Your Cat Wants to Kill You?

If you’ve been watching the headlines lately, you’ll be convinced your cat wants to kill you.

USA Today and The Telegraph are among big publications that pounced on this study recently that compared the personality traits of domestic cats to clouded leopards, snow leopards, African lions, and Scottish wildcats. The researchers unexpectedly found that certain personality factors were shared among all species on the spectrum of neuroticism, impulsiveness, and dominance. But these factors measure certain traits of personalities like anxiety and insecurity, much like in humans. So even though research measures a person or animal on these scales for certain traits doesn’t make that individual particularly neurotic, impulsive or dominant, and that’s where the confusion lies.

Lead researcher Marieke Gartner explained to The Huffington Post that her study was misinterpreted to imply that domestic cats are just like the wild animals they share certain traits with and are thus eager to hunt human flesh.

“My research did not suggest this — in fact, it’s completely unrelated,” she said.

Indeed, the study concluded simply by saying “the similarity may allow for a more generalized approach to captive care of felids based on personality.”

It’s yet another lesson to read the fine print behind any inflammatory headline and look at the original citations.

The reality is we don’t know what cats are thinking. Whether they’ve been socialized or not, domestic cats are like the other feline species in the study, with the exception of lions, who are solitary and territorial creatures which is why they’re often seen at a distance staring at us from across the room. Living within their territory, it may be possible they believe they have some sort of dominion over us. But as for murderous tendencies, I’ll let you decide after watching this video whether or not your cat wants to kill you:

2 thoughts on “Your Cat Wants to Kill You?

  1. My opinion? No! Yes cats have the instinct to hunt, but they do not hunt bigger animals! I know cats who have protected, grieved, and much more for their mothers/friends (owners). What kind of research is this? Do you ever see cats stalking big dogs? If you have, its very very rare. Babies for example, cats could kill them if they wanted, but they don’t. the only cats that kill babies are abused cats. Same for dogs.

    Look at this pic and tell me, if this one is not hunting mice, then why in the universe would it hunt humans?

    The research is dumb anyways. Cats hunt small animals.

  2. People will believe any asinine thing. Anyone that has a cat and treats him decently knows this idea is ludicrous. Why are cats always getting a bad rap? I think it’s because they are more independent (and smarter 😉 ) than many dogs (and some people, evidently). People have a more difficult time feeling superior. Just sayin’…

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