The Cat Test

To identify emotionally disturbed individuals accurately, Algozzine, Foster, and Kaufman (1979) developed the CAT TEST. This simple, yet novel test is easily administered by professionals, parents, and aides.

It involves three simple steps. (1) place testee in empty room facing far wall; (2) place cat into center of room, close and latch door; (3) after 10 minutes, open the door. Algozzine, et. al., note that the CAT TEST allows fine discriminations between subclassifications of emotional disturbance. They offer the following guidelines for interpretation of results.

  1. OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE - four neat, meticulous piles of fur to be found in the corners of room - cat alive, but cold.
  2. SOCIALIZED DELINQUENT - fur scattered randomly about room and on testee - cat alive, still cold.
  3. MANIC/DEPRESSIVE (MANIC STAGE) - pieces of cat scattered randomly about room - cat terminated.
  4. MANIC/DEPRESSIVE (DEPRESSIVE STAGE) - pieces of testee scattered randomly about room - emotional stability of cat suspect.
  5. PARANOID REACTION - testee cowering in far corner of room - cat alive and sleeping in center of room.
  6. PSYCOPATHOLOGY - only evidence of cat is skin, wrapped loosely about testee's head - cat assumed terminated.
  7. SCHIZOPHRENIC REACTION - testee in center of room carrying on long existential discussion with cat - cat alive, but confused.
  8. NEUROTIC REACTION - testee asking cat for advise about migraine headache - cat alive and still confused.
  9. CATATONIC REACTION - testee in corner of room with back arched, hair on end, hissing and refusing to acknowledge presence of cat - cat alive, confused, and sexually aroused.