I know it sounds bad, but what we think is psychopathic behavior used to be necessary for our cats' ancestors.
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The secret—or, er, obvious truth?—is out: Many cats are psychopaths, and this is according to scientists, not just your local dog-lovers Facebook page. 

You don't have to just take their word for it either. They devised a quiz so you can get an idea of how psychopathic your cat really is. 

The cat-owning researchers, in England at University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, authored this paper explaining their findings. In human terms, psychopaths are uncaring, detached, manipulative, and antisocial. The study measured cats' meanness, boldness, disinhibition (rudeness), pet-unfriendliness, and human-unfriendliness—but those traits were useful back in the day. 

"It is likely that all cats have an element of psychopathy as it would have once been helpful for their ancestors in terms of acquiring resources, for example food, territory, and mating opportunities," lead researcher Rebecca Evans said, according to Metro

I guess it makes sense! My cousin cat Harley Earl follows me into the bathroom when I'm doing my business. I don't really want company while I'm in there and think it's pretty weird behavior, but that room is also where his food is. Sounds like my aunt should take the quiz.  

gray and white cat looking grumpy

After three studies that questioned more than 2,000 cat owners, the scientists came up with this 46-question Cat Triarchic Plus test that ideally can tell cat owners where their kitties fall on the psychopathic spectrum.

A smattering of the sometimes-frightening prompts that give me a new respect for cat owners: 

  • My cat purrs when attacking people/animals
  • My cat dominates me (e.g. chases me, attacks me)
  • With respect to other residents (people, pets) my cat has control of common areas (e.g. will displace others from rooms/furniture)
  • My cat hides and jumps out on people/pets (e.g. from behind doors, corners, worktops)
  • My cat is very excitable (e.g. goes into "overdrive" and gets uncoordinated)
  • My cat torments their prey rather than killing it straight away

For each prompt, cat owners can respond with whether it describes their cat: not at all (1 point); slightly well (2 points); moderately well (3 points); very well (4 points); or extremely well (5 points. They can also choose if the prompt is not applicable. 

The scoring manual is at the bottom of the test, where you can score for each of the five components—bold, disinhibited, mean, pet-unfriendly, and human-unfriendly—and get your total Cat Triarchic Plus score. 

A high score close to 5 probably means your cat is more psychopathic, but that's OK. You'll obviously still love them, and scoring well on the disinhibition and pet-unfriendliness components predicts a quality relationship between cat and owner, according to researchers. 

Meanwhile, a cat scoring high in the meanness and boldness categories could mean your relationship is a little more strained. Hopefully nothing some homemade cat treats can't fix.