The Atlantic

Why We Think Cats Are Psychopaths

It’s just “resting cat face.”
Source: Sergey Zaykov / Shutterstock

When Becky Evans started studying cat-human relationships, she kept hearing, over and over again, about how cats are psychopaths.

On one hand, anyone who has looked into the curiously blank face of a catloaf knows exactly what that means. But also, exactly what does it mean to apply a human mental diagnosis to felines? We let these clawed creatures into our homes and our beds, but we still have trouble understanding them on anything but our own human terms.

Evans, a psychology graduate student for owners who think that their cats are psychopaths. The survey asks owners to describe the allegedly psychopathic behaviors, and so far they have included bullying other pets, taking over the dog’s bed, and waiting on the kitchen counter to pounce on unsuspecting family members. In short, pretty typical cat behavior.

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