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

25 comments:

Lynn Stadel-Paterson said...

I am definitely going to have to come back for part 2, my cat Harlowe used to live at my next door neighbours friends house along with 2 other cats (he used to get into fights with them all the time and was very anti social), he's lived with me for a year now and has gone from attacking me most of the time to just 3 or 4 times a day. Apparently he's not fond of the female species but has no problems with my son. (I might need to have a sex change to survive!)

Lynda said...

I love this! I have lived with many sociopathic cats. Actually, the first 3 items pretty much describe EVERY cat I've ever know. The others vary by cat. I'm going to share this with my fellow volunteers at Lapcats Feline Rescue. I'm sure they will be able to appreciate it.

Dru said...

Looking forward to next week's post. Some of our cats has been known to exhibit these behaviors.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Dru, thanks for stopping by, will share my "crime-stopping" tips next week. I'm amazed at how much progress I've made with our naughty boy

mary kennedy said...

Thanks so much, Lynda! Henry has been something of a challenge but has turned out to be a sweet little pet. (some of his housemates might disagree with this assessment.) :-)

mary kennedy said...

Hi Lynn, Harlowe-what a great name for a cat! I'd love to hear more about Harlowe and how you managed to tame him.

Leann Sweeney said...

GREAT BLOG Mary. Yes, and it's the CHARM that allows us to overlook these tendencies over and over. I would call cats sociopathic dogs, actually. :-)

Janet Morrissey said...

This perfectly describes my Smoke. I can't wait for next week to see what the cure is!

Malahn Ament Thomas said...

Wow. Totally spot on for my boy, Dexter. He's a beautiful, narcissistic punk with homicidal tendencies towards the 'alpha' cat in our house. He's so sweet and pliant with the kids and me, but unleashes unholy hell on the other cats in the house. I would love to know how to make him ease up, because I dislike watching my poor kitties go around like walking wounded after being trounced by Dexter.

mary kennedy said...

HI Janet, Smoke sounds adorable, love the name. See if my tips help next week! Thanks for stopping by, have a good week-end.

mary kennedy said...

"A narcissistic punk with homicidal tendencies"--that is a great description! And here I thought I was suffering alone with my cute little sociopath. Hope my hints will help, Malahn, thanks for stopping by. You might be surprised what finally worked to change things around with Henry.

mary kennedy said...

I like that idea, Leann. (cats are really sociopathic dogs). I think that deserves its own blog. Love it. Thanks for stopping by!

Grandma Cootie said...

What a cute post. No cats here, but some unnamed dogs I know could fit the profile!

Lynda said...

Another trait of cats is that they NEVER forget. They will probably label Henry as the enemy for the rest of his life, no matter how much he has reformed. A lot of years ago I had a cat that got fleas. It was before the easier flea treatments we have today. I used flea powder on her ONCE. 10 years later, if she was in the bathroom and I used powder, she would run and hide.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Whoa! The suspense. I love this post, Mary. And I might not sleep until part 2.

XO

MN

mary kennedy said...

HI Grandma Cootie, I think I need to write a post on dogs! As you say, there may be some sociopaths among them

mary kennedy said...

HI MJ--I think you'll be surprised at how easy the solution was!! All I had to do was us a bit of psychology, seriously. Thanks for stopping by!

LD Masterson said...

Loved this. Could we use your book to figure out my neurotic terrier Sophie?

Susan said...

Cats&Dogs Do Communicate... They Think we don't know... Academy Award Performances for us.. We are Their Pets;)

mary kennedy said...

I've love to try to analyze Sophie but I've never had a dog (hubby is allergic ).

Marilyn Levinson said...

I'm afraid that my Sammy, who could be your Henry's first cousin, might be a sociopath.If you check my medical records, you'll find at least four visits to the doctor for cat bites. Right now I'm taking antibiotics because the last bite -- a result of my going on a European holiday without him -- got infected. Otherwise, Sammy is very loving. To me, not other people.

mary kennedy said...

So true, Susan!

Caridad Pineiro said...

Loved the post. My kitty is definitely a sociopath!

Anne Lovell said...

I can't wait for part 2! My cat has sociopathic tendencies also. If I can cure him by one that would be great!

Nerissa said...

Judging by this, I am most definitely NOT a sociopath. My Auntie Primrose on the other paw... MOUSES!

Purrs,
Nissy