Notes on the personalities of cats of various cat breeds

There have been various studies on the personalities of cats of a number of cat breeds. It’s an interesting topic. I’ve always thought that it is challenging to state that all members of a cat breed have a certain personality. You can’t say that because individual cats have their own personality which modifies any personality which has been creative to selective breeding.

Cat breed personality assessments in a study.

Nonetheless, here are some notes about cat breed personality taken from a respected study on the Internet: Reliability and Validity of Seven Feline Behaviour and Personality Traits. The researchers looked at domestic cat personality generally but within that context they had a look at cat breed personality as well which is the area I have selected for this article. Caveat: cation is needed when discussing cat breed personality. These are guidelines and not set in concrete facts.

RELATED: Domestic cat personality influences opportunity, desire and effectiveness of predation

Playfulness and activeness: most playful breeds are the Bengal and Abyssinian. The least active are Persians, Exotic Shorthairs, Ragdolls and British Shorthairs.

Predatory behaviour: the Bengal topped the list of the breeds in respect of predatory behaviour. Persians are at the bottom of the list i.e. the least predatory. Comment: unsurprised as the Bengal is a wildcat hybrid.

Fearfulness: the Russian Blue is the most fearful cat breed. The boldest cat breeds are the Abyssinian, Burmese and Korat.

Nervousness: the Russian Blue is described as a nervous breed. In one study the Abyssinian was also described as nervous but in another they were described as being among the least fearful breeds. This points to difficulties in assessing cat breed character!

Aggression towards humans: the most aggressive breeds towards humans are the Turkish Van and the moggy which is not a breed.

Low aggression: those breeds scoring low aggression levels were Abyssinians, Somalis and Orientals. In one study the British Shorthair was assessed as having low aggression.

Touch sensitivity/owner-directed aggression: the Maine Coon and the Burmese scored high in this aspect of personality. I will have to try and understand what “touch sensitivity/owner-directed aggression” means. I take it to mean that in petting cats of these breeds they are more likely than other breeds to respond inappropriately with aggression. What do you think?

Sociability towards other cats: the most social breeds were assessed as being the Oriental Shorthair and Oriental Longhair, Burmese and Korat.

Least sociability towards other cats: the Turkish Van was assessed as having the highest probability of aggression towards other cats. This applied to a Finish population of Turkish Van cats. It might not be representative of all cats of this breed.

Aggression towards other cats: in one study Oriental Shorthairs were assessed as being more likely to show cat aggression than other breeds. Abyssinians and Siameses scored high in aggression to cats in another study.

Human social breeds: these are breeds which are very sociable towards humans and they are the Siamese, Balinese, Burmese and Oriental.

Least human social breeds: the least sociable towards humans are the Persian, Exotic Shorthair, European Shorthair, American Curl and British Shorthair.

Decreased contact with humans: the cat breeds which apparently had or were predisposed to the least contact with humans are the British Shorthair, Birman, European Shorthair and Persian.

Increased contact with humans: the Siamese, Balinese, Oriental Shorthair/longhair were more likely to have increased contact with humans or “had the lowest probability of decreased contact”.

Affection: Persians showed the lowest in affection.

Attention seeking: the Burmese, Ragdoll and Maine Coon were ranked the most attention-seeking breeds.

Sociability towards humans: the Siamese was ranked second in this sociability factor. Therefore it is a cat breed which is inclined to be sociable towards humans.

Breeds exhibiting the most excessive grooming: these were/are the Siamese, Balinese and Ragdoll. The Orientals also showed a high probability of excessive grooming.

Compulsive behaviours: the Oriental Shorthair and associated breeds in the Siamese family were linked to excessive grooming. The Siamese family includes the Balinese which is the longhaired Siamese. Comment: this indicates a predisposition towards nervousness/anxiety.

Inappropriate elimination: the Bengal cat was more inclined to demonstrate inappropriate elimination than other breeds.

Caveat: Any reports about the personality of individual cat or a cat breed needs to be read with caution. You will see variations of assessments of personalities of cat breeds and you won’t see real clarity. That’s because an individual cat’s personality is dictated to by inherited characteristics and by experience. The discussion above is really about inherited characteristics and for a moment they’ve put aside personality adjustments created through experiences.

Study citation: Mikkola, S.; Salonen, M.; Hakanen, E.; Sulkama, S.; Lohi, H. Reliability and Validity of Seven Feline Behavior and Personality Traits. Animals 202111, 1991.

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