Categories: Cat Anatomy

When asking Google for information about cat breeds remember cats are individuals

Time and again Google search tells me that people who are thinking of adopting a pedigree cat are looking to find out if a cat breed likes to cuddle, is a lap cat, likes other cats or “what do they like to eat?”.

They are searching for specific information about a cat breed of their choice. However, the questions would be better directed at the breeder of an individual cat and not at Google for detailed information about the cat breeds because it is unwise to believe that all the cats of a cat breed are the same as if they are clones being stamped out at a factory like nuts and bolts or cars.

Domestic cats are individuals

Each cat is an individual who has inherited their parents’ personality traits and who will develop more traits through early life and later life experiences. Within a cat breed there may be some faint similarities across the board because of selective breeding but it comes down to each cat’s character.

So I’d say that this question is misconceived: “Do Norwegian Forest cats like to cuddle?”. The question is genuinely made but you probably won’t get a straight answer from Google. This specific question that I have itemised should be directed at the person who is selling an individual cat and who has lived with that cat. The answer will almost invariably be yes because all freshly minted Norwegian Forest cats are well socialised. They’ll be some variations but in general all bred cats like a cuddle. It is later in life if they have been abused that the answer might be no. But the answer applies to a single cat not a cat breed.

There are countless similar examples. A typical question which would apply to any breed but in this instance was asked regarding the Persian would be, “Do Persians like dogs?”. You can’t in all fairness ask that question of a breed of cats. But you can ask a seller of a Persian cat whether they got along with the family dog. They’ll probably say yes but it depends on how that specific cat was socialised and their inherited personality.

Another example that I see a lot of is, “Do Siamese [or any other breed selected] make good pets?”. For the Siamese breed as a whole, the answer must be yes because they are created by breeders for that very purpose. However, the question is better restated in relation to an individual cat in a person’s home or even in a cat shelter, “Is this Siamese cat a good pet?”. This is a roundabout way of asking if the cat in the cage in a shelter is friendly and well socialised to people and other pets. Maybe not because the cat is in a shelter and has been abandoned. And it does not matter at that stage if the cat is a pedigree cat or a random bred cat. It depends once again on the cat’s life experiences and their inherited personality.

Many of the questions that Google has to process and find answers for are, dare I say it, a waste of time because once you know cats a little the answer is obvious. For instance: “Do Siamese cats shed a lot?”. All cats shed except the hairless varieties. “Do Siamese cats moult?”. Yes, of course is the answer (except a hairless cat) because this question is not about cat breeds but about domestic cat anatomy in general.

Considering the matter of researching information about cats, there are three broad categories: cat anatomy i.e. all the domestic cats whatever their origin, cat breeds and individual cats. A question needs to fall within one of these categories.

The question about Siamese cats moulting should concern all domestic cats, pedigree purebred or moggy. As stated it is a question about cat anatomy not a specific cat breed. The question concerning dogs is one which concerns an individual cat. A question about a specific breed such as the Siamese might be, “Are Siamese cats vocal?”. The answer would be yes, as Siamese cats are inherently loud with a raucous voice. This is bred into them by breeders and is part of their origin.

The key is to decide if the question is about cat anatomy, a cat breed or an individual cat. Hope this helps a bit.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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