Study Shows Black And White Cats Most Likely To Have Cattitude

I think pretty much every cat owner knows what cattitude is. Even those of us who have super sweet kitty cats. But there are the still the rare occasions when our cats can be downright sassy!

In an article talking about fun facts about tuxedo cats, I reported on the well-known moniker of tuxietude that tuxedo cats often display. Tuxedo cats are known by many in the cat world as the type that can be sweet but sassy. And ginger tabby cats? For example, they are known in the feline study world as being the most “gregarious” of all cats. That is, when assessing cat coat and temperament anyways. 

But then a study out of the UK was published by the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. It suggests that cat coat and temperament are inexplicably linked. And it comes as no surprise to see which fancy felines top the list!

Once the theory was hypothesized, research was conducted among 1,274 cat owners. Their goal was to assess the theory that a cat’s coat can and will directly affect a cat’s temperament.

Of those cat owners polled in the study, the owners were asked to respond to a questionnaire. Each questionnaire asked them to list the frequency and degree of their cat’s aggressive behavior. It was based off of their everyday interactions and how they respond to being handled. Of course they questioned their reaction when being taken to the vet. These responses were given by a rating on an “aggression scale”. And the owners used this to grade their cat’s regular behavior.

As a result, here are some of the surprising stats that they gathered:

1. At the top of the list for “most aggressive” cat would be black and white cats, specifically those with tuxedo cat patterns. Second and third to the tuxies are tortoiseshell with white cats, and gray and white cats. These tortoiseshell and white cats were labeled as having “anti-social behavior” in accordance with the study.

2. Cats which are solid black, gray, white or your average tabby cats were found to be calm and placid in disposition.

3. Black and white cats were less accepting of being handled by their humans, and preferred to be affectionate on their terms.

4. Gray and white cats were most likely to become aggressive when visiting the veterinarian’s office.

5. Tortoiseshell and white cats were the “moodiest” with their humans among all cats.

I’ve always personally believed that calico cats are sweet. But this study out of the UK suggests that female calico cats in the US are more likely to display aggressive behavior towards their owners.

So, what do you think about these results? Does your cat seem similar to the results that they described? I know for myself, my tuxedo cat has cattitude for days! Share with us in the comments section.

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40 Comments

  1. My experience has been totally different to this study!
    :
    Tuxies are usually sweet and placid,
    Tabbies are SUPER FRIENDLY, playful and interactive,
    Torties (my favourite) are really loving but on their own terms,
    Gingers are either aggressive or just like Tabbies,
    Black cats are most independent and too good for this world.

    • This has been roughly my experience as well. Especially the black cats one. Every black cat who has ever owned me has been super independent and even a bit standoffish. My tabbies have always been highly interactive, and the gingers similar. The black and white cats I’ve had were sweet and super calm. Torties are loving and on their own terms and highly demanding and catitudinal. Calicos are like torties but sweeter and clingier. (I’ve had and been close to a lot of cats in my 40 years, lol).

    • A friend suggests, and I think I agree, that torties may be spectrum cats who have their own reasons for needing things a certain way, if treated with understanding absolutely the most loving.

  2. Tortoise are spot on!!! So are the solid black cats, they are the sweetest and love to cuddle. My ginger boy is by far the most aggressive, and my “reverse” calico (gray, white, peach) is the most playful and loving one; she sleeps under the blanket just to touch me ♥️

  3. In my interactions with kitties, gingers have been by far the most aggressive and mean, but loving on their terms. The tuxedo cat I had growing up was incredibly intelligent and cuddly, however he may be the only true tuxie I’ve interacted with. I currently have a tortoise shell and she is something else. My tortie is the most social cat I’ve ever met, very chatty and needs human interaction, specifically with me. She is as sweet as she is wild, as has been my experience with other torties too.

  4. I agree with Sarah: My experience so far has been different. Our former office cat (now re-homed with the business owner), Sgt Cuffs, is solid black and must be gassed before the vet can handle him. He’ll will kill anyone holding a rectal thermometer. He’s a 9 pound love-child of a Cuisinart and a Tasmanian Devil!

