sounds, smells, or people may create a fear in the kitten, and he may choose to avoid these unfamiliar things. He could hide, or become aggressive if chased or touched.

Does The Cat’s Breed Influence Its Personality?

cat with head in waste basket
Curious Cat

To some extent, breed will influence the cat’s personality. If the cat comes from a specific breed, there may be some consistency because of that background. For example, the Persian cat might gain the description of sweetness and gentleness, and needing a secure and serene home atmosphere.

However, you will find more cats of mixed breeds than purebred, so how do you learn this cat’s basic personality.

What Part Do Environmental Factors Play?

Since most cats that become household pets are mixed breeds, environment becomes the most significant factor behind personality. The cat will find more happiness in a home where the family interacts on an even keel. The home could be quiet and harmonious or noisy and filled with happy activity. If the overall family mood is good, the cat should do well.

Changes in the home can affect the cat a great deal. Such changes can include strangers visiting or a new cat or kitten. Illness, either of human or cat, can create a problem for kitty. If, however, the mood in the home remains consistently positive, the cat will do well.

Brown tiger cat, mouth open
Aggressive Cat

Since cats find cleanliness so important, they will not be at all happy with a dirty litter box. Also, if the house itself stays dirty or stinky, the cat may become withdrawn, depressed, or even physically ill. Cleanliness creates cheerful cats.

Previous History

A cat’s past experiences will influence his personality and behavior a great deal. Often, with domestic cats, little is known about their previous history. If kitty suffered from abuse or found himself in a disorganized, disruptive atmosphere, he may become quite stressed.

Often it takes time and loving attention to change such a cat. My Mocha, who has lived with me for a year, apparently started as a feral. He belonged to someone for a while, as he had a microchip, but his previous owner did not come to the shelter to reclaim him.

The shelter picked him up as a stray. He didn’t weigh much — 9 pounds when they captured him — and had coarse fur and an attitude. He’d never become socialized, and believed the way to start a day included exuberantly attacking and biting your hand or leg.

Black & white cat sitting on man's head
People-loving Cat

It’s taken time and patience to overcome this one, but he’s now pretty mellow. Once in a great while he “forgets,” but for the most part, he’s sweet and loving.

Some Basic Personality Types

Though my references disagree on how many basic personality types a cat can have. for this post will describe 5 basic ones. These came from a study done at Nottingham Trent University, conducted by Dr. Lauren Finka. See if you recognize your cat in one of these types:

  1. THE HUMAN CAT: This cat, a very sociable creature, likes being handled and sharing his home with his human. Kitty is friendly, calm, and responsive and displays affection. He might knead as a way of showing approval. He prefers daily attention, and copes well in a lively household
  2. THE INQUISITIVE CAT: This type fills the role of the cat filled with curiosity. He plays the part of investigator, exploring new scents, sounds, and stimuli. He became this way because of his early exposure to things new and different, during his socialization period.
  3. THE HUNTER CAT:Because he displays plenty of predatory hunting behavior, such as stalking and capturing prey, his play behavior expresses these cat characteristics as well. He does well playing with stuffed mice and feather or wand toys, as he can mimic hunting skills.
  4. THE CANTANKEROUS CAT: This feline shows the least tolerance toward human handling. He does not like to be touched much. Always on alert, he can become easily frustrated. You will need plenty of patience dealing with him. He needs more time and attention to make sure he remains comfortable and trusting.
  5. THE CAT’S CAT: Even though a cat remains a solitary species, this one enjoys sharing his home with other cat family members. He will play with them and might groom or rub them, and will form a harmonious relationship. This cat proves ideal for people who are absent a lot for work. The bonding between these four-legged family members creates satisfaction even if the owner’s work takes him away from home.
Cats walking side by side
A Cat’s Cat

What About The Cat’s Color?

Does a cat’s color influence its personality? Most researchers say it does not. However, many people who have observed their cats for a long time feel that color does affect their personality. These beliefs can become so strong that they influence how the cat gets chosen and cared for.

As an example: Black cats often remain in a shelter for the longest time, because more people have a negative idea of a cat with a dark color. However, there is little genetic evidence showing that the color or pattern of a cat’s coat can influence its behavior.


The breed of a cat can have some bearing on its personality. However, most household pets come from mixed-breed stock, so the way this animal behaves will depend on outside factors. What environment did it come from? What kind of home will it join?

I’ve always felt that we can influence a cat’s behavior simply from the way we treat it. Though the cat will display distinct personality traits, these can also be changed and softened with patience and loving care.

Just as with people, each cat will show different characteristics. Enhance the great ones with praise and attention and discourage the bad ones by ignoring them. The cat will adjust to the environment.

References I used for this post:


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