Does Coloring of Cats Indicate Personality?

Some people believe tabby cats are friendly and outgoing -- because of their coloring.

Some people believe tabby cats are friendly and outgoing -- because of their coloring.

Many people believe a cat's personality is linked to its color. Some people think tortoise shell cats ("torties") are temperamental and difficult to deal with. Others believe black cats are aloof. Tabby cats are often considered outgoing and affectionate. Does color really dictate what Kitty's personality will be?

How Would Color Impact How Outgoing My Cat Is?

The theory behind color indicating personality seems to come from genetics: the gene that determines color also impacts personality traits. However, there's little research to back that up. For the most part, color-based personality descriptions come from anecdotal evidence. If people buy into the superstition that black cats are "suspicious," then they'll find reasons to mistrust a black cat.

Does a Cat's Breed Impact Its Personality?

There is no denying that certain breeds have reputations for specific personality traits. For example, Siamese cats have long been considered to be vocal, and Maine coons are known to be easygoing. According to FAB Cats, most breed-specific behavior is likely rooted in genetics and may be more about the breed itself than its personality. If you're looking for particular personality traits in a cat, you're probably better served looking at breed instead of color. Of course, it is not a guarantee the cat will be exactly what you want, but if you want a chatty cat, you'll probably have a greater chance with a Siamese than with a tortie.

What is Responsible for Determining Kitty's Personality?

Genetics are important, but not so much as it determines hair color. According to the ASPCA, there's evidence that a kitten's father actually plays a greater role in personality than its mother. For instance, if the father was reserved, the kitten will be more likely to be reserved. The other key component of personality is the level of interaction a kitten gets in his early life. The ASPCA notes kittens raised in isolation are much more timid than those who had socialization in the first 45 days of their lives. Regular interaction with people during this time led to cats that were more approachable.

Don't Judge a Cat By Its Color.

The University of California Berkeley conducted a study of nearly 200 cat owners and learned that many people make assumptions about cats based solely on their color. They found that many of the perceived differences about cat and color were basically untrue. Unfortunately, the stereotypes are very persistent and in the long run can be harmful for cats. Black and brown cats tend to be euthanized more frequently because they are considered antisocial. If you are interested in adding a cat or kitten to your home, the best advice is to spend time with the individual cat and not worry so much about the color of its coat. By interacting with your potential new friend, you'll get an idea if your personalities will mesh.

 

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