    My bottle baby, classic tabby girl, T.C., must also be gassed, because she is almost as aggressive at the vet as Sgt Cuffs. But her older brother by blood, a striped tabby, Buddy Love, who lived his first 18 months of life on the streets, is nervous but cooperative. Talira, our barely torrtie haus panther, is like Buddy at the vet.

    Also, both Buddy and Talira calm down quickly after coming home from the vet. T.C. is very cranky for at least a day. One had best leave her alone until she decides otherwise. Claws, teeth, and then some!

    My feral ginger girl, Magic, who is now a happy house cat, is too feral yet to accept a carrier. The vet and I both agree that if I can ever catch her in a crate she will also need to be gassed – but that’s because she’s still rather wild despite 3.5 years of very dedicated work on my part. Other than that, her temperament with my mate and I reflect a typical social ginger, even though she’s still very scared of anyone visiting. All other two-legs are still predators as far as she’s concerned!

    Chapter 2…

    • To be honest with you, it is best to TNR true fetals for the sake of their quality of life. These are “stray cats” that somehow ended up out in the “wild” but are not feral & feral cat offspring when trapped young enough yet can be socialized. By bringing true fearless into your home and then subject them over & over to the Vet treatment they don’t need ( not including the sick & injured that are treated & released back into the wild), is not only emotionally traumatizing to them but is cruel. Then to label them with negative behaviors and try to make it sound funny is just plain mean. Please do not bring any more feral cats into homes. They don’t belong. Make them a safe haven outside. And leave them in peace once they have been TNR’d.

      • Respectfully, I disagree with your comments. Magic is the 2nd feral cat that I have brought into my life and inside a home and tamed. Many feral cats are tameable with patients and love. Just because that’s not your belief fails to negate my experience and level of care for all of my kitties. Don’t believe feral cats can adapt and have a better life indoors and receive vet care? Google Grandpa Mason and open your mind.

        P.S. Had Magic not adapted to the indoor life, she was lined up to be part of a barn-cat program. She choose otherwise.

  5. I’m puzzled by the use of the term “tortoiseshell & white”; is”calico” not a normal British usage? Anyway, we had a calico for many years, and she was very sweet and affectionate, never aggressive by any stretch. Sometimes she seemed a little eccentric or dimwitted, but never aggressive.

    We now have a little tortoiseshell, and she’s a bit flaky, but she had a bad upbringing. She does NOT like to picked up, and she’s very much a one-man cat, me. She will purr and rub against me and ask to petted and fondled and all, and she usually sleeps on a pillow right next to my own. But she doesn’t like other people — or cats — and will run and hide at the least provocation. What’s funny is that we have a couple of dogs, including one big Catahoula, who is just as sweet as tupelo honey, and she tries DESPERATELY to be friends with her. We’ll all sleep together in bed (one other dog & cat, too), and they’ve gone so far as touching noses (this is after 2 years with the dog!) but the dog makes one quick move and BOOM, kitty’s under the bed! By the way, she looks exactly like the tort in the picture above, with the split black/orange face.

    Our other cat now is a big floofy longhair who must be part Maine Coon. He is very sweet and loving — sometimes too much! He usually snuggles me on the OTHER side from the tort, and if I have to get up out of bed in the night (something that happens with some regularity these days), I practically have to push him on the floor to get him to move at ALL! I remember many years ago I was taking him to be fixed, and he was in a carrier on the passenger seat, it was a long drive up to the place, maybe 45 minutes or so, mostly highway. I kept sticking a couple of fingers through the bars to pet him, and he kept head bonking them (that’s another thing, when he headbonks, you wonder if you need a helmet!), and once, just ONCE, he looked up and let out an inquisitive little “Mew?” Very sweet disposition.

