Categories: black and white

Why are black-and-white cats unpopular?

Black-and-white cats are more popular than black cats and less popular than grey cats. Therefore their popularity is relative and it is incorrect to suggest that they are unpopular in an absolute sense. Cat lovers like black-and-white cats because they like cats in general.

Photo in public domain.

It is worth noting that we are only discussing one aspect of the cat: the coat. The cat’s coat dictates more than other aspects of the cat’s appearance whether he or she will be adopted. Size, for example, is another important appearance characteristic which is why Maine Coons are popular. In the domestic cat world big is beautiful and very small is cute.

One reason why black-and-white cats are less popular than some other coat types is because it is a fairly common domestic cat coat and it contains black. Knowing the human character, objects which are common are less desirable than rare objects. Rarity makes something special, unusual and attractive.

The underlying point I am making is that when the majority of people select a cat to adopt they make the same judgements as when buying a car or a fridge. This squares up nicely with the fact that in law cats are exactly the same as cars or fridges or any other household item.

The black-and-white cat is called a tuxedo cat. For humans, the tuxedo is a formal dress style for evening events which dates back to the 19th century in Britain and America. Does this have a subliminal effect in making the tuxedo cat less popular? It might but the idea might also be far fetched.

There is no connection that I know of between the black-and-white coat and the cat’s character. Therefore in rejecting a cat because of her coat type a person might well be rejecting a cat with a wonderful character. A character which might be better than a cat with a more popular coat type such as the tortoiseshell.

In the long term, character is more important than appearance. This is because we normalise appearance but character always plays a very direct role in interactions with our cat. Character affects behaviour and behaviour can delight or distress the human guardian.

To reject a cat because she has a certain type of coat without allowing the cat to demonstrate character, and whether there is an emotional connection, is a bad idea.

Prioritise character and emotional connection when selecting a cat for adoption. Coat type and colour comes second or third. Better still let the cat select you and totally ignore the coat.

Many years ago I saw a tuxedo cat in the outside basement area of a townhouse in Notting Hill Gate. I wondered about her. She appeared to have been abandoned by the owner who had moved. The next day she looked up at me from under a parked car on the street. She saw me and I looked back. Her tail juddered in excitement. I took her in. We had a great life together for 18 years.


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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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