Are you one of those cat owners who started sleeping with one eye open after a recent study “reportedly” found your furry feline secretly wants to kill you?
Well, it’s OK to drop your guard — and get some sleep.
The lead researcher of the study said domestic cats were never a factor in the “killing” part of the research.
“My research did not suggest this — in fact, it’s completely unrelated,” Marieke Gartner told Huffington Post via email. “I don’t know why people would say that.”
Earlier this week, numerous news stories claimed that the study — conducted by University of Edinburgh researchers comparing the personalities of domestic cats with those of Scottish wildcats, African lions and two types of leopards — showed a correlation between the behaviors of the subjects and the cats we know and love.
Gartner reportedly said there were more errors in the widespread reporting.
The research also shows that both lions and domestic cats have key personality traits of “impulsivity,” “neuroticism” and “dominance,” however, Gartner said the misconception occurred because she referred to these traits as the “personality factors” present in cats and lions.
“In humans, personality is described by five personality factors: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism,” Gartner wrote to HuffPost. “There is a difference between factors and traits — so no, the most prominent personality traits [in cats and lions] are not dominance, impulsivity, and neuroticism. These are the three personality factors that describe each species — but each individual will range along the spectrum of traits that make up each of the personality factors.”
Mikel Delgado, a certified cat behavior consultant and Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, told HuffPost that it’s actually humorous that people would believe cats have a hidden urge to kill their owners.
“They [cats] don’t have as many facial muscles [as dogs] … their face is harder to interpret,” she said. “If they really wanted to kill us, don’t you think it would have happened?”