    Then another tort we had for many years was also incredibly sweet and gentle. She died a few years ago. One day, my wife noticed one of the kids, maybe two-ish at the time, carrying her around, child-style, arms wrapped around her midsection. She wasn’t complaining one bit. Then she noticed the cat was all wet! THEN she did a quick check and saw black and orange kitty fur all over the toilet rim! Circumstantial evidence led us to believe he’d given the cat a swirlie, and she NEVER complained one little bit! So I have to rank torts, in general, as among the sweetest and mellowest breeds.

    Oh and the Siamese, and the Russian Blue, and all the others . . . . I loved them all and miss them so . . .

  6. My parents have a tuxedo cat who enjoys being around humans and is very social. She is a lap cat but there are times that she will lash out and try to snip if she is on your lap but does not want to be touched. I’ve often been confused by that behavior since she clearly wants to close yet does not want to be touched. Overall female tuxedo cats, at least this one, is pretty mellow.

    • In my experience cats often get overstimulated when you pet them too much. Maybe only petting her head or face will help.

  7. I have a Calico cat she is 11 years old and she hisses alot if I try to brush her and her fangs have drew blood more times than I can remember over the years.

  8. my tuxedo cat is the most stubborn cat I have ever owned. He wants what he wants and will not back down. He can also be aggressive toward male humans for some reason. Even his vet visits are cause for major drama… yet with me, he can be the most lovable cat on earth when he is in the mood!

  9. I agree with the info on the female calico. My Gizmo was quite “bitchy”. As for Jake, my Tux, he is the sweetest kitty. He loves to be held. He will ask to be picked up. Wants to be were I am at all times. Maybe he is the exception?

  10. I have 3 cats. Orange tabby (male), grey tabby (female), & a calico (female). The orange one is older now & loves any attention i give but when he was younger was very selective about being handled & would give me lots of sass. My grey tabby don’t like to be picked up but she will litterally snatch my hand for pets all the time. She has a puppy personality. The calico loves to play & be cuddled & pet all the time she is the nicest cat to me. Never ill tempered or sassy. I deffinitely agree their coats make them act a certain way but some cats are just awesome and can’t be grouped.

  11. I am surprised that the Journal would publish that report. That’s not a scientific study, that’s a survey. Did they account for the effects of the pervasive cat coat color and marking stereotypes on the internet on owner’s responses? These results are like saying blondes are dumb. Millions of cat people can provide exceptions to all these results. More useful studies would educate people to better understand their cat’s physiology and behavior.

  12. I believe there were too many Variables involved within 1274 comparative case stugies . There were 1274 different , varying personalities , and , perceptions from the pet owners’ themselves , to be considered. Pre-assumtions as to what a cat’s behavior
    ‘Should’ be , is definitely a factor to be considered in such an unscientific case study.
    Different owners’ means by which they raise and treat their cats , are enough to invalidate what a phenotype of a pure/mixed breed , would be in reality . Needless to say , each of my own cats , 2 Tuxedo , ( Siblins ! ) , and 1 gray mixed breed , are quite Different from one another .

  13. My feral cat colony is named Outpost Tuxedo, and all the gang are b/w tuxedos. But their responses to affection, to the vet, etc are entirely individual, as are their temperaments. Much is made of a link between coat color and personality, but I’ve not seen it among the cats in my life.

  14. I have had a lot of cat kids and they all had different personalities .however, the only tuxedo I have known is a feral that stops by for meals. He is not an affectionate boy.

  15. This is mostly true. Although every single cat I’ve ever met has had their own personalities, there are still some general patterns. My black and white (not fully tuxedo) baby is extremely smart and she’s managed to train the whole family so now we all know what she wants, how she likes everything and we can mostly predict her behavior. She communicates very efficiently but she’s quite stubborn and definitely has a hefty dose of cattitude! She always gets what she wants. She’s somewhat territorial and can be a little mercurial towards our other kitties. Her best friend, a black beauty, is very sweet, calm and her quiet affection is simply endearing. She’s so peaceful, she’ll spend hours sitting or sleeping on her favorite rug. That is, until we take her to the vet. Last time she had a fit in the car so bad that I was genuinely worried about her. I had the cutest ginger tabby boy ever (RIP Peach, I’ll miss you forever), he was full of energy, and yes, a bit aggressive while in the heat of play. My tabbies are calm and often keep to themselves, napping away at a sunny spot, but they’re still very loyal, sweet, affectionate and playful.

