Crazy cat lady stereotype 'not supported by evidence', study shows

Cat owners are not disproportionately depressed, anxious or alone, new research suggests Credit: Nick Ansell/PA

There is no evidence to support the crazy cat lady stereotype that owners of the pets are disproportionately depressed, anxious or alone, according to new research.

Academics found those who own felines did not report suffering adverse mental or social problems any more than those with dogs or no pets at all.

This is despite the fact "cats and cat owners are regularly ascribed negative personality traits", according to the study, which was carried out at the University of California, Los Angeles and published by the Royal Society.

The research compared cat owners, dog owners and those with no pets. Credit: ITV News

It added: "We found no evidence to support the ‘cat lady’ stereotype: cat owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, or their experiences in close relationships.

"Our findings, therefore, do not fit with the notion of cat owners as more depressed, anxious and alone."

The research, where 561 people took part in the study, also shows that the negative stigma is not attached to dog ownership.

Having a canine is "often viewed as healthy" and "beneficial in motivating owners to get extra physical activity", it states.

The study states that dog ownership is often viewed as being healthy Credit: Steve Paston/PA

The study also said Facebook has previously published an analysis which found that people who posted photos of cats are more likely to be single than those who uploaded pictures of dogs.

It adds the social media platform’s research, which used data from 160,000 US users, also found that people posting cat images had 26 fewer Facebook friends than those uploading images of dogs.

Cats and cat owners are often labelled with negative personality traits, according to the research Credit: Liam McBurney/PA

The research also suggests cat and dog owners are more sensitive than those without pets to noises from the animals which show they are experiencing a negative emotion.

"This may be because pet owners have more experience interacting with these animals, or because they are initially more responsive to these animals and therefore seek them as pets," the study states.