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“Social support” or “companions for play”

The higher owners scored in Openness, the less anxious and tense were their cats¹ […] owner emotionality significantly affects how cats relate to their environment […] owners high in Neuroticism turn to their cats mainly as emotional social supporters and hence, thereby, may offer a less secure base for the cat than the owners high in Openness, who consider their cats companions for play rather than social supporters. Hence, cats of open owners as compared to Neuroticistic owners may develop into somewhat more secure and less anxious individuals.

—Kotrschal et al, Human and cat personalities: building the bond from both sides. in: Turner et al, The Domestic Cat: The Biology of its Behavior. Another correlation was that “neurotic”-type owners often held their cats, with the result that they get used to it. “Open”-type don’t typically initiate holding, but they do initiate mutual play.

1) rs = –0.363, α = 0.022; see article for details.

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