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.

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