It takes someone who has been around cats for a while to realize that a cat is not a cat is not a cat. Not only do they come in different sizes and shapes, but they have very different personalities. There are affectionate cats and those that are aloof; vocal cats, scaredy cats, active and lazy cats. There are cats with a sense of humor and those that are kind of grumpy. While some cats crave attention, others stay in the background. Some are gentle and others play rough. And some cats develop some rather interesting habits.
I wrote an article once on cat personalities for Cat Fancy Magazine. Here’s an outline of my findings for that article.
The Possessive Cat
Have you ever had a cat that seemed to dibs you? The possessive cat may spend a lot of time in your lap or at your feet. When another cat comes close, she bumps or swats him out of the way. This cat is the first to greet you when you return home and she probably sleeps with you at night.
This can be a most endearing cat—it’s always nice to feel loved. But, in a multi-cat household, it’s important that the other cats also receive the attention they require.
Our youngest, Lily, is my possessive cat. But Max, at sixteen, still wants his attention. While the two of them have established a workable schedule, there are still times when Lily attempts to assert her authority over the much larger, but meeker cat. Thus Lily gets me most of the time. But Max demands a few minutes of lap time first thing in the morning while I’m at my computer and for an hour or so each evening. During these times, Lily sits at my feet overseeing the situation and waiting her turn.
The manipulator is the cat who has learned how to get what he wants. He might knock things over on your dresser to get your attention when he’s ready for breakfast or scratch on the sofa to cause a reaction. This might not be manipulation in the sense that people use it, but a learned behavior through conditioning, perhaps.
When Max was a kitten, he’d constantly push his toys under the refrigerator. He’d wait there until I walked into the room, then he’d let me know that he lost a toy under there, again. It seemed as though he was doing this on purpose. He so enjoyed “helping” me probe for the missing mouse, ball, or feather. As soon as the item was recovered, he’d bat it under there again. And again he’d dance around my feet as if to persuade me to get down on the floor and retrieve his toy once more. Of course, I did. I called Max “the manipulator.”
The Noncommittal Kitty
This cat keeps its people at arm’s length. He expresses and receives attention only on his own terms. He might roll over in front of you and look up endearingly, but when you reach down to pet him, he scurries away. Or she may walk over to you on the couch, but panic if you attempt to pick her up.
The Bad Boy/Bad Girl Cat
When a bad boy (or girl) kitty weaves his way into your heart; your life will never be the same again. If you decide to keep this cat, you’ll have to learn to live with upset trash baskets and spilled houseplant dirt. You may never be able to display a bouquet of flowers safely in your home again. And that comment you’ve made in the past about “never keeping a cat who…” will go out the window.
The cat I mentioned as the manipulator—Max—is now sixteen. He has a problem with inappropriate urination and he’s been like that all of his life. I should have got a clue when, as a four-week-old kitten he pooped in his food dish. Now we consider Max our bad boy cat and I use a whole lot of Nature’s Miracle.
The Wired Cat
Do you know a cat that’s excitable and rather unpredictable? He may be a wired cat. According to cat behaviorists, there are a lot of them and they’re the ones that get into trouble with aggressive behavior.
This cat often jumps out at you from behind the sofa when you’re walking by and digs in with teeth and claws. We actually have one living next door. Just when I think the yellow tabby is going to welcome my petting, he grabs my arm with claws out, bites me and dashes off.
Identifying your cat’s personality might be is easy. Living with it can take patience and creativity. The bottom line seems to be that cats come with or develop some interesting behaviors and, if we commit to the cat, we will must also adapt to the behavior.
Tell us about some of your unusual cat personalities.
And to experience a wide array of cat personalities, behavior, and habits, be sure to read all five of the Klepto Cat Mysteries. Available at Amazon.com in Kindle. The first three are also in print.
They are Catnapped, Cat-Eye Witness, Sleight of Paw, Undercover Cat, and The Colony Cat Caper.