Is There a Connection Between Cat Color and Temperament?

multiple cats

My recent article on “Tortitude – The Unique Personality of Tortoiseshell Cats” led me to wonder whether there’s a link between other cats’ coloring and their temperaments.  After all, both color and temperament can be inherited and genetically controlled, so it doesn’t seem to be too much of a leap to think that a cat’s coloring may be an indication of his or her personality.  It seems that there are, indeed, some commonalities between cat color and personality.  This is what I found:

Tabby Cats

Tabbies have a reputation for being laid back, calm and more sociable.  They’re also said to be very affectionate, and relaxed to the point of being lazy. 

Black Cats

Black cats can be stubborn and friendly at the same time.   They are said to be good hunters, but they can have a tendency to roam.  They’re good natured and sociable.

Ginger, Orange and Red Cats

Orange cats are usually males (only one out of five orange cats is female).  Cats with this coloring can be laid back and affectionate, but can also have a bit of a temper.  Females tend to be more laid back than males.

Black and White Cats

Black and white cats (some are known as tuxedo cats when their coat pattern resembles a tuxedo jacket) are said to be even tempered and placid, but they can also be wanderers.  They can be very loyal to their family, often to one person in particular, and can be real lap cats.

Blue, Cream, Gray and Lilac Cats

Cats that have lighter coat colors all carry the same gene, called the dilution gene.  I found conflicting information on this particular coloring – some say cats with this coloring can be mischievous and a bit frantic, while others say they are laid back and mellow.

I believe that each cat has a unique and special personality, and color is only one aspect of what may play into making kitty who she is.  Other factors, such as breed and environment also come into play.  And of course, our cats are also spiritual beings, and perhaps spirit plays the biggest part in determining personality.

Does your cat’s personality fit into one of these classifications based on coat color?

23 Comments on Is There a Connection Between Cat Color and Temperament?

  1. Eliza
    October 31, 2019 at 10:46 pm (2 years ago)

    The English definition of the title states it is if a fabric or silk with a striped pattern. It also has another meaning, which has little to do with appearance. Which meaning was the first?
    The meaning of tabby as striped patterns was the first in the English language. The Arabic name for fabric is ‘Atabi.’ It has its origin in the ancient district of Baghdad, Attabiah. The name ‘Atabi’ became an English name in the 17th century. English speaking people converted the pronunciation to tabby and used it to describe anything that had striped. The word became a standard description of striped cats in the 18th century.
    Learn about the meaning of tabby

  2. Dee
    July 1, 2011 at 2:41 am (10 years ago)

    Black and white cats (some are known as tuxedo cats when their coat pattern resembles a tuxedo jacket) are said to be even tempered and placid, but they can also be wanderers. They can be very loyal to their family, often to one person in particular, and can be real lap cats.

    Exact description of both my Tuxedo Cats.. both were even tempered and placid. Both selected one member of the family to own and I do mean own.. Both loyal to the family, and both had a little bit of a wandering nature.. Lap cats and beyond, could not even answer natures call without the one that owned me trying to jump in my lap. When the one that owned me passed on, all he wanted was to be on my lap.. Great big wonderful cat.. my best freind.

    Tabby Cat orange. Tabbies have a reputation for being laid back, calm and more sociable. They’re also said to be very affectionate, and relaxed to the point of being lazy.
    Description fits also.. My new tabby is 1yr old is poilite, and laid back. He will let my Blue Russian cat eat first, and have the pick of the toys. He is somewhat possesive of me, and gets upset when i am holding our Blue. He likes to kick back and stretch out with his belly up sleeping. When awake, and in the mood he rides on my shoulder.. Follows me around and sits on my lap. If I want to play he plays, if not he is quiet. Strictly a cat food eater and will sit patiently while I fill his bowl.

    Blue Russian- some say cats with this coloring can be mischievous and a bit frantic, while others say they are laid back and mellow. Our Blue one is mischievous, runs like wildfire and stages sneak attacks on my tabby when she is in the mood.. Definately possesive of the toys, chatters with the birds and owns the perch on the window sill. This cat is also a thief, stole my sweater, the tabby’s bed, bath towels and more. She literally takes items in her mouth and drags them off. Always wanting a sample of people food. Meticulous about her litter box. Not much of a lap cat, and when she is, it is on her terms only. She does groom the tabby and is attentive to him.

