de Castro Travnik, I., de Souza Machado, D., de Silva Gonçalves, L. et al. 2020. Temperament in domestic cats: A review of proximate mechanisms, methods of assessment, its effects on human—cat relationships, and one welfare. Animals 10(9), 1516.
Temperament can be defined as interindividual differences in behavior that are stable over time and in different contexts. The terms ‘personality’, ‘coping styles’, and ‘behavioral syndromes’ have also been used to describe these interindividual differences. In this review, the main aspects of cat temperament research are summarized and discussed, based on 43 original research papers published between 1986 and 2020. We aimed to present current advances in cat temperament research and identify potential gaps in knowledge, as well as opportunities for future research. Proximate mechanisms, such as genetic bases of temperament, ontogenesis and developmental factors, physiological mechanisms, and relationships with morphology, were reviewed. Methods traditionally used to assess the temperament of cats might be classified based on the duration of procedures (short- vs. long-term measures) and the nature of data recordings (coding vs. rating methods). The structure of cat temperament is frequently described using a set of behavioral dimensions, primarily based on interindividual variations in cats’ responses toward humans and conspecifics (e.g., friendliness, sociability, boldness, and aggressiveness). Finally, cats’ temperaments have implications for human–animal interactions and the one welfare concept. Temperament assessment can also contribute to practical aspects, for example, the adoption of shelter cats.