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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Is your cat’s color linked to their personality?

Aug 25, 2023 10:29AM ● By Jenna Kretschman

Ask a dog owner what kind of pet they have, and you’ll likely hear a specific breed— Labrador retriever, dachshund, German shepherd. Ask a cat owner the same question and you’ll be met with a generic color or pattern—tabby, orange, black, tuxedo, tortoiseshell. 

It’s estimated that 95% of household cats are the same breed: domestic shorthair. Despite little evidence to support the theory, many cat owners anecdotally assert that a cat’s personality is linked to the color of their coat.

If you’re like me and spend your free time watching cat videos on the internet, you may be familiar with the widespread reputation earned by fearless, friendly, outgoing and care-free ginger cats dubbed “orange cat energy,” suggesting with endearment that all orange cats ignite entertaining chaos in their wake.

At Roice-Hurst Humane Society, we’ve met our fair share of orange cats, but none have embodied orange cat energy quite like Alan, infamous for somehow climbing into the ceiling of our lobby in 2018. When Alan returned to Roice-Hurst after his aging owner became unable to care for him, his antics continued when he began inexplicably printing documents and playing music from the computer in our feline behavior room.

If you have a tortoiseshell cat at home—one sporting a spotty mix of black and tan, most likely female—you may be familiar with the term “tortitude” (tortie attitude). Calico cats are tortoiseshells with white on more than 20 percent of their body. Torties and calicos have a reputation for being feisty, smart and independent.

One of our most memorable calicos was a hissy, spicy cat named Harley, who was rescued as a semi-feral cat living outdoors in rough condition. She was quite a sight to behold—half of her body was shaved because of severe matting, and she would swipe and hiss at anyone who dared to approach her cage. After months of diligent work teaching her to trust humans, intelligent Harley was trained to perform tricks like “sit” and “high-five” before being adopted.

That’s not all. Black cats are thought to be mild-mannered and mysterious, grey cats may be more timid and tabbies are perceived to be bold and active. However, it’s important to remember that these stereotypes are purely anecdotal and not based on scientific evidence. In fact, a variety of external factors contribute to each individual cat’s personality, like socialization, environment and life experience.

We meet lovable cats of all colors, patterns and personalities at Roice-Hurst. If you’re considering adding a feline to your family, stop by a local animal shelter to pick out your purrfect match, regardless of color!

Jenna is Roice-Hurst Humane Society’s Communications Coordinator. Contact her at [email protected]

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