5 types of cats

At our shelter, we rate all of our cats based on the following 5 characteristics:

1. Skittishness
2. Outgoingness
3. Dominance
4. Spontaneity
5. Friendliness

We fully believe each cat is made up of all 5 of these traits to some degree, but some traits may be more obvious than others, resulting in a "cat personality type". You can read more about the 5 types below.

Did you know there are 5 distinct cat personality types?

1. The Skittish Cat

These are anxious or highly strung cats. Typically, they dart away when visitors call and would rather run underground than face a situation they don’t recognize.

They cope with life by avoiding fearful situations, and when they learn they are safe, it slowly builds their self-confidence.


2. The Outgoing Cat

Or “nosy,” in some cases — outgoing cats love to explore, investigate and generally get themselves into trouble by going where they shouldn’t.

Provide these cats with plenty of toys and actively play with them. Chasing a laser or a feather-on-a-string helps them vent energy and express natural behaviors.


3. The Dominant Cat

Unsavory as it is, the word “bully” sums up a dominant cat. These cats are less tolerant of others and liable to hog resources, such as food bowls and litter trays.

They can make a multi-cat household a misery.

If this is your trouble, provide more resources. Make sure each cat has her own food and water bowl, plus a litter tray. Place these resources some distance apart — then the boss cat can’t be in multiple places at once and hog them.

It also helps to play with this cat regularly (and all the others, too, of course) to take the edge off her energy levels.


4. The Spontaneous Cat

This type of cat may react differently to the same situation on different occasions. This is often a case of a cat who hasn’t quite learned to cope with life and, when faced with uncertainty, runs first and asks questions later. He may also have to manage a mix of high energy and anxiety.

Never shout at a spontaneous cat (or any other, for that matter) — it will raise his anxiety levels and increase his erratic behavior. It helps to have set routines, such as feedings and playtime, so he knows when something is about to happen — which prepares him to behave more appropriately.


5. The Friendly Cat

This one needs little explanation — she’s the purr-y, head bunting, smush-against-your-shins type. These cats are usually well adjusted, often as a result of superb socialization when they were kittens. Friendly cats are everyone’s dream and most likely to live in harmony in a multi-cat household. 

Every cat is a blend of different personalities, just as people are. But by being alert to your cat’s personality traits, you can help him live with less stress and increased contentment, which is good news for everyone involved — both 2- and 4-legged.