You may assume that your cat is the sassiest, most attitude-ridden of them all, and uh, apparently, you may actually be right. A new study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science is showing that multicolored cats are more aggressive than other cats. The reason is, unsurprisingly, genetic, but the link between how DNA composition can affect both the appearance of fur as well as behavior and attitude (or shall we say, cattitude) is truly interesting.
The study was conducted at the University of California, Davis, and suggests that multicolored cats (torties, calicos, etc.) have an inherited aggression that is superior to other, monotone colored cats. This is because the genes that are responsible for, say, a plain white coat are carried on the X chromosome (hence why multicolored cats are typically female). However, as each color is carried on a different X chromosome, the animal in question would need two of them to present a multicolored fur. So, male calicos are in fact a genetic mutation, as they have the genotype XXY.
In nature, different skins, shells and furs send messages to potential predators (for example, various reptiles have specific spots, usually in bright colors, to indicate that they are dangerous or poisonous). So while the study does note that it was conducted using a random of sample of cat owners (therefore cannot be assumed as definitive across-the-board) it definitely supports the idea that behavior and color presentation are genetically linked. “These findings support some common assumptions about personalities associated with different cat color patterns and help current cat guardians better understand their companion cats,” the study says.
But if you're wondering if you should second-guess getting a cat that's multicolored — think again! The study concluded that the difference in aggression was relatively minor, and that they would probably go undetected by anyone but a longtime cat owner of various breeds and/or a vet. The online survey that was conducted polled 1400 cat owners, and they reported that in terms of how aggressive their pets are toward humans during daily interactions (being handled, going to the vet, playing) and the final sample included 657 male cats and 617 female cats, largely from North America.
And in terms of how they relate to one another, it was multicolored female cats who were most aggressive toward people than cats of other colors. Grey and white cats were as well.
So there you have it: not all cats are built the same. While there's really no evidence that you should or shouldn't avoid any one specific type of cat, it's always interesting to understand how wholly our biological makeup can affect our lives (and, uh, the lives of our cats). So when you come across a new multicolored feline being particularly forward, you can just tell their owner "it's in their DNA." #TheMoreYouKnow.
Images: Giphy (1); Pexels