The Many Colors Of A Cat’s Personality

Tuxedo cats have characteristics in common. Via Public Domain Pictures

Is your cat’s personality linked to the color of her coat? Studies in other species link character to color, but there are few facts about felines. However, after 20 years of practicing veterinary medicine — a decade of which has been devoted to feline specialty practice — I believe that cattitude is color-coded. See if you agree!

1. Tortoiseshell


This SPCA kitten is destined to be the diva of her forever home. Tories seem to know they were dealt the flashiest options in coat couture and act accordingly. Their unique coats come from the X chromosome liked orange color. Females have two X chromosomes; when one carries the dominant orange gene and the other has a nondominant orange gene and the other has a nondominant orange (expressed as black), then the coat is tinted alternately with orange and black. Note: male cats are XY but can be torties if they inherit an extra X chromosome (XXY).

2. Calico

Calicos are tortoiseshell cats with white spots. The extra white can’t hide their diva heritage.

3. Orange Tabby


Orange tabby males are social schmoozers but females can be persnickety. These attitudes may be rooted in the way they inherit their color. With only one X chromosome, males won their only chance to inherit the dominant orange gene in the X-linked color category. On the other hand, an orange female who has two X chromosomes could have been a flamboyant tortie if one of those chromosomes carried a nondominant orange gene.

4. Brown Tabby


All pounce and bounce, brown tabbies are a cat’s cat. They act as if they know their genetic label is “wild type,” so named because their camouflage color is similar to that of their wild ancestors.

5. Gray Tabby


Gray tabbies are the feline embodiment of Switzerland. They attempt neutrality in all things and usually get along with everyone.

6. Black


These cats are cool and sleek. They don’t believe in your superstitions; they believe in themselves. Maybe that’s why Winston Churchill took his black cat, Nelson, to cabinet meetings; he needed a companion who was not easily persuaded by the opinions of others.

7. Gray


A gray cat’s color is a dilution of black. Gray cats try to be cool but are often overcome by their own curiosity.

8. White


White cats are enigmas, which makes sense when you understand that their white color is usually inherited as a white masking gene or a white spotting gene. Their true color — and their true nature — is hidden.

9. Striped


Living with a cat with stripes of color on his head is like playing cards with the blackjack dealer at a casino. They play their hand with just one card face up but expect you to gamble with all your cards showing.

10. Tuxedo


Tuxedo cats seem to know they are dressed for every occasion. They always represent to the best of their ability.

11. Black and White


Even without a tuxedo, every black-white-cat was born to be an ambassador. Perhaps that’s why a black-and-white is always on the payroll as an official mouser at No. 10 Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister of England.

12. What Color Is Right For You?


Perhaps these clues about color and character will help you choose the next cat that joins your clan.

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Cats · Lifestyle