When searching for a cat or kitten to adopt, how can you tell if your selection will be a lap lounger, a shy cat, or an adventure seeker? Purebred cats tend to have certain characteristic personality traits, though individuals within breeds may be very different. With the typical shelter cat, personality clues may be linked to the shape of the cat’s face.
Kit Jenkins has spent more than 20 years studying the behaviour of cats and dogs in animal shelters. She has developed a theory of cat face geometry , which is based on the fact that feline faces usually fall into one of three physical shapes: square, round, or triangle. While noting that genetics and life experience play major roles in how cats think and act, Jenkins contends that personality is also influenced be a cat’s physical shape.
Here are how the various facial types.
SQUARE. These cats are big and solid with square faces and rectangular bodies. Think Maine Coon. They are the “retrievers of the cat world.” Eager to please, square cats tend to be affectionate and love to snuggle and give head-butts.
ROUND. These cats sport flat faces, large eyes, circular heads, and rounded bodies. Think Persian or Burmese. These types might be called the “lap dogs” of the feline world. They tend to be low-energy, easily frightened, submissive cats who gently display their affection to trusted family members.
TRIANGULAR. These are the sleek, long, lanky cats with big ears and faces that narrow at the nose. Think Siamese or Cornish Rex. They are the “herding dogs of the cat world.” Triangle cats are curious, smart, athletic, and chatty, and they thrive in active households.
Animal behaviourists and veterinarians may find it a convenient tool in helping people decide on a cat who meets their lifestyle and personality.
Adapted from The Cat Behaviour Answer Book (Storey Publishing, 2007) by Arden Moore.