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  #1  
Old 11-19-2012, 01:50 PM
It's Not Rocket Surgery! It's Not Rocket Surgery! is offline
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Are orange/yellow male cats more likely to be friendly?

My wife, who grew up with lots of cats in her household, has always maintained that if you get an orange (or yellow/tan) male cat, it is much more likely to have a good personality than other cats. I'm skeptical that this is the case - but my one tan male was definitely a nice guy; and our current orange male cat is as cuddly as cats get.

Is there any truth to her theory?
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2012, 01:52 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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I've heard the theory that orange tabby males are the friendliest types of cats. Anecdotally, I've found this to be true. I suspect that a large number of cat lovers have heard this as well, because it's very difficult to find a male orange tabby kitten to adopt.
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2012, 01:59 PM
WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is online now
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A cat lover with anecdotal evidence checking in . . .
The next door neighbor's orange guy is as sweet as pie while my own orange lady is a real c _ _ _ (so much so that we call her Ginger minge).
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  #4  
Old 11-19-2012, 02:04 PM
Mrs. Cake Mrs. Cake is offline
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Mine is, but he is my first orange tabby and he was hand-raised from about 5 weeks old, so that could have to do with it. My tortie females have always been extremely people-friendly as well, although they don't seem to play well with other cats.
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  #5  
Old 11-19-2012, 02:11 PM
Taomist Taomist is offline
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We have siblings, and the orange girl is standoffish until she wants to be petted, and then she sits on MrTao's chest and meows til she gets it.

The male is more a peach-cream, and it depends on his mood. If he's outside being 'wild' cat, you can't catch him, and he acts totally feral. Indoors, he likes being petted, but doesn't ask for it unless he wants something else, like treats. But then at night he absolutely MUST snuggle and lick you to sleep.
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2012, 03:50 PM
BetsQ BetsQ is offline
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My parents' orange cat is named Bill, after the Bloom County character. When he arrived at their house as a kitten, he spent three days hiding behind the dryer and saying, "Ack!! THPHTPH!!", rather like his predecessor with that name. 19 years later and he's almost friendly. Or, at least, he doesn't try to tear your arm off if you try to pet him.

I know, sample size of 1 and all.
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:02 PM
jasg jasg is offline
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I have experienced two orange tabbies in my life. Both extremely aggressive and nasty. One would pounce on little children as they walked by the other just like to chew on people of any age.
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:25 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
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I read a story online a while back that quoted a study saying something along the following lines:

Black toms do better in the city, and ginger ones do better in more rural/suburban areas.

Related to this, black toms were supposed to be "braver" (as in, didn't startle very strongly) but were also more agressive.

In contrast, ginger toms were supposed to be "curious" instead of aggressive but they were much more likely to startle and run if they were suprised.

The authors of the study were saying that could be based on the differences between city hazards and country hazards -

The idea was that city cats are more densely packed, and they encounter a lot of weird crap, so it's more beneficial for the black toms, because they are more aggressive so they successfully defend their territory, and they aren't likely to startle and waste energy running from car backfires or trash removal people.

Country cats on the other hand don't have to fight off other cats so much, so they don't need to be aggressive. However, because they have larger territories, they are more likely to be curious about what they run across, and because they don't have as much overstimulation, they're more likely to panic and run when they're startled by something.

I don't remember where the original study was from, and I'm not having much luck on a quick google for it either. I did think it was an interesting attempt to add actual science to a very well established bit of cat folklore.
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2012, 04:32 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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Originally Posted by Taomist View Post
We have siblings, and the orange girl is standoffish until she wants to be petted, and then she sits on MrTao's chest and meows til she gets it.

The male is more a peach-cream, and it depends on his mood. If he's outside being 'wild' cat, you can't catch him, and he acts totally feral. Indoors, he likes being petted, but doesn't ask for it unless he wants something else, like treats. But then at night he absolutely MUST snuggle and lick you to sleep.
Does your orange female cat have white or another, third color to her? In my experience most orange striped tabbys are all male.

