The inquisitive, intelligent and loyal cat appears to take first place in the hearts of North Americans, according to several most-popular-pet polls. No wonder: Every cat is blessed with her own distinctive personality, just like humans. From the quintessential "people" cat to the more aloof, almost all make outstanding pets.
Assessing Personality Traits
Feline personalities have in common three basic traits, which vary from cat to cat. The kind of personality a cat has depends on her level of alertness and curiosity, how sociable and easy to get along with she is, and how equable or stable her mood. With infinite combinations, ranging from low to high levels of each trait, felines have remarkably different personalities, all of them fascinating to cat aficionados.
Affectionate and Sociable
Many cats have affectionate personalities, in varying degrees. Some are more independent, while others need to be in constant contact. Felines with a loving nature usually have a gentle disposition, love their people and get along well with other cats and dogs. Their open, outgoing personalities make them a joy to be around.
Then there's the “love mooch.” Ideally suited to someone who wants lots of interaction with their cat, they just can’t seem to get enough pets and attention. There is no place this quintessential “people” cat would rather be than in your lap, on your bed or draped across your desk staring at you with affection. Endearing and sweet, the “love mooch” is kind of like a dog that purrs; a perfect cat for those seeking a loyal and ever-present companion.
Sociable and Chatty
As well as being affectionate and sociable, some cats are exceptionally vocal. They love to communicate with their people and welcome you home with a meow. Chatty cats seem to enjoy the sound of their own voice, sometimes speaking in full sentences. The melody of their voice charms and captivates their owners and amuses everyone who hears them. Many love to chime in if you’re singing or playing a musical instrument. If meows are music to your ears, the chatty cat makes a wonderful companion.
The Movie Star
With a “look at me” attitude and showoff antics, the “movie star” loves to entertain and play. Alert and curious, they're at the high end of the sociability scale and almost bursting with personality. A Cheshire cat smile permanently on their lips, the “movie star” is one cool feline. Born performers, they do everything with flair and love to be the center of attention. They jump a little higher, run a little faster and play a little harder than other cats, and no matter what they’re doing they crave applause. The “movie star” is an entertaining and lovable companion.
Shy and Aloof Loners
Hiding under the bed or hunkering down in the closet, the shy, aloof cat seems almost afraid of their own shadow. Often very sweet-natured, and fiercely independent, they sometimes seem like a mysterious stranger who lives in your home. A good match for kind, undemanding people who don’t need to have affection lavished upon them constantly, this basically non-sociable personality is often associated with cats who once were strays or caged in a pound. Others are simply born shy and never overcome their fear of loud noises, people and other pets. You can be this cat's best friend if you provide a quiet, nurturing environment, and understand and accept their limitations.
The Leader of the Pack
Acutely intelligent, with a takeover personality, the “leader of the pack” is no lap cat. These independent, alert and focused felines love their people, but are quite happy to sit at the other end of the sofa or across the room, glancing now and then to see what you're up to. In a multi-cat household, they’re the head honcho, the first to eat or drink water. The “leader of the pack” investigates newcomers, people or other animals to make sure they’re up to their standards. On the higher end of the aloof scale, they don’t really like to be picked up. Best suited to people who don’t want a cuddly cat, the “leader of the pack” is nevertheless engaging with lots of admirable qualities.
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