Researchers in the UK have developed a survey to evaluate the killing instinct of domestic cats, with rather staggering results
Cat lovers tend to regard these felines as gods real “people” of company, especially if they live with them. But now a study ofLiverpool University sounds the alarm: if there were cats really of people, they would most likely have psychopathic tendencies. The researchers interviewed several cat owners to assess their cats’ psychopathy level, as defined by human psychological standards – and the results were surprising.
The study involved a total of 549 participants, who answered 46 questions about the behavior of their four-legged friends – such as whether the animal “tortures” its prey rather than killing it immediately, if it quarrels with neighboring animals. if it is insensitive to the punishments and reproaches of its owner, if it meows and vocalises for no apparent reason. All responses were documented on a five-level scale ranging from “Doesn’t describe my cat” to “Describes my cat very well”.
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The answers to these questions then gave birth to the Cat Triarchic Plusa tool for measuring feline psychopathy based on triarchic model of psychopathy used for humans, which is based on three fundamental factors: audacity (low levels of fear, immunity to stress), disinhibition (reduction of behavioral restrictions, altered regulation of affects and impulses) e meanness (lack of empathy, aggression, insensitivity). To these three factors, the factor ofaggression towards other animals and that ofaggression towards the human being.
The questionnaire to assess feline psychopathy was developed using examples provided by the owner of their cat’s behavior in the context of the triarchic model of psychopathy (audacity, meanness and disinhibition) – explains researcher Rachel Evansamong the authors of the study – but it measures five factors of feline psychopathy: audacity, meanness, disinhibition, hostility towards pets and hostility towards humans.
Based on the answers collected from the tests, it was found that all cats have at least an element of psychopathy in their nature and the reason for this could be evolutionary: for their ancestors, in fact, these character peculiarities would have been very useful for obtaining resources such as food, territory and mating opportunities. Despite the presence of traits such as meanness, hostility or disinhibition, cats are still very empathic animals – albeit in their own way: anyone who lives with a cat in the house will be able to say that these animals are capable of affection and show love and care. Except that not everyone expresses it in the same way and with the same intensity.
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