And I have heard and noticed that male cats seem to be only one or two colors, and that almost all three colored cats are female.
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:25 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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I don't know. My own personal experience has been that orange boys are nearly always happy boys. But my sister adopted an orange boy who is, frankly, a nightmare. She has to keep him isolated from her other 2 cats, because he's so mean and aggressive. He even clawed out a window screen to get outside. So now she has to leave the windows closed in his room.

Cute as a button, though.

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 11-19-2012 at 05:25 PM..
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  #11  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:32 PM
Antigen Antigen is offline
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I only have my darling departed Tio to judge by, but I'd say yes, they are the best and most lovingest cats in the world.
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  #12  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:32 PM
Palo Verde Palo Verde is offline
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I've had at least 8 cats at times in my life, and we currently have 3. The orange male we have is not only the friendliest of the three, he is the friendliest of any cat I've ever had.
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:33 PM
MLS MLS is offline
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Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
Does your orange female cat have white or another, third color to her? In my experience most orange striped tabbys are all male.

And I have heard and noticed that male cats seem to be only one or two colors, and that almost all three colored cats are female.
I have read that one of the genes for color is on the X chromosome, so males can have any one color plus white, whereas females can be calico.

We've had two orange stripy male cats and both were dumb as a post. The first one was a great mouser, though. He would sit for a whole day looking at the spot where he last knew of a mouse. My theory was that he was too stupid to be bored.

The best cat we ever had was a black & white "tuxedo" male cat. Lovable, cuddly, friendly to all.
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:48 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Our little orange boy (we call him a "Cremesicle Cat") is indeed the sweetest cat ever created. He actually prefers to be cuddled by small children picking him up and carrying him cradle-style, belly up like a human infant. Seriously! He would like us to think he's stupid, but he's really quite clever when no one is watching.

Our girl tortiseshell (black and tan, no white) is, like other torties I've owned, curious and smart as a whip. While she's affectionate, it's in a very demanding on-her-terms kind of way, and she'd prefer her paws be in contact with a horizontal surface at all times, thankyew.

Grey tabby boys are hair trigger tempered and aggressive. They can be sweet as pie, but don't trust them when they flop over for belly rubbin's. All's well and good until suddenly your hand is a pincushion.

Calico (girls) are insane and gorgeous. They're the "crazy ex-girlfriends" of the cat world.

I've not been owned by a tuxedo cat, so I don't have a firm opinion about them.

(All of the above both true and tongue-in-cheek. I realize that this is all confirmation bias, and that domestic shorthairs don't show a great predictability in temperament when categorized by coat color.)
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2012, 05:57 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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My experience is the opposite-- that orange males are more skittish. I think we're seeing in this thread that there's no strong correlation.
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  #16  
Old 11-19-2012, 06:55 PM
Dr. Girlfriend Dr. Girlfriend is offline
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My orange boy is probably the friendliest and most outgoing cat I've ever been owned by. He doesn't know a stranger, everyone from the maintenance guys to my Avon lady is a potential source of belly rubs.
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  #17  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:00 PM
Jenaroph Jenaroph is offline
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Submitted without comment.

Our neighbor had a big orange tabby male who was an awesomely nice and laidback cat. But the friendliest two cats I've met were both tuxedo kitties, one male, one female, different owners.
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  #18  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:29 PM
nikonikosuru nikonikosuru is offline
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Noooooo no no no. God no. My sister's cat is evidence of my testimony.

