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Coats of many colours: do they affect our cats’ personalities?

Coats of many colours: do they affect our cats’ personalities?

Cat lovers like to say that it is their cat’s personality that is special to them, but they also admit to being drawn to a particular cat’s by the colour of its coat. 

There is also a feeling that the two are linked. Is this true?

One 1995 study concluded that orange male cats tend to be challenged by other males getting too close.   Another that looked at how cats react to new experiences indicated that orange and cream kittens tended to react more aggressively than other kittens when handled by a human being they did not know. 

Is there a difference?

In a 2010 survey, which studied orange, black, brown and tortoiseshell(tortie) cats compared to orange and white,black and white, brown and white, and calico cats found no significant differences between the groups.

While the studies’ results are mixed we definitely associate personality and color. This is probably why black and brown cats are much less likely to be adopted from shelters that other colors. 

In a recent research project, participants were required to complete a questionnaire using a seven-point scale (where one meant “strongly agree” and seven indicated “strongly disagree”)to assess the 10 cat characteristics: active,  bold, aloof, calm, intolerant, friendly, stubborn,shy,train able and tolerant.
They were also asked to determine how much these characteristics could be applied to orange, tortie, black, white, and bi-colored cats.

Colored cats are more active

What the research discovered was that colored cats were considered more active than ones that were just white. Black, tortie, and white cats were deemed to be more standoffish than orange cats.

All the colors were recognized as being bolder than white cats.White cats were thought to be calmer than torties and bi-colored cats.
Those cats considered friendlier than torties were bi-colored, orange, white or black, but of these the least friendly were the white ones.

Torties are less tolerant

Torties were rated as being less tolerant than their black, orange, and bi-colored counterparts.

The pecking order of shyness put black cats at the bottom of the spectrum, followed by white cats, with orange and bi-colored felines being the least shy.

Orange and black cats were seen by the majority of participants as being more tolerant than the torties. Cats were also seen as being more trainable than white ones.

The researchers concluded that orange cats were seen as being low in shyness and aloofness and high in friendliness; torties were considered low in tolerance and friendliness and so unsurprisingly were high in intolerance, and being aloof.

As far as observers were concerned white cats were calm, shy and aloof; while black and white and orange and white cats were seen as being friendly, and not standoffish.

The stand-out cats were the black ones, who were not rated differently from the other cats on any trait.

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