Scientists Create Test to Find Out If Your Cat Is a Psychopath

Do you ever wonder if your cat might be a psychopath? Perhaps they seem disinterested when you're upset, or they like to toy with dead mice?

Well, now there is a way to find out for is your feline possesses a lack of empathy, or really is just a fluffy bundle of joy.

A group of scientists at Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool, both in the United Kingdom, have teamed up to develop a detailed questionnaire you can use to see if your pet has psychopathic traits.

There are 46 statements in the test, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, and pet owners have to rate on a five-point scale how accurate these are.

Examples of these include: "My cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away", "my cat vocalizes loudly (e.g meows, yowls) for no apparent reason", and "my cat is very excitable (e.g goes into 'overdrive' and becomes uncoordinated)".

The results of the test will then go towards measuring the animal's levels of 'meanness' ie. character traits include a lack of empathy and callous aggression.

It will also track the cat's "disinhibition", which relates to problems with behavioral restraint, and 'boldness', which can be characterized by low levels of fear and social dominance

The test, which is called CAT-Tri+, also assesses the pet's unfriendliness towards people, and towards other cats.

However, the experts actually feel that most felines would be likely to have at least some element of psychopathy in their personality.

Lead researcher Rebecca Evans told Motherboard: "Our cats and the differences in their personalities inspired us to start this research."

"Personally, I am also interested in how owner perceptions of psychopathy in their cat can affect the cat-owner relationship. My cat (Gumball) scores relatively highly on the disinhibition scale—which means he can be quite vocal, proximity-seeking and excitable!"

Minna Lyons, who also authored the study, told Motherboard: "We decided to join our forces, and see if psychopathy is something that is relevant in our feline friends too. My personal inspiration is my cat Axel, a fluffy and greedy little creature."

The test is intended to help pet owners better accommodate their pets and improve their relationships. This, in turn, might help reduce the number of cats that are being sent to shelters or put down.

The study states that the test will "allow researchers to measure and understand this feature of cat personality and its influence on the cat-owner relationship, with implications for cat behavioral management, owner satisfaction, relinquishment, and the compatibility of cats with specific households."

A stock image of a cat looking angry. Scientists have developed a new test to find out if your cat has psychopathic traits. iStock