Why are some cats calm?

“Why are some cats calm?” is a basic question and you might have thought that is does not require an answer but I believe that it does because it is asked on the internet. People want some guidance on this topic because the calmness of a domestic cat in a household is a desirable trait to most cat owners.

Calm Brit SH
Calm blue Brit SH
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There are five interrelated factors at play (a) genetic inheritance (b) socialisation (c) life experience (d) the environment in which the cat lives (e) the cat’s intelligence and innate ability to process events – the X factor.

Genetic Inheritance

Cats inherit the personality traits of their parents just like humans. If the father was a bold, confident cat perhaps the kittens will also be bold and confident. No all of them but a percentage will be. The same applies for a timid father or mother.

If a cat is inherently confident it is more likely – all other factors being equal – that he or she will be more calm under a variety of circumstances in and around the home as confidence allows the cat to deal with events in a more controlled manner.

Domestic cat personality can be divided into confident and timid.


Domestic cats must be socialised during their early weeks of life to being able to live with humans and other pets. The better socialised the cat is the more relaxed he/she will be around humans and dogs. The cat will appear to be calm.

Life Experience

No matter how well socialised a cat may be or how good his genes are in relation to being naturally calm, if his life experience has been appalling and he has been abused and has lived in terrifying conditions for a long time, he will not be calm. He’s likely to be anxious and defensively aggressive towards people.

The Environment

This overlaps with life experience. A nice calm, well socialised cat may become anxious if he lives in a home where the environment is unsuited to a cat. It may be very noisy. There may be a lot of strange people coming and going. The cat may be abused and shouted at. The body language of his caretaker may be unnerving to the cat. He may be kept in a cage for years (breeding cat). There are a multitude of negative environmental possibilities which can drive a domestic cat to being anxious and which override all other factors that would otherwise make him calm.

Cat’s Innate Skills

The four factors above don’t necessarily cover all the reasons why a cat is calm. He/she may have innate skills and intelligence to better process how to interact and socialise with other pets and people, thereby appearing more calm. We don’t know enough about cats to answer the question in the title fully.

Hope this helps. Any other ideas? Please comment.

P.S. Good cat breeders of purebred cats will try and create cats who are calm and well balanced through selective breeding.

P.P.S. There are many articles on PoC on related topics. Please use the custom search box in the RH column.

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