    • Ingrid
      July 1, 2011 at 10:59 am (10 years ago)

      Sounds like your cats are folllowing the “patterns”, Dee. I particularly enjoyed your description of your Russian Blue’s antics!

    • Elle
      August 17, 2011 at 8:40 am (10 years ago)

      My tuxedo cat is laid-back and extremely affectionate, but also highly vocal with a great variety of miaows when she wants something whether it’s a feed, a cuddle or to be let out. Much more so than my previous cat, a brown tabby who was virtually silent. Neither cats were wanderers at all. The tuxedo cat is happiest sitting in her favoured spot in my garden and rarely ventures over the fence.

      • Dawn
        October 12, 2015 at 12:52 am (6 years ago)

        I agree my Tuxedo kitten is extremely talkative and loves attention, and very playful. 😀

  3. Ingrid
    January 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm (11 years ago)

    Nataly, I agree that these profiles are not true 100% of the time – after all, each cat is an individual. It’s the old nature vs. nurture discussion – genetics only go so far, and then environment comes into play, too.

  4. Nataly
    January 15, 2010 at 11:55 am (11 years ago)

    Very powerful list of comparison color and temperament of cats.
    But, we should know that it’s not applied on 100% cases. Sometimes we, as a human being, able to change the nature of our cat (to better or worst side).
    For example, I know about lady who treat her Maine Coon cat very bad and that beautiful kitty with a very nice and funny character transformed into aggressive dog (figurally speaking).
    Cause I have my own “small” Maine Coon – it’s really easy to compare. Love produce love, aggress produce aggress.

  5. Ingrid
    December 20, 2009 at 8:26 pm (11 years ago)

    Glen, sounds like Kasey definitely fits the “profile,” while Morgan and Taz prove the point that while some cats may fit these profiles, ultimately, all cats are unique individuals 🙂

  6. Glen
    December 20, 2009 at 7:56 pm (11 years ago)

    Tortie; Kasey, born 1999

    Strong-willed – YES

    A bit hot-tempered – Yes

    They can be very possessive of their human – YES

    Fiercely independent – YES

    Feisty and unpredictable – YES

    They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr – YES, or in her case, the “eeps and squeeks” song from the other room when wanting attention.

    Black & White “tuxedo”; Morgan (Morgan Taylor Cat), born 2000

    Even tempered and placid – YES, but skittish

    They can also be wanderers – I expect she would likely be, but she is an indoor cat

    They can be very loyal to their family – Hard to tell, she is the last to come up to visitors of our three cats

    Often to one person in particular – Morgan does like to “visit” everyone, on her terms

    Can be real lap cats – Morgan is not, she will jump up on your lap once and a while, again on her terms, this could be because of how she was treated as a kitten, pre-rescue

    Orange, Taz, born 1999

    Orange cats are usually males -YES, he is not a Maine Coon but is like one, at 19+ pounds

    Cats with this coloring can be laid back and affectionate – YES

    Can also have a bit of a temper – YES, if you pick him up and he takes offense, he will hiss, when you put him on the floor, he immediately rubs around your ankles

    Other – if there’s something immature and undignified for an adult cat to do, he is quite willing, ready and able to “step up to the plate” and get it done

  7. Debbi Docherty
    September 20, 2009 at 10:35 am (12 years ago)

    I’m a little behind on this post but I, too, find that there is a close connection between color/markings and personality traits. My black and white spoiled me as he was so even tempered and very laid back. My tabby, now, is extremely attached to me. This article is quite accurate, based on my experiences.

  8. Ingrid
    September 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm (12 years ago)

    Tammy, that’s an interesting question whether you predisposed Oscar to being grouchy by naming him that. Hmm, that could be a whole new blog post – do the names we give our cats influence their personalities?

  9. Ingrid
    September 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm (12 years ago)

    Renee, it sounds like you have quite a variety to pick from to prove or disprove the link between color and temperament!