I've found it depends more on the breed. Maine coons have been my personal favorite for their friendliness and laid back personality, regardless of their fur color.
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  #19  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:49 PM
missred missred is offline
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We had several orange boys growing up. They were fairly sweet, but not the brightest kitties on the block. The friendliest cat I've ever cohabitated with was a tuxedo boy.
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  #20  
Old 11-19-2012, 09:27 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Cats carry a gene for either red (orange/ginger or cream) or black (or grey) on the X chromosome. The white gene is apparently carried on some other chromosome. At any rate, almost all calico cats are female, as they have two X chromosomes, and sometimes the red will express, and sometimes the black will express in a given area. The very, very few calico males are XXY, and I'm not sure if any of them are fertile.

Cream/yellow is the dilute version of red, and grey is the dilute version of black.

I have absolutely no frigging idea why the color orange is considered red. Nor do I know why the color grey is sometimes called blue. Some grey cats have a bluish tone to them, but they are primarily grey.

Two orange boys live with us, and both of them are very affectionate indeed. One is an extremely handsome orange tabby and white, with a face like a tiger's, and with clear tabby markings. The other is almost solidly orange, with subtle shade variations of orange throughout his coat. I'm not sure what to call him, as at first glance, he doesn't LOOK like he's got tabby markings. His first owners called him Shadow, which I feel is inappropriate for an orange kitty, but he responds to the name, so I didn't try to change it.
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  #21  
Old 11-19-2012, 09:27 PM
Grapefruit Grapefruit is offline
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My orange cat doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Actually, not only does he not have a mean bone in his body, he doesn't really have any self preservation either. Even when pushed past his annoyance limit, he won't retaliate. Case in point: my cousin's kid came over once and was giving him nice strokes until the little devil decided it'd be fun to grab a handful of fur. The cat yelped and whipped his head around, but rather than bite or move away, he just gave us a pained look. Sometimes when I'm teasing him, he'll start licking my hand to say "That's enough." It's like he's trying to tell me he has a mouth and there's teeth in his mouth, but he and I both know he won't use it.

That's just *my* orange tabby though. My sister's orange tabby isn't exactly mean, but he's very high maintenance. He hates it when I look in his eyes... his devil-like orange glowing eyes.

Last edited by Grapefruit; 11-19-2012 at 09:27 PM..
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  #22  
Old 11-19-2012, 09:36 PM
wheresmymind wheresmymind is offline
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I have a male orange cat and he is the nicest cat you could ask for. He flops over on his back so you can rub his tummy, comes when called, and will be on your lap the second you sit or lay down. I actually first heard the "orange boys are nice" theory from my vet: he said that in his experience large (over 12 lbs) orange domestic shorthair males were generally the nicest, friendliest cats you could find. But he admitted to having 2 of them, so I'd hardly call his opinion unbiased.
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  #23  
Old 11-19-2012, 09:41 PM
Battle Pope Battle Pope is offline
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Originally Posted by wheresmymind View Post
I have a male orange cat and he is the nicest cat you could ask for. He flops over on his back so you can rub his tummy, comes when called, and will be on your lap the second you sit or lay down.
This sounds exactly like our orange/white guy. He was a rescue cat from a nearby RSPCA. We took him in to be desexed (normally the RSPCA does this but we got him from a rural area and they didn't have the facilities so they provided a voucher) and the vet staff all wanted to keep him he was so friendly to everyone.
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  #24  
Old 11-20-2012, 12:22 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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As I mentioned in an earlier thread on a very similar topic, research with French ferals by Pontier seems to show both increased average body size ( and actually greater gender dimorphism with orange females being smaller than average ) and increased average aggression with orange males. This results in differential breeding success relative to other colors under certain circumstances relating to population density. Basically they out compete other cats where pop. density is low enough for them to monopolize mates with their greater bulk and aggression, but get out competed themselves in areas of high density because their aggression works against them ( they spend more time fighting than screwing, but can't exclude other males due to sheer numbers ). This also has implications for disease in feral populations.

