Rebecca Vineyard
October 25, 2015 10:04 am

Go ahead, judge a cat by its color: it might just save you from scratch marks.

People have long believed that a cat’s personality is linked to the color of its fur. Some of this is just silly stigma: for example, black cats are less likely to be adopted than cats of any other color, due to the ridiculous association between black cats and witchcraft dating back to the Middle Ages. (Luckily, there are advocates for black cats out there fighting the good fight.)

However, we are getting closer to there being scientific proof that cats of a different color might actually be more inclined to be hostile; veterinary scientists at the University of California, Davis, have worked to find solid evidence to support this hypothesis.

According to Independent, the scientists- who published their findings in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science– used an online survey to engage with cat owners and test what they called a “common assumption” that female calicos are more aggressive towards people.

The survey asked the 1,274 cat owners who responded to report regarding how frequently their cat got aggressive during everyday interactions, as well as when being handled, and on trips to the vet. The cat owners also had to rate the degree of their cat’s hostility; with these answers, scientists were able to give each cat a rating on an aggression scale (we may or may not have had friends and family give us similar ratings when we were hangry).

When the scientists compared the results, they found something relatively surprising: there was evidence to back up the reputation of female calicos. They also found that black-and-white cats were especially aggressive when handled (and therefore have probably done some scratch/ bite damage to their human counterparts), while gray-and-white cats got particularly upset when visiting the vet.

However, female calicos (which are far more common than male calicos, since the genes for orange and black fur are both carried by X chromosomes and male cats only have one X chromosome) still “win” in the angry cat game: they’re the most likely to be aggressive in everyday interactions, meaning you never know when they’ll strike!

The study suggests that, if one wants to use these fur color findings to try to pick out an agreeable cat, black, grey, white, or tabby is the way to go. That said, our preferred method of picking out cats is to go to a rescue and ask volunteers which cat is the hands-down rescue favorite and take that little sweetheart home with us.

Related:

Science says watching cat videos is good for us, because science is great

Finally, a way to stop your cat from sitting on your laptop

(Image via Disney)

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