In the veterinary world we often associate the breeds and fur colors of our patients with specific personality types. Our feline patients in particular tend to be categorized by fur color and corresponding temperaments. Though there may be no scientific backing to our predisposed notions, once you’ve been bitten by more than three calico cats, you tend to become weary of them!
There’ve been very few scientific studies addressing a link between coat color and personality. But it’s not far fetched to hypothesize the genes dictating fur color may be located nearby to the genes associated with temperament on their chromosomes.
But it’s not just modern veterinary professionals that stereotype. There’re written accounts in the 1800’s of orange tabby cats as “kind-hearted, good natured animals…and expert fishers.” Whereas the black and white cat was described as, “Affectionate and cleanly, but a selfish animal, and not one for children to play with.”
I recently came across an article on aol.com where researchers at the University of California Davis looked at over 1200 surveys from cat caretakers who were asked to attribute feline behavior and personality traits to coat color. Interestingly, the results echo what many in the veterinary world believe to be true:
Black cats: Friendly but can be aloof and independent, viewed as wanderers.
Tortoiseshell/ calico : Temperamental and feisty, affectionate but can turn on a dime depending on mood and setting.
(I have to admit that of all the stereotypes, I’ve found this one to ring the most true-I’ll have done a physical exam and be absently chatting to an owner while petting a calico, only to suddenly get hissed at with claw marks in my arm! Also, all calicos and torties are female with very rare exceptions.)
Ginger: Friendly, easygoing, usually affectionate, but can exhibit a temper if pushed.
(I have two ginger boys from Florida; one is almost too friendly while the other is nervous and flighty, so take these personality suggestions with a grain of salt! And just as a side note, In the states I’d bet that 9 out of 10 ginger cats are male, but I’ve find a surprisingly high amount of female ginger cats in Ireland.)
Gray and brown tabby: Even tempered and good house pets.
White: Timid, submissive, excellent house pets excelling in sleeping and eating.
(Despite this lazy portrayal, millers used to keep mainly white cats as mousers since they blended in so well with the white flour sacks. Also, white cats born with blue eyes are often also born deaf.)
Black and white: Loyal and make good pets but tendency to be moody and therefore may be interpreted as more aggressive than their differently colored brethren.
Disclaimer: These are gross generalizations and opinions-there are many exceptions!
Do you agree with these stereotypes?
“Your cat’s coat color may be linked to his personality.” By Kristina Lotz, I heartcats.com, February 17, 2016
“Is Coat Colour Linked to Temperament?” By Sarah Hartwell, www.messybeast.com
“Study links cat colors to aggression.” By Morgan Giordano, www.aol.com, October. 29th, 2015.