But this is with ferals. With hand-reared pets this assertiveness may translate into more overt friendliness on average.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 11-20-2012 at 12:26 AM..
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  #25  
Old 11-20-2012, 12:30 AM
AngelSoft AngelSoft is offline
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Honestly, I didn't use to believe the whole idea that there could be a link between a cat's coloring and their personality. It seemed ridiculous to me. But over the years, I have been proven wrong over and over and over again. At one point I had 5 orange male tabbies. Two were brothers but the other three weren't related. Every single one of them was a lover and wanted nothing more than for me to hold and snuggle them. When I was working in the vet field, I'd say nearly every male orange tabby I encountered was the sweetest thing. I have noticed that female orange tabbies are much more uncommon and MUCH less sweet. They didn't seem to pick up that lovey dovey gene. Right now, I have 2 orange males and 1 orange and white male. The two oranges are just like I expected but the other one is a bit less unpredictable. He does like to be petted but does not put up with the more intense cuddle sessions like his buddies.
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  #26  
Old 11-20-2012, 01:37 AM
Kaio Kaio is offline
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Funny, they just did a study on this.

Short version, there's little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality, but people very strongly believe it's there. Apparently there's a huge bias against black cats, too. Which makes me sad because my boy (solid black) is the most affectionate cat you've ever seen.
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  #27  
Old 11-20-2012, 08:52 AM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
Funny, they just did a study on this.

Short version, there's little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality, but people very strongly believe it's there. Apparently there's a huge bias against black cats, too. Which makes me sad because my boy (solid black) is the most affectionate cat you've ever seen.
The study was regarding how cat color influences adoption rates; it didn't and couldn't conclude anything about an actual correlation between coloring and personality. The lead author of the study said that "there is little evidence that these perceived differences between differently colored cats actually exist", but that could just mean little or no studies looking for those correlations were ever done, not necessarily that any studies found evidence to the contrary.
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  #28  
Old 11-20-2012, 09:04 AM
janis_and_c0 janis_and_c0 is offline
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My experience has mostly been

Orange tabbies are sweet & friendly
black males are easygoing & docile
grey tabbies are skittsh & anti-social (but I love him anyway!)
YMMV
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  #29  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:20 AM
jem~ jem~ is offline
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I've had 3 cats in my life time. The female orange tabby could be rather mean. The pure gray male was slightly neurotic.

My current 12 pound short haired orange/white male cat is extremely friendly and vocal. He has big round green eyes. Everyone who meets him comments on his beauty and friendliness.
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  #30  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:38 AM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Which makes me sad because my boy (solid black) is the most affectionate cat you've ever seen.
Yes!

In fact every black cat I've met has been lovely and sweet. If I were to get a cat tomorrow, it would be a black one.

For the OP - I've known 2 orange tabbies - 1 is quite friendly, the other was just fat and cranky.
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  #31  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:45 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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I have had, probably, 25-30 cats over the years. The three orange males (one is still living) were/are the smartest, friendliest, most congenial of all the cats.

Two long haired tuxedo females were complete opposites of each other. In fact, one was the sweetest cat ever, so when I found another long haired tuxedo female, I took her home, and she has turned out to be a bitch-on-wheels from day one. I've had her for 13 years and she will still swat at me (and draw blood).

Currently I have a new black female kitten who is a hellion and is making the sweet orange boy go and hide during the day. He has scars and scabs all over his face where she has scratched him. Even he can't win her over.
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  #32  
Old 11-20-2012, 03:51 PM
Kaio Kaio is offline
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Originally Posted by x-ray vision View Post
The lead author of the study said that "there is little evidence that these perceived differences between differently colored cats actually exist", but that could just mean little or no studies looking for those correlations were ever done, not necessarily that any studies found evidence to the contrary.
...which is exactly what I said...

Though personally I think it's far more likely that temperament has no actual correlation to coat color. There are WAY too many variables involved in personality to think that any substantial amount of them are genetically tied to the color genes. More likely it's a combination of confirmation bias and cultural associations with colors.

