Not all cats are cute. We know that. My cat companion, Charlie, is not cute. He’s pretty handsome and he photographs well but you could not describe him as being cute.  Bengal cats, if they are adult cats, are not cute. There are more attractive or beautiful, sometimes majestic but not cute. Some cat breeds have an inbuilt cuteness or are more likely to be described as cute. These are cats with large round eyes set within a round head.

Cute Persian kitten Crystalline. I have used this photo by Dani before but it is so apt I couldn’t avoid using it again.

The modern Siamese cat is not cute. The modern Siamese cat is too slender or even too skinny to be cute. You could describe the modern Siamese cat as elegant if you prefer that sort of appearance, but not cute.  The Scottish Fold tends more towards cuteness because of the round head without the profile of the users.

Pretty well all adult feral cats are not really cute. A lot of people will describe adult feral cats is ugly or moth-eaten or diseased and unhappy or miserable or any other negative adjective that you could use to describe a feral cat but they are quite a long way from being described as cute.

Neither are adult wild cats cute. They are too strong and athletic and potentially dangerous, even the small wild cats. Anyway when not in captivity, you can’t get near enough to a small wild cat as they will run away from you. If a cat runs away from you is difficult to call that individual cat cute.

Everything changes when we talk about kittens. It does not matter whether a kitten has parents who are feral, stray or wild; all of them are cute and some are cuter than others. The cutest have big eyes, plenty of fluffy fur, and round eyes. All kittens have a look of innocence because they are innocent.

Innocence is an essential ingredient of cuteness. Innocence is freshness and vulnerability. Innocence allows an animal to be trusting until they learn that it is not always a good idea to trust another creature. Then that precious innocence gradually disappears.

There is a very great similarity between the characteristics of a cute kitten and a human baby. Perhaps, on occasions, people decide that a cat is cute because they are anthropomorphising the cat. The innocent, fluffy young kitten is pushing the maternal and paternal emotional buttons within the human.

Cuteness is the round headed, wide-eyed, open faced, vulnerable innocence of a baby. Put the baby in a fluffy onesie and you add another layer of cuteness. White and pink or any light colour is more likely to enhance the cuteness factor. Black does the opposite. Therefore a black kitten is less likely to be cute than a white kitten. Black is darkness and darkness is bad and frightening. Darkness is evil.  White is light and bright representing purity and goodness.

Fluffiness is cuddliness and cuddly is cute. A fluffy, white traditional Persian kitten is going to be a winner in the race to be the cutest cat. Not all cats are cute.

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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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  • 'It's about which genes are the best...&c.'

    As for the best genes...just finished reading Dr. Suzanne Sadedin's essay on AEON (the cyber-mag). The way she describes it, one of the most hearts & flowers time of a woman's life is furious warfare between host & parasite genes struggling for supremacy.

    • The human is far more of an animal than most people think. Everything we do is down to animal survival instincts and motivators - a lot of it is subliminal. Reproduction is a major part of our lives.

  • Howdy Dee -

    What sort of varlet would call a feral 'scruffy?' Millions of them are beautiful! My poor homely boy was a mass of scars and carbuncles, badly healed fractures, rickets and scurvy from years of abuse. Yes, he was ugly as Berkely Breathed's 'Bill the Cat.' But he was all soul.

    And yes, I'm going for it!!! Never mind that I've not yet recovered from the 'handyman' who took three hours to glue two shingles on my roof. One hour of that time was spent stepping into his safety harness, untangling its knots, threading the straps under his crotch and over his shoulder-blades, buckling and unbuckling, squatting and twisting this way and that. Drove me around the bend to see it. Had to go in the house and lie down.

  • Why are kittens cute?

    Men are said to favor pedomorphic features in a woman in preference to - say – a lantern jaw, an aquiline nose & a narrow, flat forehead. What draws their gaze is the oval face with a retroussé nose, largish eyes, a convex forehead and high, rounded cranium infants possess and also many eye-candy women, such as the late Liz Taylor. Also many Africans.

    Come to think, though, is beauty relative?

    Why did the Kwakiutl and Tsimshian, et al. flatten their foreheads by binding them to a board in infancy? To them, there was nothing more fetching than no forehead.

    What makes Twiggy cuter than one of those 19th century, 600 lb. Hawaiian queens? Tinkerbelle than Jimmy Durante? A kitten than a proboscis monkey?

    Still more flummoxing, why will a parent feel nothing but melting tenderness for and spend his last dime on a hopelessly homely, battle-scarred wreck of an alley cat?

    As a finishing touch, how can a parent feel affection for a couple of spiders? Delight in their little antics? Care about their welfare? Worry when the flies are sparse during the winter, and stand outside on sunny, cold days, swatter in hand, to catch the two kids, Clint and Flora, a meal to sustain them, and for the pleasure of watching the little blighters rush out of their silken hidey holes, their tiny hands outstretched, and snatch their dinner? They too are cute.
    Ruthie - are you there? (With apologies to this website.)

    The guy came out today, snapped a bunch of photos, then crunched the bumper into its two longitudinal grooves in eight seconds and attached it by drilling in one screw, which he said would hold for a few miles.

    Called him later today when he'd had time to calculate the fee. Told me it'd be $1,360. Screeched in transports of agony. Fell to the floor. But then he paused a moment or two, hummed & hawed and finally said, 'Well....if you don't insist on the last gasp in aesthetics, maybe I can attach and restore everything in four hours for $166.22.' Screeched with rapture, still supine on floor. Too weak to get up.

    What would you bet he can do the job in a few minutes, but flattens his customers with the first sum so they don't balk at the second? It's impossible not to laugh at the tactics of service providers.

    Will be at the library Wed. afternoon. Hope you & your family are hanging together. xx

    • Sylvia (apologied too)-

      $166.00 is OK. Sure, a 10 minute job. But, what can you do? Aesthetics are pretty meaningless. Function is everything. Go for it.

    • Come to think, though, is beauty relative

      I think beauty is to do with survival of the fittest. It is about which genes are the best. Symmetrical features indicate good genes. Symmetrical features are considered beautiful. Perhaps cuteness is a baby version of symmetrical features.

  • 1. attractive in a pretty or endearing way."she had a cute little nose"
    2.North American informal clever or cunning, especially in a self-seeking or superficial way."she had a real cute idea"

    It's a strange word is cute and not one I find myself using often and if I do it's the second definition rather than the first as in "Oh he was cute there, he jumped into my chair as soon as I got out"(so as well as North American it must be Northern England as well)
    I tend to describe cats as gorgeous, beautiful, lovely, pretty but not cute, to me the only cats that are cute are the ones with clever ideas to benefit themselves (which probably describes most cats really LOL).

    • I am the same as you. I don't "cute" very often and prefer beautiful and that sort of description. Perhaps "cute" is slightly patronising.

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