  16. My cat Beyonce was always so cuddly and affectionate I am so surprised to read this study saying Tuxedo cats are the most aggressive cats….

  17. My black kitty is the sweetest thing ever. She’s very cuddly and extremely intelligent. At the vet’s she doesn’t even need to be held when blood is drawn. She’s just an all-around sweetheart.

    The only aggressive cat I ever had was pure white and a pure terror. Most of the cats I’ve had have been pretty darned nice. But nothing like the little lady I have now.

  18. My tuxie is super sweet! She loves my lap (or as close to my face as she can get), chats with me, hangs out even during my kids birthday parties, and tolerates my kids the best. My gray is her littermate and has attitude to spare!! She will bop anyone just for walking by.

  19. I want to say that cat temperament also depends on the owner’s temperament as well, since cats do tend to be independent but appreciative of being given some amenities. The relationship between animals and humans are an interesting social science. I had a black cat that started off super distrustful, but she eventually became the one that wanted to be involved with all domestic activities. And she’d cry when you were outside without her. My mom currently has an agouti tabby who loves being pampered, but she has to be the queen of the home and no other pets are aloud. When a cat loves like she does, she wants people to just be available to her when she wants. She begrudgingly shares a home with three guinea pigs, but she also likes seeing what they are up to.

  20. My experience to date (we have had many cat companions over the years, both permanent and fosters)
    Our Jack – who is all white! Cattitude!!! Precocious and a major socialite! He greats everyone and anyone who comes to the house as if he was the main reason for their visit!
    Odey – all black and youngest – Lover he insists on being around me whenever he can, though can be quite playful (chalking his aggressive play up to youth and mainly directed to his sister, all are sterilized!)
    Lilly (Odeys sister) Tabby: NOPE do not touch and very very independent… basically she lives here and I am only around to feed her. Though I do find her each morning curled up next to me, hoping as she gets older she will become more affectionate?
    Then lastly Tigger: Yes a tiger-striped youth. Who loves his toys, a good scratch but not a fan of other interactions… very affectionate to the other cats, grooms and loves them all and is so patient when the two younger ones get a bit too rambunctious, and basically mama’s them always! <3

  21. So true! We have 4 black and white cats, ranging from just a few white hairs, to one small white spot, to slight tuxedo markings, all the way to a full-blown tuxedo. The full tuxie is the most cattitudinous of all! The vet described her as “fractious!”

  22. I currently have three cats. Two female tabby cats who both DO NOT want to be picked up. I can pet them when they deem it necessary, thank you very much! My third is a tuxedo male. I can pick him up anytime! I can flip him over and kiss his belly fur all I want to. So I guess I have that rare tuxedo kitty that is mild mannered a big love bug! Yay!!!

  23. No correlation with my 45 plus years of being cat-owned. First grey and white was the most affectionate creature ever. Greeted me at the front door to be picked up, and licked my face. For almost 17 years! Tuxedo was a total snuggle bunny and a bit of a scared cat. Next grey and white Was a snuggle bunny too, although she did NOT like to be picked up. Present owner, a handsome Orange tabby is most challenging. Lap cat on his own terms. Pet him at my own risk. But he loves to sit on my lap, sleep next to me. Purring all the time. But will bite and swat, draw blood if his personal space is breached. Go figure.

  24. We’ve had two calico females and they’ve both been little stinkers. I love their sass and exuberance for life. They’ve both been very affectionate on their terms.

  25. My back and white is so laid back, but very vocal, and super friendly. He loves everyone that comes into our house and wants them to pet him. He insists on sitting on my lap all of the time.
    My black cat is very lovey…on his own terms, but is pretty much a scaredy-cat when other non dwellers are around.
    The gray and white tabby is sweet, but is also an “on her own terms” kind of cat. However all of the other gray and white tabbies that I have had were super lovey and social and pretty much perfect.
    Lastly, my little orangey buff cat is so very sweet, but a spitfire. He’s only 4 months old though, so we’ll see….