Last edited by Kaio; 11-20-2012 at 03:54 PM..
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  #33  
Old 11-20-2012, 04:01 PM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
...which is exactly what I said...
You said that they did a study on this and then commented on what the short version is. That infers you are giving a short version of what the results of the study are. The study did not show that " there's little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality."

Quote:
Though personally I think it's far more likely that temperament has no actual correlation to coat color. There are WAY too many variables involved in personality to think that any substantial amount of them are genetically tied to the color genes. More likely it's a combination of confirmation bias and cultural associations with colors.
It appears there is some evidence other than anecdotal that there is a correlation between coat color and behavior.

http://books.google.com/books?id=R3i...page&q&f=false
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  #34  
Old 11-20-2012, 04:08 PM
Kaio Kaio is offline
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Originally Posted by x-ray vision View Post
You said that they did a study on this and then commented on what the short version is. That infers you are giving a short version of what the results of the study are. The study did not show that " there's little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality."
Dude, I literally quoted the article word-for-word, there. I'm not sure what else you want.

I never said the study was about proving a correlation between color and personality. I said that there was "little evidence" of that, YET PEOPLE BELIEVED IT TO BE TRUE. Which is what the article says. Not sure why that's so hard.
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  #35  
Old 11-20-2012, 04:17 PM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
Dude, I literally quoted the article word-for-word, there. I'm not sure what else you want.
I don't want anything; I'm explaining to you why your post is misleading to say the least. You said you were giving the short version of a study. You didn't. What you did was give one statement that came from outside of that study.

Quote:
I never said the study was about proving a correlation between color and personality.
That's exactly what one would believe your message was. You said they did a study on this and said the short version is: "There's little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality..."
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  #36  
Old 11-20-2012, 04:31 PM
Kaio Kaio is offline
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Originally Posted by x-ray vision View Post
That's exactly what one would believe your message was. You said they did a study on this and said the short version is: "There's little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality..."
I don't know why you insist on chopping off the end of that sentence as if it wasn't relevant to the point I was making. Here's a hint: it was. I wouldn't have typed it otherwise.

I was not misleading if you read the entire sentence, with context.
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  #37  
Old 11-20-2012, 04:33 PM
thenonepercent thenonepercent is offline
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Her post is only misleading if you find reading comprehension difficult. HINT: She's talking about cognitive bias.

Last edited by thenonepercent; 11-20-2012 at 04:34 PM..
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  #38  
Old 11-20-2012, 04:38 PM
x-ray vision x-ray vision is offline
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Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
I was not misleading if you read the entire sentence, with context.
You wrote this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
Funny, they just did a study on this.

Short version, there's little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality, but people very strongly believe it's there. Apparently there's a huge bias against black cats, too. Which makes me sad because my boy (solid black) is the most affectionate cat you've ever seen.
It was misleading to say the least. A short version of that study should not include anything about there being little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality as that was never concluded in the study nor was it even mentioned in the study.
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  #39  
Old 11-20-2012, 05:03 PM
Kaio Kaio is offline
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Seriously? Your interpretation of what I said is... interesting, to say the least. If ya wanna parse it selectively, I can't stop ya. I've already pointed out which clause of the sentence contained my point.
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  #40  
Old 11-20-2012, 05:05 PM
thenonepercent thenonepercent is offline
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Originally Posted by x-ray vision View Post
You wrote this:
It was misleading to say the least. A short version of that study should not include anything about there being little evidence that there's an actual correlation between coloring and personality as that was never concluded in the study nor was it even mentioned in the study.
Translation: "I got nuthin', except for a level of insecurity that precludes admitting that I'm wrong in the internet"
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  #41  
Old 11-20-2012, 05:49 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
There are WAY too many variables involved in personality to think that any substantial amount of them are genetically tied to the color genes.
Pontier in the second article I linked to ( perhaps better read at this link ) notes in the conclusion : Such a genetic polymorphism for aggressive behaviour is known for other species of mammals (Keeler 1942; Lea 1943; van Oortmerssen & Bakker 1981; Pasitschniak-Arts & Bendell 1990; Benus et al. 1991). The association between behaviour and coat colour has also been shown in different mammal species (Keeler 1942; Lea 1943; Pasitschniak-Arts & Bendell 1990).

