Siamese and Persians are Better Pets than Moggies?
There are very few if any scientific studies comparing the characters of the various cat breeds. However, 15 years ago a gentleman called Turner sought to examine cat breed differences in the human to cat relationship by specifically examining the behaviour of pedigree Siamese and Persian cats versus non-pedigree cats (random bred cats or moggies).
These two breeds, Siamese and Persians, are amongst the first purebred cats. They are also the most extreme in terms of appearance due to years of selective breeding and they have perhaps the most distinctive characters of all then breeds. Do the public consider that these two cat breeds behave differently from the common moggie? The study appears to conclude that they do and that their behaviour is better in being more predictable and socially interactive than non-pedigree cats.
In the study, owners of Siamese, Persians and non-pedigree cats were asked to assess their cats’ behaviour traits using a rating system based upon, for example, playfulness and affection towards the owner. They were asked to rate their cat versus their ideal cat. In other words they were measuring the behaviour of their cat compared to the behaviour that they would most like to see in a cat. In total 21 Siamese, 35 Persian and 61 non-pedigree cats were observed with their owners.
The conclusion of the study confirmed that selective breeding (the effect of genes on behaviour) and early handling (a reference to proper socialisation) had an effect on subsequent behaviour such that Siamese cats initiated more interactions with their owner and vocalised more in doing so, thereby supporting the well-known belief that Siamese cats are more talkative than other pedigree cats.
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The owners of Siamese cats rated them as more curious, friendlier to strangers, more playful, more often near their owner, higher on affection to their owner, less lazy than non-pedigree cats and more likely to vocalise.
As for Persian cats, they were ranked higher on affection to their owner. They stayed closer to their owner, were more predictable, more clean, more fussy about eating, more friendly towards strangers and also, somewhat surprisingly, vocalised more than non-pedigree cats.
The purebred cats were fussier eaters but ranked as being better behaved and more interested in their owners than non-pedigree cats.
Observations during the study indicated that people interacted much more with purebred cats than with non-pedigree cats and spent more time with them. This may be linked to the fact that purebred cats are more likely to be full-time indoor cats and therefore more likely to interact with their human companion. Cat caretakers of purebred cats, being indoor cats, will more often spend longer periods of time with their cat and speak more frequently to them.
As an aside, and incidentally, older human adults (older than 65 years of age) appeared to accept a cat’s independence better than younger people and were more tolerant of their cat.
I am somewhat surprised by the conclusions of this study. I know of no other studies on this subject. I suspect that a major reason why these two very well known purebred cats outshone non-pedigree cats (moggies) is because the owners’ attitudes and behaviour towards their cats was different to the behaviour of owners of random bred cats. This is because the owners of purebred cats, taken as a whole, are likely to be more concerned and involved with their cat companion than the average cat owner of a non-pedigree cat.
This is not to say that there are millions of owners of non-pedigree cats who are just like owners of purebred pedigree cats but that there is likely to be a proportion of cat owners of non-pedigree cats who are less well connected to their cat. What I am trying to say is that the attitude and behavior of the people involved in the study had an effect upon its outcome.
As with anything of financial value, which pedigree cats are, there’s a tendency to take better care of on all levels.
These cats are usually socialized early on, and kept indoors. If they do exhibit a health issue, there’s usually funds to pay for treatment. Most breeders consider easy going temperment as a high value.
All the Persian cats I’ve known were very mellow, and open to people. I haven’t been around Siamese much at all, except at a distance.
As for purebred cats being fussy eaters, I might say that this behavior may come from the owners themselves, and may even be unconscious. Or do we imagine that the purebred cat’s digestive system is more “delicate” than the moggie’s?
If you’re homeless, and a fussy eater, you will not survive. What causes a cat or dog to be a fussy eater? Do we think it’s inherited? Any ideas?
Michael For us in America what is a Moggie?
In the UK, non-pedigree cats are affectionatately known as moggies.
No-one knows for certain the origin of that expression, but there are a few interesting theories.