If a domestic cat has a coat which is highly symmetrical in its design does it mean that the cat is more likely to be healthier than the average domestic cat? The reason why I ask is because there was a time before 2012 when a lot of people thought that the reason why people preferred symmetrical facial features in humans is because it indicated that a person was more healthy than the average.
That concept has been scotched, as I understand it, by research carried in out in 2012 by psychologist Nicholas Pound, a senior lecturer at Brunel University London who in a large study of 4,732 teenage discovered that there was no connection between symmetrical facial features and good health. Therefore, I’m going to be very brave and extrapolate that finding to the coat patterns of domestic cats and say that if a cat has a perfectly symmetrical pattern it does not mean that that cat is more healthy than a cat with an asymmetrical pattern.
People are still not sure why humans find symmetrical anatomical features attractive. If it is not because the person is more healthy why should they prefer symmetry in a person’s anatomy? Well, the experts think that it is probably to do with aesthetics. People simply prefer from an aesthetic viewpoint symmetry in art and in nature. Alternatively people’s attraction to symmetry might be a byproduct of our sensitivity to major asymmetries due to injuries, untreated infections and rare genetic disorders in humans. The last point I find interesting because these three items do indicate the possibility that a person is more unhealthy than average. This has left me slightly confused about Dr Pound’s research.
I am not alone in that thought as Andrew McClellan commented:
“…asymmetry on a larger scale may be caused by ‘significant injuries, untreated infections and certain rare genetic disorders,’ according to Pound, the subtle asymmetry of most people’s facial features has nothing to do with common diseases.”
That sounds to me as if looking for asymmetry would still serve as a reasonable method of deciding not to mate with an individual. it may not be on the same scale that was previously assumed, but it still seems valid.
I agree with that. However, I’d argue that this does not translate to asymmetry in a cat’s coat. I’ll conclude therefore that a symmetrical pattern in a cat’s coat does not indicate better health than average. The cat featured on this page, Sun Dog, is an outstanding Bengal show cat who won lots of prizes in America. I don’t know if he is still alive.