Saturday, June 7, 2014

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CAT IS A SOCIOPATH, Part One

by Mary Kennedy
 
Anyone who's watched enough Criminal Minds or CSI knows the warning signs, but I'll go through them quickly. The cat pictured above, by the way, is my cat Henry, fondly known as "Gladiator Cat." Is he a sociopath? I'll let you decide.
 
Here are some of the criteria from the DSM V--as many of you know, I'm a clinical psychologist and the DSM V is my "bible" when it comes to diagnosing humans. (but I don't see why it wouldn't work for cats.)
                                                         
Okay, here we go.
 
1. Sense of entitlement. Oh please, that goes without saying. He's a cat for heaven's sake, of course he has a sense of entitlement. He wants to be fed first, he wants the best sleeping place, he wants to be groomed first and he is convinced the world revolves around him. I am a mere mortal, put on earth to serve him. If he lived in Downton Abbey, he would be Lord Grantham. 
 
2. Disregard for the rights of others. (see number one) Henry has no regard for any other cat's belongings, just like the cat in this photo.
                                                             
3. The sense that rules are made for other people (er, cats.) Definitely, Henry believes he is above all rules, either man-made, or those in the animal kingdom. As Leona Helmsley once said, "Rules are for the little people." (I suspect she may have been a cat in another life.)  Henry thinks nothing of nudging other cats aside to get at his dinner, or eating *their* dinner if he can get to it.
 
4. Aggressive, irritable, prone to violent outbursts. Now this is a tough one, because Henry is lovable with me, a real pussycat. However, he has a history of violence and has lost a few homes because of his temper. I called him "Gladiator Cat" when I first rescued him. He lived in the garage and I tried to gradually socialize him by allowing him into the house for meals. He was far from the ideal dinner guest. He raced into the den, made a wide swath, beating up my cats and then ran out the door. (no wonder he lost his previous homes!)
 
5. Criminal history. Henry managed to evade detection and has never been penalized for his crimes.               
 



6. May possess a superficial charm. Henry is one charming cat, I have to say! He purrs loudly, acts like I am his favorite human in the whole world and that a word or smile from me makes his day.

7. Incapable of remorse or regret, without a conscience.  I'd like to think that Henry feels badly about beating up his adorable housemates, but he's given no sign of it. (sigh.)                            

I'd like to end on a happy note. Henry has turned into the ideal pet and has been 98% cured of his sociopathic tendencies. How, you ask? Please check back next week for Part two and I'll tell you exactly how I did it!!

Mary Kennedy