Researchers Say There Are 5 Types of Cat Owners

Just as there are different types of cats, there are different types of cat owners. Recently, researchers have found that they fall into one of five categories. They range from caretakers who are uneasy about their cats preying on other animals to those who think cats should be able to wander and roam wherever they please. Due to the concern conservation groups have around outdoor cats killing animals, there has bee a push for bans on free-roaming cats. But some pet owners have often strongly opposed any such legislation. The estimates do vary, but a study in the journal Nature Communications found that cats kill between 1 and 4 billion birds every year. Although some cat lovers took issue with how those numbers were calculated, no one can deny that when cats are allowed to hunt, it affects wildlife. Even though a decent amount of research has been done on the effects of cats roaming and hunting wildlife, comparatively few researchers have asked cat owners about their views on these complicated and controversial issues, the study’s lead author, Sarah Crowley, said. “We wanted to figure out what cat owners felt about their pets’ roaming behavior, and their views on whether and how this should be managed when it comes to hunting.” For the study, the researchers surveyed 56 cat owners in both rural and urban neighborhoods. They presented them with 60 statements on cat owner perspectives such as “Keeping cats indoors keeps them safe,” and “Cats hunting doesn’t bother me,” having the cat owners rank each statement. Researchers analyzed the survey answers and found that there are five distinct types of cat owners.
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Here we have the five types and some of their key beliefs:

Concerned Protector

Worries about roaming cats getting lost, stolen, or killed. They also believe that keeping cats indoors keeps them safe, and they don’t have strong feelings about hunting, but wouldn’t keep their cat inside just to keep it from hunting.

Freedom Defender

They believe that cats should roam wherever they want and think hunting is a normal part of cat behavior and even helps control the rodent population. They oppose any limitations that would limit their cat access to the outdoors.

Tolerant Guardian

They consider the benefits of roaming outweigh any of the risks. They love wildlife and believe hunting is unattractive but feel that it is something that comes naturally to cats.

Conscientious Caretaker

They feel that cats should have access to the outdoor, but they don’t oppose some containment. Any kind of hunting really bothers them, and they are particularly worried about birds. They also believe that owners should have some responsibility when it comes to managing their cat’s behavior.

Laissez-faire Landlord

They strongly believe that it’s natural for cats to go out, and if trouble happens because of it, that is just nature’s way. They have never really thought about the effects of cats on the wildlife population, but that would be more inclined to manage their cat’s behavior if they knew their cat was killing animals all the time.


Diverse Responses

These responses were quite diverse, and researchers found that quite a few owners had black and white feelings about cat behavior.