Do psychopaths hate cats?


Based on a search term from today, “psychopaths hate cats” I decided to Google that search term myself and found this article, which I’ll reprint here.

British journalist Jon Ronson is obsessed with obsessives. He’s best known for writing the book behind the George Clooney film “The Men Who Stare At Goats.” In his latest book, Jon Ronson has turned his own obsessive eye toward psychopaths. The book is called “The Psychopath Test.”

One of the stranger characteristics of psychopaths is their choice of pets. Ronson says they are almost never cat people. “Because cats are willful,” he explains.
Psychopaths gravitate toward dogs since they are obedient and easy to manipulate. Ronson says he spoke with individuals who would qualify as psychopaths who told him they aren’t sad when they hear about people dying. “But they get really upset when their dogs die because dogs offer unconditional love.”

I was unable to find the justification for this claim with some searching and as such specific statements never tend to be very true, I thought this one should be put to the test.

To this end, I appended the question
If you had to choose, what would you describe yourself as?
A ‘dog person’.
A ‘cat person’.
I don’t want to answer.
to the end of the Psychopathy Scale as a “research item”. The scale is short questionnaire used for the study of psychopathy in adult populations. It can not diagnose psychopathy, but it correlates very well with the Hare Psychopathy Checklist which can. In measures two scales: primary psychopathy (things like arrogance, manipulativeness, callousness, lying) and secondary psychopathy (things like irresponsibility, impulsiveness, lack of long-term goals and boredom proneness).

Here are the results.

Answer Primary psychopathy Secondary psychopathy #
Dog person 2.44 2.67 304
Cat person 2.54 2.84 283
Didn’t answer 2.92 2.94 102

As can be seen, dog people actually scored lower for both dimensions of psychopathy than cat people, although not by much. The claim would appear to be wrong.

Some weeks ago I wrote my article, “Psychopaths and Pets” about the the way psychopaths treat animals (basically, as extensions of themselves).

7 thoughts on “Do psychopaths hate cats?

  1. Wouldn’t psychopaths hate animals in general and all their “needs”? A dog and cat require some self sacrifice. I can see a psychopath not feeding or beating the pet dog. I saw animal abuse growing up, I can’t even write about it is too painful. Our poor family dog……Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • But they can also be very affectionate and loving too. (on their own terms, of course). I have one that follows me around like a dog, but yes they are guilt free lol! One of my outdoor cats hunts and brings mice and birds home almost every day and plays with them before killing them. I’ve had to rescue and free a couple of rabbits, because i hate when she tries to kill those.


  2. I took work on a ranch and met a cat that “belonged” there. She avoided people, most never saw her, but she fastened on to me because I was always affectionate towards her. I started to feed her and she regularly turned up. Eventually the food ran out – it was food for my cat that died or ran away. One night she turned up and scratched at the door. On the stoop was a family of mice, mother, father and three littl’uns. She looked up to see what I would do and I picked a couple up and sniffed them and made appreciative noises since I imagined it was her notion to feed me. She appreciated this and crunched them up. For days she wouldn’t leave my side except for quick feeding trips at night. If that’s not affection, I need to relearn the language.
    I learned my cat eventually returned “home” and starved to death waiting for me. It was years ago and I still cannot shake the pain of knowing that is how she died.


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