The Relationship Between Coat Color and Aggressive Behaviors in the Domestic Cat

J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2016;19(1):1-15. doi: 10.1080/10888705.2015.1081820. Epub 2015 Oct 14.


The authors explored a possible relationship between coat color and aggressive behaviors in the domestic cat. This study used an Internet-based survey to collect information on coat color, affiliative behaviors toward cats/humans, agonistic behaviors toward cats/humans, other "problem" behaviors, and cat and guardian demographic data. A total of 1,432 cat guardians completed the online survey; after exclusions based on study protocol, data analysis included 1,274 completed surveys. Guardians reported sex-linked orange female (tortoiseshells, calicos, and "torbies"), black-and-white, and gray-and-white cats to be more frequently aggressive toward humans in 3 settings: during everyday interactions, during handling, and during veterinary visits. Kruskal-Wallis 1-way analysis of variance was used to compare possible differences between the 2 sexes and among different coat colors. Analyses of aggression due to handling, as well as aggression displayed during veterinarian visits, showed little difference among coat colors in these settings.

Keywords: Feline aggression; coat color.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression* / psychology
  • Animals
  • Cats / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hair Color*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires