Animal Personality

I love cats. Most people who know me know that I like cats fairly soon after they meet me and so it is almost a given that my personality should be something akin to that of a cat. However, I am not so sure. Cats are often seen as either mysterious and deep or lazy and unworthy. I suppose it is possible that I also have been regarded as belonging to either of those extremes.

My take on cats is that they are quite capable creatures that are indeed capable of being useful to others but generally will be so when they have something to gain from it. Of course all cats are unique individuals and they have their own psychology in the same way humans do. According to research, the personality of cats can be separated into a few categories. There is the skittishness of a cat which is similar to how nervous or confident some humans can be. Outgoingness is another characteristic in cats. Some cats are open to new experiences and others show a lot of disinterest in things. Cats also have a trait that not all humans will admit to having which is dominance. Dominance is the tendency to bully other cats or submit to them. There are other ones such as friendliness and spontaneity but if you have ever had a cat in your life then you have probably seen that cats can vary quite a bit in personality.

Similar to humans, their personality is determined both due to genetics and adaptations to the environment. I think that one advantage or disadvantage that humans have is that, especially in this era, our environment can change and we are able to challenge ourselves to improve different aspects of ourselves beyond just for our own survival. This allows us to access different paths and extend or contract different aspects of our personality. Most cats don’t live such long lives and though their personality changes as they mature, if it comes to be that their environment remains fairly static for the majority of their life then change no longer happens and their personality becomes somewhat fixed as their main concern is survival. Once the requirements for survival are set they are mostly satisfied.

Cats, like many animals, are fairly intelligent so it’s interesting to wonder whether it might be better for a cat to have constant stimulation due to a changing environment or whether it’s better to have a static and safe environment. I think this is an interesting question for humans as well. In the end, it seems that the primary function of the brain and other brain-like organs in most creatures is movement through the environment in order to continue securing food and shelter. It might be that this is its own satisfaction and by keeping the environment of cats highly fixed we might be doing a disservice to what they’re capable of.
I think I am similar to cats in that respect. Except that, being human, I decided that I didn’t want to live in a highly fixed environment back home where maneuverability through life and society would become too simple. I would rather be in a situation where I am at a disadvantage in order to grow. I think cats that have a good amount of outgoingness might be similar to me. However, like the stereotypical cat, I also like to do nothing from time to time.

Ivan




Vocabulary

akin (adj.) - similar or related
take (n) – the way someone thinks about something; perspective
disinterest (n) – a lack of interest in something
spontaneity (n) – the quality of doing or saying something in a natural and often sudden way
disservice (n) – something that harms or damages someone or something
stereotypical (adj.) – an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic

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