Our dominant sense of vision makes a rescue cat’s appearance important

Marriot is shy and black. A bad combo for a rescue cat.
Marriot is shy and black. A bad combo for a rescue cat. TikTok screenshot.
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Humans have a dominant sense, and it is vision i.e. what we see. Vision being a dominant human sense means that we are more attracted to a rescue cat with a coat type and colour that appeals.

And humans are more likely to interact with a rescue cat that has the confidence to come forward and be noticed because when cats do this, they exude perceived warmth. It is as if they are selecting their new caregiver.

Conversely, timid cats being unable to come forward because they are shy of strangers don’t give themselves the chance to show their warmth to the person at the shelter who might adopt them. They may be perceived as ‘cold’ compared to the confident cat with whom they are in competition at a shelter for adoption.


We all know that black cats are often unattractive to adopters partly for historical reasons. Combine this with the timidity barrier and you get Marriot, a shy, black cat with a blob of white on her chest, who has been at the Chesapeake Feline Association, a cat rescue in Maryland, for 5.5 years or 2000 days. She cannot get anyone to adopt her for the reasons mentioned. It is very sad.

She has made friends at the shelter with a deaf, senior cat called Boots which makes her time at the shelter more enjoyable but she needs a proper home and there is an argument that she should now be adopted with Boots which makes an adoption even less likely.

Appearance and character

This post is about reminding ourselves that a good appearance in the eyes of humans combined with a confident character is best for a shelter cat. Age is also a prime factor but less so than the other qualities I feel. Marriot is 6-8 years old.

Difficult to adopt cats needs promoting heavily. Marriot has been promoted on TikTok and she has been seen often on that social media platform but not adopted yet.

Recognising the potential

It is a shame that people are so beholden to their emotions when adopting. If one steps back and recognises that a cat is timid but can be made more confident with a lot of tender loving care one can realise that there is a reward waiting at the end of a journey together: a loving cat truly bonded with their caregiver.

As for black being a bad colour: put that aside as it is irrelevant to the relationship. Also, some people say that black cats are healthier than cats of other colours. How about that!

Here is some more on our dominant sense of vision and timidity over confidence.

Is it true that vision is the dominant human sense?

Yes, vision is generally considered the dominant human sense. Here’s why:

  • Information Processing: Estimates suggest that 80-85% of the information we take in about the world comes through sight. This means our brain is wired to prioritize visual data for understanding our surroundings.
  • Daily Activities: Most of our daily activities rely heavily on vision – from navigating spaces to reading and recognizing faces.
  • Language: Studies on language development show a bias towards visual concepts. We tend to use visual imagery to describe even non-visual experiences.

However, it’s important to note that the dominance of vision isn’t absolute. Other senses play crucial roles:

  • Survival: In some situations, other senses might be more important. For example, smell can warn us of danger like smoke, and hearing can alert us to approaching threats.
  • Individual Differences: Some people, like those who are blind or visually impaired, develop heightened sensitivity in other senses like touch or hearing.

So, while vision reigns supreme in most cases, all our senses work together to create a complete picture of the world around us.

Is it true that we generally warm to confident people more than timid people?

There’s some truth to that, but it’s not the whole story. Here’s a breakdown:

Confidence can be attractive:

  • Assurance: Confident people often project an air of assurance and competence, which can be seen as desirable qualities.
  • Approachability: Confidence can also make someone seem more approachable and open to interaction.
  • Positive Energy: Confident people tend to exude a more positive energy, which can be uplifting and inviting.

But warmth is key:

  • Balance is Important: Research suggests that true charisma comes from a balance of confidence and warmth. Just appearing confident without being genuinely friendly might not be enough to win people over.
  • Timid Doesn’t Equal Unlikable: Shyness or timidity doesn’t automatically make someone unapproachable. People who are good listeners and show genuine interest in others can be very likable, even if they aren’t outwardly confident.
  • Perception Matters: Confidence can be misinterpreted, especially for women in certain professional settings. Someone who comes across as overly assertive might be seen as arrogant or aggressive.


While confidence can be a positive first impression, it’s the combination of confidence and warmth that fosters genuine connection with others. Timidness isn’t a weakness, and people who take time to warm up can be just as appealing in the long run.

But can shyness due to timidity be perceived by some as not being warm?

You’re absolutely right. Shyness due to timidity can definitely be perceived by some as not being warm. Here’s why:

  • Misreading Cues: Shy people often avoid eye contact, smile less, and speak softly. These cues can be misinterpreted as coldness, disinterest, or even arrogance.
  • First Impressions Matter: In a world that values extroversion, shyness might make it harder to make a strong initial positive impression.
  • Lack of Engagement: Shyness can sometimes lead to withdrawn behavior, making it difficult for someone to actively participate in conversations or social interactions. This can make it seem like they’re not interested in connecting.

However, it’s important to remember that shyness doesn’t always equal a lack of warmth. Shy people can be:

  • Great Listeners: They might be more observant and pay closer attention to what others are saying.
  • Deeply Caring: Their reserved nature might stem from a desire for genuine connection, rather than superficial interactions.
  • Loyal Friends: Once they feel comfortable with someone, shy people can be incredibly warm, supportive, and loyal friends.

So, while shyness might create a barrier at first, it doesn’t negate someone’s capacity for warmth. People who take the time to get to know the person behind the shyness can discover a wealth of positive qualities.

Are black domestic cats healthier than cats of different colours?

There’s some interesting research on cat coat color and health, but fur color itself isn’t a strong indicator of overall health in domestic cats. Here’s a breakdown:

Potential Benefits for Black Cats:

  • Disease Resistance: Some studies suggest that the genetic mutations causing black fur might offer some protection against certain diseases like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). However, more research is needed to confirm this definitively.

Important Caveats:

  • Limited Scope: The potential disease resistance linked to black fur is still under investigation and may not apply to all diseases.
  • Breed Matters: Health concerns are often more closely tied to breed than fur color. For example, certain breeds like Persians might be prone to specific health issues regardless of coat color.
  • Overall Care: A healthy diet, regular vet checkups, and proper exercise are far more crucial for a cat’s well-being than fur color.

The Bottom Line:

Love your cat regardless of color! While there might be some ongoing research on black cat fur and disease resistance, the best way to ensure your feline friend’s health is to provide them with proper nutrition, preventive care, and a loving environment.

Sources: top section is mine. The bottom sections with headings are the product of Google Gemini. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em. Gemini searches the entire internet for answers using reliable websites.

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