Personality assessments of certain captive wildcats

Snow leopard

Personality is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of well-being in humans. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare, M.C. Gartner and colleagues explore this concept with certain captive wildcats.

In a Comparison of Subjective Well-Being and Personality Assessments in the Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia), and African Lion (Panthera leo), subjective well-being in nonhuman animals is growing in the field of psychology, but there are still only a few published studies and the focus is on primates. To consider whether the construct of subjective well-being could be found in another mammal, this study aimed to assess subjective well-being in felids and to examine its association with personality.

Personality is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of well-being in humans. This relationship could have important implications for other species, because personality has also been shown to affect health outcomes including stress, morbidity, and mortality.

As in previous studies in nonhuman animals, the study results revealed that subjective well-being was related to agreeableness/openness and neuroticism in clouded leopards, neuroticism in snow leopards, and impulsiveness and neuroticism in African lions. The implications of these results for health outcomes and the welfare of animals in captivity are discussed. More research on any direct links among personality, subjective well-being, and these outcomes is important to advancing this field and adding another tool for improving captive animals’ lives.

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