So it may not be so outre a possibility. Pontier notes in the introduction that increased aggression is "strongly suspected," so it is hardly a slam dunk - as you imply there are a number of things that may trigger agonistic encounters ( which I assume is what Pontier et al. are basing their observations on ) that could confound behavioral studies. But it does also line up neatly with the FIV infection rates she and her fellow researchers turned up. There certainly seems to be a hint of something going on with the biology of orange-coated cats that is different from that of other morphs.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 11-20-2012 at 05:50 PM..
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  #42  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:12 PM
Maserschmidt Maserschmidt is offline
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The big orange male we had was a mean, unfriendly bastard. My two sweetest cats were both calicoes; one mostly black, and one an equal mix of orange, black and white.

YMMV.
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  #43  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:34 PM
Zago Zago is offline
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My orange tabby was an absolute terror to anyone except for me - he was a long hair. His nasty disposition didn't prevent me from loving him best
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  #44  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:36 PM
twickster twickster is online now
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I had an orange tabby who lived to 19 and was an asshole till the day he died.
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  #45  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:45 PM
PandaBear77 PandaBear77 is offline
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I've had 2 male orange cats. Neither were particularly cuddly but they weren't completely anti-social.

They were both dumb as a box of hair, though.
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  #46  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:49 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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Making broad statements about the personality of a cat based on its fur colour? Isn't that racist? Or something.
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  #47  
Old 11-20-2012, 11:18 PM
Taomist Taomist is offline
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Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
Does your orange female cat have white or another, third color to her? In my experience most orange striped tabbys are all male.

And I have heard and noticed that male cats seem to be only one or two colors, and that almost all three colored cats are female.
Hrm...she does have a touch of white, under her chin and on a paw...I think, she's sleeping all curled up. I'd call her just orange and white, though perhaps the darker orange stripes could be the third color. The creamy guy is just two colours, no stripes. B ut to me they are just my Little Orange Cat and Creamsicle Dork. (Their nicknames, of course)


Murphy-girl

Dresden Regal-dorkboy
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  #48  
Old 11-21-2012, 01:31 AM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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There was a thread about this theory a few years back.

Somebody posted a video of an orange tabby male in (probably) a shelter - solo cage in a wall of cages.
They had named him "burger" - the cage door was open and the poor thing was in full defensive mode - it looked like it had no ears (yes, they can completely flatten them) - hunched on it's rear feet in strike mode, and you could see every tooth in its mouth.

Not what I'd call a loving cat.

Until I got my own (who promptly marked the entire yard), there was a dilute orange tabby male who would come by and let you pet and stroke all you wanted. When you stopped, it would actually attack - swat, and (in what proved last) time - tried to bite my knee - he got a swat across the face for that.
Does he count as a "nice kitty"?

I agree that trying to connect color with temperment (in cats or any other species) is a waste of time - way too many variables, and there are a whole bunch of orange tabbies out there.

Same as with Siamese - they are not neurotic, vicious creatures any more than they a sweet cuddle bugs - I've known one absolute bitch of a seal point female and several absolutely sweet purring machines.
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  #49  
Old 11-21-2012, 04:10 AM
Toxylon Toxylon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLS View Post
The best cat we ever had was a black & white "tuxedo" male cat. Lovable, cuddly, friendly to all.
Same here. My "tuxedoed" tom was the bestest cat I've ever seen: he'd drop a toy at my feet, look me in the eyes and meouw when he wanted to play, go for long, unleashed walks in the woods heeling me all the way, hop onto my shoulders and relax there for a purry nap, meet any dog or child with tail and neck held high etc.
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