Are cats attracted to beautiful cats?

It is a thought: domestic cats like humans are attracted to beauty. Can this be true?

When people adopt a cat they often select on the attractiveness of the cat. Appearance is the first consideration for humans. Then comes behaviour and finally health. It reflects human superficiality. Is there any evidence that domestic cats are more likely to make friends with attractive cats and shun unattractive ones? Well cats are less superficial and they are entirely practical.

Love Actually. Two Cats.
Love Actually. Two Cats. Photo in public domain
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The first problem with that notion is that we can’t measure beauty by human standards and we don’t know what cats find beautiful. If cats are interested in beauty we don’t know what it means for cats.

Apparently there has never been a study on cats’ preferences for other cats with respect to coat colour or type.

Dr Bradshaw in Cat Sense writes:

“Although never studied directly, we have no evidence of ‘colour prejudice’ among cats.”

It is almost asking whether cats can be racist! The answer to that should be a resounding no because racism appears to me to be exclusively human. But I could be wrong. Racism is a form of tribalism as far as I am concerned and cats form groups but I don’t know of gangs of stray cats fighting other gangs!

However, Bradshaw says that tabby females do not spurn black tom cats in favour of male tabbies. Or, if they are gay (can cats be gay?), female tabbies.

Dr Bradshaw does not totally rule out the possibility that cats select on coat attractiveness. One possibility is that a cat with a coat that provides poorer camouflage may be less adept at catching prey which in turn might mean he is less healthy. This may put off a female. This arguement indireclty links coat type with attractiveness.

If you put aside the idea of beauty and concentrate on attractiveness as a consequence of good health, female cats do select on degrees of attractiveness. But this is different to pure beauty because it is linked to health and a healthy male is what the female is looking for.

However the scent or body odour of the female’s suitor may be a better way to make her crucial mating decisions. But attractiveness for cats is about health and strength. In lions, females in some parts of Africa prefer males with dark manes as they are more mature and dominant.

Do you have any thoughts on this topic?

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