When you come to MEOW Cat Rescue, one of the things you will notice is that each cat has a brightly colored card attached to their suite, room, or cage. This card is very important, as it tells us so much about the personality of the cat. MEOW is now in its ninth year using a program called Meet Your Match Feline-ality Adoption Program. Thanks to this innovative program, which was developed by the ASPCA, adopters are able to find cats that best match their personality and lifestyle. This program helps MEOW to ensure that good matches are being made between humans and cats, increasing the likelihood of successful cat/human bonds.

Meet Your Match is a research-based assessment of a cat’s behavior and level of interest in play, exploration, “talking,” and being the center of attention. Based on this evaluation, each cat is given one of nine distinct feline personality (a “feline-ality”) assignments and can then be paired with adopters whose personality and lifestyle fit the cat best. It’s ingenious! Every cat has his or her own feline-ality, just as every person has his or her own personality. Meet Your Match aims to match you with the cat that’s right for you and your lifestyle, helping to create a lifelong bond that virtually nothing can break. The program identifies a cat’s traits of feline-ality, including playfulness, acceptance of handling, boldness, sociability and even talkativeness.

By determining a cat’s feline-ality, MEOW is better able to help adopters find the cat that best meets their expectations of cat ownership. Research shows that when this expectation is met, a strong human-animal bond is formed. By assessing how cats act in a shelter environment, it is easier to predict how they might act once they are in a home environment. As a result, MEOW can give new adopters more information about what behaviors to expect from their cat.

Cats under the age of nine months aren’t assessed as their personalities are still developing. Feline-ality assessment scoring is based on two scales:

  1. The Valiance Scale refers to the cat’s boldness and response to novel stimuli:
    – A high valiant cat is likely to approach new stimuli, and is less likely to hide when visitors come
    – A low valiant cat is likely to retreat from novel stimuli, including new people
  2. The Independent-Gregarious Scale measures the likelihood that a cat will:
    Spend most of his time in the same room as the adopter and family
    Solicit and accept petting
    – Be friendly with children
    – Work to find new ways to get attention

Feline-alities are as follows:

Martin is a private investigator. Photo by James McDaniel.

Martin is a private investigator. Photo by James McDaniel.

(Lower valiance)
Private Investigator
– I’m working undercover to keep an eye on you and your household. You may not even know you’re under surveillance. I can vanish into thin air if anyone or anything interferes with my investigation. If you need a cat who knows how to stay out of trouble and always keep your secrets, I just might take your case.

Secret Admirer – When it comes to relationships, I’m very level-headed. I don’t leap in “paws first” if you know what I mean. But give me a little time, and then I’ll shower you with purrs, head-butts and plenty of lap time. In the meantime, you may not see a lot of me – but I’ll be thinking of you a lot.

Love Bug – Do you seek affection? I do! If you also like petting, purrs and paws kneading your lap, I think we might have A LOT in common. I’m looking for ‘someone who enjoys quiet times and togetherness.” Could that someone be you?

(Medium valiance)

The Executive
– I have to say, I’m a busy cat. First, I’ve got to check out what’s happening out the window. Next, I’ll see if any closets or cupboards need looking into. And then, there are my naps – can’t be late for those. I can fit a little socializing into my schedule. Shall we plan on breakfast and dinner? I hope you like kibbles.

Sidekick – Like all sidekicks, I’m just plain good company. I like attention and I also like my solitude. I don’t go looking for trouble, but I’m no scaredy cat either. If you are looking for a steady companion to travel with you on the road of life, look no further.

Personal Assistant – You’re working on the computer? Let me press the keys. Reading the paper? I’ll hold the pages down for you. Watching TV? I’ll just plop in your lap so you can pet me. I love an orderly household, don’t you? I’ll help you with all your chores and I’ll help you relax when we’re done. You’ll wonder how you ever managed without me.


(Higher valiance)

Purrsey is a party animal. Photo by James McDaniel.

Purrsey is a party animal. Photo by James McDaniel.

MVP – I’m a savvy cat who knows the score. I’m pretty unflappable too. I don’t mind entertaining myself, but a human companion at the other end of the couch and a nice scratch behind the ears always make my day. If you’re looking for a resourceful addition to your team, think about this Most Valuable Pussycat.

Party Animal – I’m a cat on a mission: PARTY! I love to play and explore and test my limits. I’d love to play with you, but I can make a toy out of anything: pencils, post-it notes, potatoes. If you’re looking for some laughs and someone to liven up the party, think about inviting me.

Leader of the Band – I’m a cat who does everything in a big way. I not only like to be in the middle of things, I like to lead the parade. I’m an adventurous cat, but I’ll still make plenty of time to show you my affectionate side. I’m the demonstrative type, you might say. Want a cat who’s brimming with confidence? That’s me.

Please stop in and visit the many wonderful cats of MEOW and meet some unique personalities/feline-alities!

By Marilyn Hendrickson. Learn more about MEOW Cat Rescue here.