Most Cats Are the Same, So Your Cat Would Probably Kill You If It Could

Posted by Stacey Venzel
african lion

If you’ve ever thought your cat is plotting to kill you, you might be right.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh recently published a study that compares the personality of the domestic cat, Scottish wildcat, clouded leopard, snow leopard, and African lion. Their findings suggest house cats and big cats are more alike than previously thought.

Shelter cats and zoo animals posed as the studies’ subjects. Each of the cats was labeled with a scaled ranking based on certain behavioral traits. The age and sex of each animal was also documented.

Cat rankings included dominance, self-control/impulse, neuroticism, agreeableness, and aggression.

snow leopard

Aging house cats proved to be more impulsive whereas Scottish wildcats become more agreeable and clouded leopards less agreeable with age. One aspect of the study found female African lions to be more impulsive than males. Domestic cats related closely with clouded leopards on the neuroticism scale.

Whether the traits are learned or instinctual has yet to be determined, but the similarities between the domestic cat and its feline kin suggest some genetic tendencies predisposing all cats to this type of behavior.

siamese cat

Despite captive animals being used in the study, wild personality traits are projected to carry over as captive and wild species still historically and inherently share evolutionary traits.


The study paralleled similar research done across primate species. Researchers expected to find some similarities between more closely genetically-linked species but were surprised to find such similarities across all feline species.


Among differences between the felines, African lions differed slightly, presumably due to their more social nature compared with the more solitary standings of the other cats used in the study.

The timing of this study falls humorously around the same time that a Reddit post was requested suggestions of animals people would like to see as big as a house cat. When one Redditer suggested a lion, another user commented that a domestic-sized lion is basically a house cat.

As this study reveals, that Redditer‘s comment is quite on point!

Do you think your cat is plotting to kill you? Tell us in the comments below!

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Most Cats Are the Same, So Your Cat Would Probably Kill You If It Could