Don't Be So Fast to Judge a Cat by Its Color, New Study Warns

Just like humans, domestic cats are often judged by their color, and the media and folklore help perpetuate these stereotypes.

... feline typecasting can have a negative impact on adoption rates at animal shelters...

"To date there is little evidence that these perceived differences between differently colored cats actually exist, but there are serious repercussions for cats if people believe that some cat colors are friendlier than others," said Mikel Delgado, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley.

While most people surveyed said personality informs their decision about which cat to adopt, the characteristics they ascribed to cats based on their coat color indicated that color consciously or unconsciously played a key role in their final choice of which kitty to take home.

... reactions to black cats can be so strong, she said, that few adoptions take place at the shelter when there are more than a few black cats in the adoption room.

Tags: cat color, cat personality, stereotyping cats

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Replies to This Discussion

I love black cats!! They are my favorite!

Thanks for the link Grinning cat.

I read that whole article you linked - so interesting and fun to read.

I have to go and get some black cats now.

A short time after I lost my beloved Siamese, I decided to get a new kitten, and went to the shelter. Well, the only kitten they had (it was just after Halloween a year ago) was this little black thing, so I adopted him. I’m pretty sure he was feral, because he was found wandering along a street, and too young (maybe 4 or 5 weeks) to be separated from his mother. So I took him, and he’s still a work in progress — at first, I couldn’t even touch him without his biting and scratching, and now I can pet him freely, and we are working on being held. I have exactly NO regrets about adopting this little hobo — and he has a forever home. I wish all feral kittens, of any color, could be neutered and adopted — they’re harder to work with than kittens from pet or pedigreed mothers, who have been handled from birth, but very worth it! :-)

Good to hear how you worked at the problem! They are always worth it - the love and care that you put in come back to you. I had one of those feral kittens; the nest was abandoned by her mother and Poeka was found among dying siblings, only three weeks old. We had to teach her almost everything; eating, washing, house rules, getting picked up without panicking, playing. Luckily our MauMau helped training Poeka too, but even so, there was a lot she refused to the end of her days, like cleaning ears, and swallowing medicine. One thing was special about her: she seemed to keep the idea that she was still a kitten - and always confused the other cats with her kitten play. She would punch everyone left and right with her back up and tail bristling - not really the way to make friends when you're grown up. But she stayed with us for 18 years, and I still miss her.

Great article.

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