Is it really possible to match up the appearance of a domestic cat in terms of their coat type and color with their character? My immediate gut feeling is that it is not possible. Also I don’t believe it is possible to do a proper study on this subject because prejudice, bias and lack of understanding will intervene and skew the results particularly if the study is carried out by sending questionnaires to 1,274 cat owners asking them to list the frequency of their cat’s aggressive spats during normal human/cat interaction and when at the vet’s clinic.
There are so many genuine possibilities in a household for a calm, well balanced cat to show signs of aggressiveness that an assessment by the cat’s owner is unlikely to be satisfactory.
However, despite my negative thoughts on this subject, veterinary scientists at the University of California, Davis, say they may have found a link between the color of a cat’s fur and the cat’s propensity to be aggressive towards people. They came to this conclusion by sending 1,274 questionnaires to cat owners.
Their study is online at the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science website. It seems that the primary purpose of the study was to test whether the commonly held belief that calico cats (tortie-and-white) are more aggressive than is typical of domestic cats is true.
The findings of this small sample questionnaire was that calico females (almost all calicos are females) were more frequently aggressive towards humans. Black-and-white and grey-and-white cats were the same. That conclusion, for me, undermines the study completely. It is clearly incorrect to say that one of the most common cats, the black-and-white, is more aggressive than the norm. This is a ridiculous conclusion born out of a defective study. You can’t generalise like that. There are millions of black-and-white cats all in different environments. The environment will have an impact on character.
The study concluded that:
- black-and-whites were aggressive when handled (this is generalising and appears to not take in consideration how they were handled).
- grey-and-whites were more aggressive at the vets.
- calicos were “stroppy” in the usual human/cat interaction.
Sorry, but this is a misleading study pitched for the consumer market. It is not scientific enough and should be ignored.
For the sake of fairness and completeness the calico and tortie cats are often discussed with respect to their character. Some people say they have “catitude”. That does not mean aggressive but it indicates difficulties in human/cat interactions. I don’t believe it. Am I wrong?
For me the idea that a cat’s fur color and pattern affects character is fallacious. People will disagree with me. The great variety of domestic cat coat colors and types have come about because of 10,000 years of evolution as cats living with and near humans but there is nothing in the history of the domestic cat which explains why a certain coat type produces a certain character. The loss of the tabby coat for camouflage and the development of a wide range of coats came about because the domestic cat no longer needs camouflage as he is protected by his relationship with humans.
You can only get personality characteristics due to coat type during evolution if the coat type has developed for a particular reason and the reason creates a need to be aggressive.