People used to believe that cats are solitary creatures who can’t stand spending time with other members of their species. Research in feral cat colonies and shelters has revealed that this is not true at all. But what the research didn’t reveal is that just like your high-school class, there are some common personality types to be found among felines, especially when a bunch of them are in a cat room at a shelter. Let’s meet them.
You know this cat: He’s the one that all the other cats in the room defer to. He gets the first pick of the food, the primo sun puddles and the top quality cat beds. All the other cats look to him for guidance about how to react to people who come to visit. He’s not necessarily the biggest, but he’s got the power and charisma to be the Top Cat.
This cat never met a person she didn’t like. Whenever people enter the cat room, she’s the first to greet them and charm them with her purr and friendliness, rubbing against legs and doing everything she can to win them over.
For every Welcoming Committee Chair, there’s always that cat who doesn’t know when to say when. He won’t stop with a friendly headbutt and a raised tail; he’ll climb on your shoulders and refuse to let you get away, or climb into your lap and shove his butt right in your face.
This cat is just as charming and friendly as the Welcoming Committee Chair, but she happens to be a bit more reserved. She’ll look at you with interest and perhaps even longing, but she’ll wait for you to notice her. Quiet Queens tend to get overlooked in the cat rooms because their patient presence is eclipsed by the more extroverted cats.
This cat gets random sudden urges to run laps around the room, flinging herself from cat tree to cat tree with her tail fluffed out in full-on giggle mode. She’s known to interrupt kitty nap time by flinging noisy toys into the air and chasing them once they hit the floor — and she will step on other cats in pursuit of that toy.
This cat could be mistaken for a Quiet Queen, but the difference quickly becomes very clear. When you extend your hand to introduce yourself, the Touch-Me-Not runs off or hisses at you — and two minutes later, he’s looking at you longingly once again.
Senior kitties sometimes have it rough at the shelter. After all, they often find themselves occupying rooms with much younger and more active cats, and their shenanigans can really aggravate an older cat who just wants to nap in a sun puddle. You can tell the Get Off My Lawn by his squint of disgust at other kitties’ antics. The Class Clown especially aggravates him.
Have you met one of these cat types at your local shelter? What other personality types to you see at the shelter on a regular basis? Share the names you give them and describe their characteristics in the comments below.
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, cat rescue volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.