  26. My tortie is a complete love bug who always wants attention and cuddles. From EVERYONE. She isn’t that aggressive unless you tease her, then she might attack your hands but she’s never bitten hard enough to draw blood or anything.

    My gray and black tabby is also very affectionate to me, but she’s completely aloof to everyone else. She never comes visit when I have guests. She might come out and poke around a bit just to see what’s going on, but then she goes right back to whichever room she was hiding out in until everyone leaves. She has on occasion come out to greet some of my friends or family who visit often and she’s more used to, but they’re the only exception.

  27. I acquired a gorgeous white Turkish Angora kitten free, through an ad on a community site. I have been unable to find out anything about her background as the former owners seemed unwilling to communicate. I do know that there were children in the home but that’s about all I know except that they were in a hurry to get rid of her. She’s the smartest most interesting cat I’ve ever had and very affectionate at times, but I can’t trust that she won’t bite me if I approach her from the front, pet her too long, or try to pick her up when she’s not in the mood. She has even hissed at me. I’m thinking that maybe she’s high strung, nervous and fearful of sudden moves because of mistreatment by the former owner’s children, or maybe it’s just her breed. She’s the only aggressive cat I’ve ever had, so at first, I took it took it “personally” and wanted to smack her one. I have learned that part of her problem is pent up energy. We have to play with her a lot and keep her entertained. I got a pet stroller and she hops right in to let me know when she wants to go outside. We had indoor shelves built for her and an outdoor enclosure for her entertainment but she just turned one year old and still bites hard enough to draw blood, so I’m hoping someone has some experience with this type of cat and can give me some advice.

  28. I have found that black and white or grey and white cats are very gentle and loving. Also intelligent.

    Torrie/calico have the most catitude. Mine was a one person cat Ashe only tolerated me because I fed her.

    I have a stray that is a seal point an she is very affectionate, but also has a lot of catitude.

    All black cats seem to be loving to their person, but standoffish to others. While cats I’ve found to be very loving.

    However, I feel that cats, like people, each have their own personality, which is one of the things I like about them.

  29. NOW THATS CATTITUDE. To Bad I can’t show you my 8Ball he’s black and white cat. Very handsome Tuxedo kitty w black gotee.

  30. Most household cats are domestic shorthairs. These cats come in a wide range of colors and patterns but share a common ancestry. In other words, a single litter can easily include a black, orange, and calico kitten. These siblings are likely to have a good deal in common, fur color notwithstanding.

  31. I’d say that CALICOS often get a bad rap for being moody. My calicos (and I’ve had many–most have been long-haired dilutes) were always the sweetest, most loving and most loyal cats that just wanted to be with me wherever I was. They all loved being held, hugged and kissed and fussed over. The few (only 2) who didn’t care to be held still loved being petted, snuggled and kissed.

    The TABBIES I’ve had were probably the most docile and kind of the biggest babies (in a good way) of all of them. (One was a black & white tabby, if that makes a difference since the article talked about black & white cats.) They’d see me coming and they’d quickly flop to the ground & roll over for some belly rubs!

    Gray and white ones, orange & buff tabbies were all very super sweet, too.

    Frankly, I just think a lot of how the cat acts is due to how it’s treated by the people around it. If the people are all super kind to it (like our family and friends) then you’re going to end up with very sweet, loving, loyal and friendly cats. You may still have some shy cats who may go into another room when people they’re not familiar with come over (just like there are shy people), but that’s about it. Just treat them well, love them and show them affection and they’ll be loyal to you forever. My gosh! I just LOVE and ADORE cats!

  32. This article quotes a UK study about female calico cats being more aggressive than males. However the calico breed is 99% female? Interesting…

  33. I currently have 4 cats, lived with 6 cats before, and grew up with 3 cats…all different cats. This study is SPOT ON!!!

Written by Modi Ramos

Crazy cat lady since birth and lover of all things feline. Owner of CattitudeDaily and former Editor of iHeartCats. Meow!

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