  10. Tammy
    September 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm (12 years ago)

    This is a fun post! In thinking about our own kitties – we have a tuxedo boy – Ben. He is quite affectionate, and never gets enough pets.

    We have a gray boy – Oscar. He is GRUMPY. I think I may have jinxed him by naming him Oscar (the grouch?) 🙂 He’s very sweet too, but more prone to biting when he’s done with attention.

    And then there is our Henry. He is a siamese, tabby mix. He is super sweet, but SO not smart. He is our loviest cat though. We both would like to have an orange cat down the road. 🙂

  11. Renee
    September 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm (12 years ago)

    I love color genetics, and when I look around at the gang here, there seems to be a fairly good representation of most categories (sigh). I think you’ve hit each right on! Fun!!

  12. KRae
    August 31, 2009 at 5:34 pm (12 years ago)

    “Quite a charater” is a understatement! For instances, he loves being rubbed backwards, loves wearing dresses and hats, loves rubbing my computer monitor and getting fur all over it, and a few other things I really shouldn’t mention…

  13. Ingrid
    August 31, 2009 at 5:28 pm (12 years ago)

    I love the photos of Buford drinking coffee. He sounds like quite the character.

  14. KRae
    August 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm (12 years ago)

    Several people ask me about my cat who drinks cold, black coffee, all I can say is Buford is onery enough to do it! In fact I put up a post about it on my blog;
    I have several other posts up about my “weird” cat. (he also likes wearing sundresses)

  15. Ingrid
    August 31, 2009 at 2:17 pm (12 years ago)

    Cindy, I love what you said about the Sunday school song about the little children applying to our kitties as well.

    Janet, it sure looks like there is some validity to the link between color and temperament. I had a grey tabby who was very affectionate, but only with me. He was shy around others. Of all the colors and markings, I still see the most distinctive link between color and personality in calicos and torties.

    KRae, I am intrigued with a cat who likes to drink cold, black coffee!

  16. KRae
    August 31, 2009 at 10:44 am (12 years ago)

    I have a black and white cat named Buford T. Pusser, and I was thinking about his temperment… Buford is very loyal to me, but not much of a lapcat. But, he will sit in a box on my lap, but he can be very stuborn and onery at times, and loves to drink cold, black coffee. When he was a outside cat (he’s a inside cat now) he was the wonderer of all our cats, and one of the best hunters. He’s also very affectionate at times. So, from what you say coat color can have something to do with temperment.

    • Shannon
      December 17, 2011 at 11:56 am (9 years ago)

      LOVE the name! Go Buford!

  17. Janet Velenovsky
    August 31, 2009 at 10:42 am (12 years ago)

    I completely agree about the talkative nature of Calicos and Torties. Independence and a certain “spark”, too! I’ve noticed this not just in my own, but others I have met and worked with.

    I have a perception of grey cats as snuggly and affiliative, but that comes from a smaller sample of cats for me.

    I suspect the tabby “laid back” quality may come from the Maine Coon genes.

    This is a great topic! Please let us know if anyone has more scientific data to contribute. Thanks.

  18. Cindy Bricker
    August 31, 2009 at 10:27 am (12 years ago)

    Oh, I LOVE today’s post! I find it so interesting how the coat color CAN determine (somewhat) personality traits in our kittiekitties. An earlier post about torties/calicos seemed to ring true with my tricolor calico girl, Mandy. My recently deceased Edgar was a grey tabby (with an almost solid body – no stripes, but the typical striping on his chest, cheeks, legs, & tail) and he was so resilient, I could’ve twisted him into a figure-eight if I wanted. His love was unconditional, and he SHOWED it, unlike my little headstrong on-n-off-again Mandy. I am just enamored and mesmerized with this species called felines! [giggle] I LOVE learning about them, as Mandy (Edgar was, too!) is very much a part of our family – husband, wife, and cat! I talk to her as if she’s a person and mostly expect that she understands most of what I’m saying.

    Today’s picture and topic bring this to mind (from the childhood Sunday School song, ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’)…’red, yellow, black, or white – they are precious in His sight’…I think that goes for our kittiekitties, too! Afterall, our Creator made them too!



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