It’s Black and White: Coat Color Affects Cat Temperament

A study confirms some suspicions about cat behavior. Tortoiseshells and tuxedo cats: you're on watch.

“It don’t matter if you’re black or white.” Actually, when it comes to cat’s, it kind of does.

According to a new study released by the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, a cat’s coat color, or pattern, is a strong determinant in aggression. Bizarre, right?

To conduct the study, led by clinician Elizabeth Stelow, researchers from the University of California, Davis, worked with 1,274 cat owners regarding their daily interactions, handling and vet visits with their feline family members, comparing the responses for each cat to an aggression scale to determine an overall rating. The results?

The study found that felines who are black and white, tortoiseshell and white, or gray and white are more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior. Cats who are tabby, white, black, or gray, on the other hand, were evaluated to be more placid in personality.

University of California, Davis Veterinary Scientists then examined the types of interactions that brought forth bad behaviors for each coat color and pattern with interesting results.

According to their research, black and white cats respond badly to being handled, gray and white cats display aggression when visiting the vet, and tortoiseshell and white cats (long reputed for anti-social behaviors) turn naughty via everyday run-ins with humans!

What do you think? Do you agree that coat colors/patterns determine aggression, or not?

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