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Can you tell a cat's personality from the shape of its head?

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An Omaha pet rescue organization has announced an unlikely new ‘cat personality’ theory: they claim that a cat’s character is connected to the shape of its head.

By G. John Cole

Published on the 23/02/2019, 19:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:51

The development echoes the human pseudoscience of phrenology. This nineteenth-century theory claimed that a person’s character was intricately mapped in the bumps and dips of the individual’s skull. The theory was soon disproved, and is laughed at today. But could there be any truth in the Nebraska Humane Society’s bizarre statement?

Let's check the facts

While different breeds may broadly tend towards different character traits, there doesn't appears to be any scientific evidence that head shape has anything to do with personality – beyond the coincidence that one or two similar-looking breeds may happen to have some tendencies in common.

The Maine Coon and the Tabby, for example, both have squareish faces. They are affectionate, snugly, and keen to please.

The Persian cat has a round face and is likely to be low-energy and nervous, just as his brother or sister is.

A Channel 6 report on the matter attempts to shine some light on the matter - but it seems we may have to wait a while for qualified cat scientists to lend their weight to the theory.

First we have to find someone who's willing to spend several months in a laboratory with dozens of cats, measuring their faces and quantifying their character traits. Any volunteers?

Cat Geometry

The folks at the Nebraska Humane Society (America's own NHS!) are calling their theory 'Cat Geometry.'

Unlike the human phrenology theory, cat geometry is based on external observations of face shape and body type. It would be interesting to see a cat geometry map just like the decorative phrenology skulls you still see in vintage shops and TV shows about eccentric scientists.

However, the Omaha theory just seems to be a bit of fun.

“Cat geometry is just a theory, not a science,” says Pam Wiese in a baffling video report on WOWT NBC Omaha, “so your square cat may actually be a triangle in disguise. However, the only predictable part of their cats sometimes is their unpredictability, which is called personality.”