Cat Coat Colours – what do they mean?
As I sit here about to write my latest blog, I can’t help but feel like this is such a broad topic. I’ve been sitting for a few days doing some research, both reading and watching videos on what our friendly kitties colours mean and where they derive from.
It is rather scientific that I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty here. But rather speak about my own experiences with my 5 cats over the past ten years of being a cat mommy. First of all, let me start by saying, your cats colouring does not determine the breed. Their breed is based on their physical attributes, for example, a Maine Coon is a larger cat with a Main, put simply. But I won’t go into too much detail here either. If you have read my introduction to Kattak, you will see that I have had the privilege of sharing my life with 5 very different cats. All of which have been the same breed, Domestic Short Hair or DSH. I have had a Tortoise Shell (Sasha), a Grey Tabby (Dizi), Red / Ginger / Orange (Travis), Blue Grey Solid (Sancho) and most recently, a Tuxedo (Scotch).
During my research on cat colours, one thing stood out for me. Each colour displays certain characteristics that every cat of that colour specific will portray. So I sat and thought about my 3 current kitties, as well as my 2 rainbow bridge kitties. When I read through the typical characteristics of each colour, I realised that this is most definitely the most interesting fact about what their colours actually mean, when it comes to their personalities, temperament etc. For example, I read an article where they did a study in the USA, asking cat owners about their cat’s personality and temperament, what colour they are, whether they are solid colours or “patchy”. Based on the data, they found that each cat with the same or similar colours had very similar personality traits and/or temperaments. Ginger cats, or as some call them, Red / Orange, are known to have very gentle, caring and loving traits. Yes, this is true for my Travis. Furthermore, Solid colours (plain black, brown or Blue/Grey) have feistier, playful traits. This too, is true for my Sancho! So then I stopped, and thought about it. I have had one of each most common colour cat in the last ten years. So what have they shown me over the years? Let’s start here!
The Ginger Cat
Before I adopted Travis, I was always drawn to ginger cats. When I saw the photo of him on the website of the shelter I adopted him from, I fell in love with him immediately! He had the biggest brown eyes, with a white chest. He was just too beautiful! Living with Travis, one thing is for sure, he loves us time! He will come and lie with me for hours, and never stops purring throughout. He loves his hugs, in this I mean, he will stand up against me when I’m standing, I pick him up and he has the biggest stretch then wraps his paws around me. They say, ginger cats are highly affectionate and they love to be around their human. This I can say, unequivocally that Travis is a typical ginger cat!
He is not solid ginger, as mentioned above he has a white chest, and four white paws. Every cat has a main colour or undercoat. Sometimes this undercoat comes out in patches, like in Travis, and other times it is totally hidden, like in the case of Sancho. But let us not get too technical! Bottom line, the ginger cat, patchy or not, is one of the most affectionate kitties, he will give you all the love and more that he can give, given you give it back!
The Tortoise Shell Cat
When a ginger cat mates with a female, there will almost always have one tortoise shell female in the litter. Yes, Tortoise Shell cats are the female equivalent of the male ginger cats. Ginger cats are almost always male, and Tortoise Shells are almost always female. So my first, and only, little girl Sasha, was a Tortoise Shell. But she was also known as Calico, which means she has more than two shades of colour. Her main colour coat was black, with patches of white and orange. Just gorgeous! Her temperament was very, well, diva-ish. She was a real little diva. It was her way, or no way. She wanted love, but on her own terms. She loved to do her own thing, she loved to be around us and Dizi, but if we tried to pick her up or Dizi tried to lie next to her, she would not allow it! She just meowed and would run off. Tortoise Shell cats are known to be loveable loners. This was Sasha!
The Tabby Cat
The Tabby Cat can be in different colours, Travis is an Orange Tabby as he has the stripes running across his body, and the M on his forehead. But, the typical Tabby cat is the real hunter type cat. He is the one to watch! They are probably the closest you will get to a wild “domestic” cat. If I look back at Dizi he was very much an independent cat. He loved to be cuddled, and he was extremely confident. This is a great characteristic of the general Tabby Cat. His main coat was black – undercoat, but he had grey and black stripes all across his body, and of course, the M on his forehead. I remember with Dizi in particular, he would always bring us “gifts” in the form of birds, bats, frogs, you name it! He had to show off his skill. He was a true hunter, and he knew it.
The Solid Colour Cat
Sancho is an all grey / blue cat, or so I thought! He has a small patch of white on his belly. It is so small that I don’t really consider it a patch. It is more like a splatter. Looking at the temperament of a Solid Colour Cat, this is typically my Sancho. They are playful, love to be around you and their peers, I suppose like every cat, but he demands attention. Sancho in particular is quite a vocal cat. He knows how to get attention, he has learned, and studied what works with us and what doesn’t. He is a very intelligent cat. I can believe that all Solid Colour cats have this temperament because they just know that they have to stand out more in comparison to their housemates, who automatically get attention from their bright colours and the shapes on their coat. Sancho really is once special Solid Coloured cat. He has moments where he will stand in their “playroom” calling his brothers to come and play with him. He is so convincing that they all run to see what he is on about, and after a few seconds we have 12 little paws dashing through our living room chasing and pouncing each other, all thanks to Sancho!
Even though I have only had Scotch for a little over three weeks, I can tell you that he is definitely quite a catch! Tuxedo cats are known to be very affectionate, playful, loveable, and always dressed to the nines. He looks like he is ready to go out on the town, and he acts this way too. He loves to walk around the house, head held high, even though he is still so little. He loves to play with Sancho, and they are a great match. But at the same time, he loves to curl up right next to Travis when the time has come to have a little cat nap! He has the best of both worlds, or should I say, we do! He knows how to have fun, and he knows how to show love. With head butts starting 2 weeks ago, and play time as often as possible. Yes, he is still a kitten, so playtime is a must, but he is definitely cheekier at playtime than I remember any of my kittens were. I cannot wait to see his temperament mature, and grow as he does. Watch this space, I see him teaching me so much!
As I said at the beginning of this article, I am basing all of this from my experience, and the little bit of research I’ve done over the ten years of having my cats. But it is such a privilege for us humans to have a world with these colourful, unique creatures we call cats. I would just love to hear your opinions about your colourful kitties, and what you think is the most common temperament when it comes to cats with the same coats of colour. These colours all derive from genes from the mommy cat and daddy cat, but for me personally, every colour has a story, every cat has a personality, and every home with a cat is lucky to live alongside these little fur balls! Soak it up, share your story with me, because at the end of the day, we all still have so much to learn from our little kitty friends!
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