Recently, there has been an online discussion about orange cats being less intelligent than other cats. While some believe so, science claims that this observation is yet another stereotyped set of stereotypes regarding cats’ coat color.
Zara Hedge, MD, medical director of the San Diego Humane Society, said in a statement to the publication cnet That “although there may be some genetic components associated with coat color that also influence personality, there is little scientific evidence to prove this in domestic cats,” and cats’ coat color can vary within the same breed. In the case of silver foxes, for example, studies show clear evidence allowing coat color to be linked to animal behaviour.
Although there is no scientific evidence, some believe and make decisions about which cat to take based on these observations. Hedge warns that “this can make people have unrealistic expectations about how a cat will behave in the house” and may be harmful.
Another stereotype associated with the orange cat is that although it is less intelligent, it is more friendly and social than the rest. This may be due to the frequent use of orange cats on television as Morris the Cat, the advertising mascot of the cat food brand 9Lives, or Garfield, the well-known cartoon character. The doctor believed that in this case the breeders had similar pets, but they, too, may have been influenced by the same stereotype.
Three-colored cats are also the targets of stereotypes and are considered to be more daring and energetic. Zara Hedge tells Publishing that “there is a long-standing belief that tricolor cats have what’s called a ‘sweating’ or tortoiseshell attitude ‘because tortoise shells are known to be spicier and more rude.”
The medical director concludes, highlighting a 2016 UCLA study, that no differences in cat attitude were found between coat colors and that “each cat has its own unique personality.” This is another stereotype created by humans who also claim that a bicolor cat is more playful or that a black cat is not so lucky.
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