Some Cat Colors Linked To Aggression, But Don’t Base Your Pet Choice On It

A new study suggests a possible link between feline aggression and certain coat colors and patterns, but the lead researcher warns that people looking to adopt a cat shouldn’t be basing their decision on how the animal looks.

“It’s not that your average white cat is an angel and your average calico is a devil,” Dr. Liz Stelow of the University of California-Davis told The Huffington Post. “We’re looking at a continuum here.”

Stelow and her team looked at data from 1,274 anonymous cat caretakers who answered an online survey about their pets’ behavior for a study published on Oct. 14 in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. The survey included questions about how often the cats engaged in various aggressive behaviors — like hissing, biting or scratching — as well as questions about the likelihood that the cats would display aggression while being handled or at the vet.

Owners of female cats with “sex-linked” color patterns — meaning tortoiseshell, “torbie” and calico cats — reported a higher frequency of aggression than owners of female cats of other colors.

“Sex-linked” means that these specific color patterns are linked to genes on the X chromosome. Only male cats with an extra X chromosome can exhibit such patterns, making them extremely rare.

The survey’s findings seem to back up these cats’ reputation for being more difficult than other felines. Some people even refer to the alleged feistiness of tortoiseshells as “tortitude.”

The data also suggested that cats with gray and white coats, as well as cats with black and white coats, may have increased aggression — a result Stelow said the researchers did not expect to find.

But a caveat to the study is that it’s based on aggression as reported by the cats’ caretakers —> Read More