Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Are Calico Cats Always Sassy?

Calico and tortie cats have a reputation for liking things their way.

Calico and tortoiseshell (tortie for short) are color patterns that are common in many pure and mixed cat breeds. Calico cats are white with orange/brown and black patches or spots. Torties are black, brown, and orange. Both coat colors are much more common in females than males.

Kitties with these patterns to their coats have a reputation for being anywhere from sassy to downright testy. But is this true or just a character assassination attempt, possibly started by cats with other color patterns?

There Was an Actual Study on Calicos and Their Catitudes

A veterinary behavior specialist at UC Davis, Dr. Elizabeth Stelow, surveyed 1200 cat-owners and determined that cats with calico or tortoiseshell coats are more likely to show aggressive behaviors toward their owners than cats with other coat colors. These aggressive behaviors included swatting, hissing, and biting.

The researchers suspect that the genetics responsible for calico and tortie coat colors may also partially control these aggressive tendencies.

Should You Avoid Calicos and Torties?

Calico and tortie cats make lovely companions, just like those of other coat colors. If you are sensitive to your cat's preferences, not forcing cuddles or attention when she shows you body language suggesting she doesn't want them, you are not likely to have any problems.

This research, however, validates what cat-owners and veterinarians have long been saying: calicos and torties like to have things their own way.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Abyssinian Cats: An Interview with Fancy Cat

Cat Breed Comparison Chart

Persian Cats: An Interview with Fancy Cat

Top 10 Most Popular Cat Breeds - Slideshow

Siamese Cats: An Interview with Fancy Cat

Black Cats

Exotic Shorthair Cats: An Interview with Fancy Cat

Ragdoll Cats: An Interview with Fancy Cat

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with

Notice: Ask-a-Vet is an affiliated service for those who wish to speak with a veterinary professional about their pet's specific condition. Initially, a bot will ask questions to determine the general nature of your concern. Then, you will be transferred to a human. There is a charge for the service if you choose to connect to a veterinarian. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian.