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Cat Owners Can Pass Purr-sonality Traits On To Their Pets

It seems that just like children, cats take on your behaviour traits.

If your cat is overweight, angry, lazy or aggressive -- it could be worth looking in the mirror to find the reason. You see new research carried out by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln has found a link between the personalities of cat owners and the behaviour and wellbeing of their pets.

Feeling guilty for just lying on the couch eating all that takeaway yet?

READ MORE: People Reveal What They Call Their Pets (Aside From Their Names) And Awww

The findings published in the Plos One journal suggest that, just as a parent’s personality can affect the personality of a child, the same is true for a cat and their owner.

Yep, so if you're anxious or neurotic, that can rub off on your pet.

In fact, researchers found that owners who scored high for neuroticism -- defined as individuals more likely to experience anxiety, fear, anger, depression and loneliness -- were more likely to have pets with behavioural issues.

Their cats, it was found, displayed more aggression and anxiety as well as more stress-related sickness, and were more likely to have an ongoing medical condition, and they were also likely to be overweight.

Poor kitties.

On the flip side, the research found that mentally well-adjusted owners had calmer, happier and healthier pets.

READ MORE: Home Health Dangers: Is Your Four-Legged Friend At Risk?

Postdoctoral researcher in animal welfare in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Dr Lauren Finka,  who co-authored the study said: "Many owners consider their pets as a family member, forming close social bonds with them."

It's therefore very possible that pets could be affected by the way we interact with and manage them, and that both these factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences.

Finka and her team surveyed over 3,000 cat owners in the UK, asking a series of questions to assess people's agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism and openness.

The researchers found that cat owners who scored higher on extroversion were more likely to have animals who enjoyed more freedom outside, while participants who came across as agreeable reported being more satisfied with their well-behaved felines.

"Cats may not always find living as our pets easy," Dr Finka said "and it's important that we are aware of how our behaviour may be impacting upon them, in both positive and negative ways."

Time to put the cat treats down and spend some quality time snuggling.

Feature Image: Getty