cat color

Is There a Genetic Basis for the Unique Behaviors of Siamese Cats?

siamese-cats

Guest post by Ingrid R. Niesman, MS PhD

The dark horse wins the race”. “Our hero strides forth on a shiny white steed”. Humans have long been mystified over animal behaviors and coloration. Albinos have been alternatively feared or revered. Black cats summon up dark arts imagery. But is there really a connection between a cat’s fur and their behavior or is this just superstition? My research is aimed at unraveling at least a small part of this enduring mystery.Continue Reading

A Visual Guide to Identifying Cats

Could you describe your cat to someone else so they would be able to identify him or her without any doubt? As cat parents, we’re always going to be able to recognize our own cats, but being able to describe your cat accurately to others could be important. Perhaps you have two cats who look so similar that your friends are always wondering how you can tell them apart. How would your cat sitter know who is who? And in a worst case scenario, if your cat ever got lost, being able to provide an accurate description to area shelters could be crucial to getting her back home.Continue Reading

The Terrific Tabby Cat

tabby-cat

Tabby cats, also referred to as tiger cats, are cats with a coat featuring a pattern of distinctive stripes, lines, dots or swirling patterns. Tabby cats have pencil like lines on their faces, and almost all tabbies have markings shaped like the letter “M” on their foreheads. Tabby is not a breed. The tabby pattern is found in domestic cats as well as many purebred cats. The tabby pattern looks very similar to the coloration of the domestic cat’s ancestor, the African wildcat.Continue Reading

Don’t judge a tortoiseshell cat by her color

don't_judge_cat_by_color

Even though we don’t like to admit it, we often make snap judgments based on appearance – and apparently, this is the case for cats as well. In a new study published in Anthrozoos, researchers from California State University and the New College of Florida surveyed nearly 200 people. Study participants were asked to associate 10 personality terms (active, aloof, bold, calm, friendly, intolerant, shy, stubborn, tolerant and trainable) with five cat colors–orange, tri-colored (tortoiseshells and calico cats), white, black and bi-colored (white and anything else).

Tri-colored cats (tortoiseshell and calico cats) rated high in aloofness and intolerance. Those of us who love our torties for their unique personalities, also known as “tortitude,” may disagree with this assessment. Torties tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, and they can be very possessive of their human.  Other words used to describe torties are fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable.  They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.

But even though there may be a connection between coat color and temperament, all cats are also individuals. Continue Reading

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?