Do You Know Your Cat’s Personality Traits?

Though your cat will have a basic personality, he may show different sides of himself from day to day. Yet you can figure out his basic personality by observing his distinguishing characteristics, thus determining the cat’s personality traits. 

In an article in, the author establishes five cat personalities and what they reveal about your fuzzy friend. I like this approach, because it breaks all variables down into five basic patterns that your cat might fit.

Five Basic Personality Types

First, let’s look at the five basic personality types listed in the article. The more we understand what makes our kitty tick, the more we can interact in an effective way, to create environments in which the cat can thrive because we met their social and emotional needs.

1)  Agreeable Alfie

Black cat sitting on tree trunk stump
Sam Cat

These felines are cool and sociable, making for very happy pets. They are especially valuable in a multi-cat home, as they can help shyer cats and especially young kittens become more socialized. In this respect, they are the ideal role model, and can be especially useful if your cat family includes a rescue cat or cats who need some extra help.

Providing calmness and cuddles, the well-adjusted cat is a very welcome addition to the household.

My Sam Cat on Spruce Island filled this role. When I captured two feral kittens and brought them home, Sam helped a great deal in raising them. He immediately became “Mama Cat” and established rules. For the first year, they could not go to the beach unaccompanied, or go on walks with us. If they tried to follow, Sam would chase them back under the house.

He also trained the dog, since he enjoyed training other animals.

2) Bossy Bella

This cat is a master of manipulation, and is known for using this assertive principle to get what it wants. The cat might also find it satisfying to check regularly for food that’s left out. Be watchful of any treats or snacks that kitty may find around the kitchen.

Siamese cat, standing

My Maxine, a little Siamese, was the manipulator in the house. She told us all what to do, in frequent lectures. She knew how to get her way, and played us well.

3) Nervous Nala

If you have such a cat, she is known for having a shy personality, and often a more delicate disposition. The cat will gain confidence over time, but at first is a bit more reserved.

When they are ready for attention and affection, be sure to respond. You may, however, have to let the cat make the first move.

My Pogo is this cat. He is afraid of loud noises, strangers, and any machinery that’s running. He will not go in the bathroom when the washer, dryer, or shower are running. His favorite spot if he gets nervous is under the bed.

Face of black cat

He’s an old cat. I got him from the shelter a year and a half ago. He will be 16 in a month. Since he has been with me, he’s finally gotten over the trauma of the shelter. For quite a while it really bothered him, and I believe he dreamed about being back in there. Stroking him and talking to him softly would bring him back from these nervous dreams.

Now he is still shy, but more apt to come out of his hiding place out of curiosity, and sometimes he even gets friendly with guests. He’s come a long way.

4) Outgoing Oliver

This cat can be a noisy extrovert. In fact, if you have such a cat, it may verbally greet you at the door when you arrive home. 

Tuxedo cat on tire wall

They are far louder when interacting with us than they are with another cat. It’s like people who think that perhaps if they raise their voice, they will get attention faster. The cat has found that we respond faster when they “talk” to us.

My Carlos was a mix of the Outgoing Oliver and Agreeable Alfie.  He always met me at the door. He didn’t meow, but he knew where to sit so the door wouldn’t hit him when I opened it. He was also the official greeter at our house. He answered the door and welcomed everyone in.

5) Spontaneous Simba

This impulsive cat has lots of energy. They seem to keep some of their kittenish habits, demonstrating youthful exuberance well beyond kitten hood.

Very often they like to express this excess of energy in the middle of the night. No, that’ not an elephant running through the house — it’s your Spontaneous Simba. 

Two longhaired orange cats, lying down
The Orange Elephants

I had a pair of Spontaneous Simbas for a while. These two long-haired ginger cats were littermatesand brothers. They remained playful well into adulthood, and at night, their trick was to gallop across the room above our bedroom, sounding like we’d inherited a couple of horses.

What Are The Factors That Delineate Character?

So, what are the factors in a cat’s make-up that come to be their distinguishing characteristics?

When a cat is a purebred, one can fully know its genetics. These give broad clues to character. Personalities within a given breed remain fairly constant. For example, the Cat Fancier Association Persian Cat Profile describes its personality as “sweet,” “gentle,” and “requiring an atmosphere of security and serenity.”

With the majority of pet cats being of domestic or mixed breed, the single most important factor behind their personality is their environment.

Because cats hate change of any kind, they respond better in a home where the humans interact on an even keel, whether quiet or harmonious, or noisy, happy and active. These atmospheres are most desirable for cats.

Since cats hate change of any kind, this can include the human’s attitudes. Are they happy and active one minute, moody and distant the next, or arguing loudly? Such a changeable home atmosphere can force a Nervous Nala to hide under the bed for days.

What Human Changes Can Affect Your Cat?

Many changes in the humans’ attitudes can cause a cat that is normally active to suddenly turn on his favorite feline housemate. This behavior can be seen as a form of redirected aggression.

Some changes that can affect  your cat include such things as lots of new visitors or repairmen, a new cat or kitten, illness in the home, either of a human or a cat.

Cleanliness is also important, because cats are fastidious creatures. They won’t tolerate dirty litter boxes or spoiled food. Untidiness can be accepted, but a dirty, stinky house is another story. In such an atmosphere, a cat can become withdrawn, depressed, and perhaps physically sick.

The Cat’s History

The cat’s history plays a large role in personality and also behavior. Purebred cats have a pedigree that goes back a long way, but the way the cat is raised will still have an effect on its personality.

Silver Persian, reclining
A relaxed Persian

Often very little is known of the history of a domestic cat or one from an animal shelter. How it is treated by a new family will have a definite effect on how he acts.

In observing my own cats through the years, I have found that the treatment and attention the cat receives can definitely affect how he acts. I have found that a cat in a loving home is more apt to develop a personality that is pleasing.

I believe a good interaction with humans can help develop the cat’s intelligence. If his human interacts with him often and in a loving way, I believe he will be more open and apt to learn, and may well become smarter, simply because his kitty mind has been caused to expand.

Even though cats are fairly independent, cats are quite social. For example, colonies of feral cats gather in an area where food is abundant. This food is shared within the group.

These cats will lick each other and rub each other. They will share the raising of kittens, and might foster others from different litters. 

If a cat receives insufficient exposure to and contact with people, other animals and new environments during the first two months of life, he may develop fears that cannot be reversed. These can lead to timidity or aggression.

Thus it is important to expose your new kitten to as many people, places, and things as possible in that critical first one to three months of life. This is the most important period in the cat’s social development.

References I used for this post:


4 thoughts on “Do You Know Your Cat’s Personality Traits?”

  1. Our four cats are as different as can be, but they get along, except Mama Cat – she’s a loner. All are rescue cats so all are glad to have a home. Great article.

    • It is always interesting to observe how each cat is just a little different. Just like us, they have their unique way of interacting with the world. Their differences is partly why they are so interesting.

  2. Maybe they need a sixth category called MPD (multiple Personality Disorder) One of mine can be in a different category each day depending on his mood. LOL


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