Cat Breed Traits

toyger 5


What’s the typical breed personality of a Toyger?

Many folks think ALL CATS ARE ALIKE…*hisssssss* and of course we know better. There may not be as many cat breeds, but they are just as unique and interesting as the dogs. And not everyone is aware that there are a few breed tendencies when it comes to kitty personality and temperament.

I’d love to get your input–and please SHARE SHARE SHARE this over the blog-osphere and Facebook and Twitterverse to get pet people’s input.

In the comments section, I’d love for you to state your cat’s breed — if s/he’s a mix, and you know the combo, include that. Or for fun (let’s get REALLY creative) include the color and/or coat pattern and maybe we’ll get some trends of personality linked to coat color/type. And then please describe your cat’s personality. Finally, say whether this an expected personality for the breed.

So for Seren, I’d say she’s a mix (Domestic Shorthair), and a “seal point” wannabe Siamese pattern. She’s confident, dislikes strangers, incredibly devoted/bonded to my husband and me, and talks constantly both with meows and tail-semaphore. The talky bit and pushing cat behavior are a trait of Siamese.

Oh, and she currently has singed whiskers because she got too close to candles a couple nights ago when a storm blew out our electricity. Guess that means she’s “hot stuff,” right?

Your turn! Oh, and if I end up using your quote I’ll include your pet’s name (and yours if you like) in the updated book (if I can ever get the sucker finished)!

Oh, and on another note…maybe you noticed I’ve updated the blog? What do you think? πŸ™‚ The old theme didn’t play nice with a new plugin (check out the BOOK TABLE page). Hope to get all my books added soon–AND include some “recommended” books from colleagues. Feel free to list in the comments some of your favs you think that I should include.

Final note–check out details about the Ebooks For Writers Webinar (tomorrow) plus a free online class here.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, β€œlike” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to myΒ  THRILLERS WITH BITE!


Comments

Cat Breed Traits — 32 Comments

  1. I have six cats (all mixed breeds) and I do notice a great bit of difference in their personalities. My two orange tiger cats are friendly and sociable. My two gray/white cats are shy and reclusive. My flame point (white with orange tips) is very affectionate and lovable. My black male is the most extreme – everything is either wonderful or it’s awful and he’s growling, hissing and swatting. I’d be curious to know if other people see a behavioral pattern based on color or am I just imagining it?

    • Thanks so much Vicki, this is very helpful. I’m hoping to learn some trends, too…even if purely anecdotal. Drs. Hart & Hart have published an interesting book covering cat breed traits based on surveys, and some of my colleagues have gathered info on coat color/pattern. So this will be fun, even if not scientific!

  2. Ok help! Cody is a Domestic shorthair, silver gray tabby…I think he is mixed with something else because is tail is NOT as full as a normal tabby and it is much shorter.
    He is the TOTAL OPPOSITE of my first Tabby who was brown with the 4 white “socks” and white bib “napkin” around his neck
    Cody is small in bone structure (my first tabby was large)
    Cody has a pot belly that “swings” when he walks like a male Lion
    Cody is a “people cat”…he will greet ANYONE and EVERYONE at the door. I think that is due to the fact that he went to adoption events as a kitten and became used to being handled, and because he was adopted by me at such a young age (around 10 weeks old)
    Cody is extremely tactile. He uses his paws like hands. He LOVES to “hold hands” with me when we watch TV and he LOVES having his paw pads touched, my first Tabby didn’t.
    Cody LOVES showing his “belleh” and LOVES having it rubbed…my first Tabby? NO WAY!
    He NEVER tries to go outside, wants nothing to do with the outdoors
    He is a definite Tree Dweller whereas my first tabby was a bush dweller
    It is our Sheltie who is more cat-like….Dakota hides BEHIND Cody when strangers visit lol

    • Hey Caren–you bring up very good points about early age socialization. What kitties experience early in life really impacts how they react to similar circumstances as adults. The “people cats” like Cody that are more out-going also seem less prone to stress-related illnesses. I call ’em “Christopher Columbus” cats that like adventure, LOL!
      Did you know that “tabby” is a coat pattern…it can be striped or spotted or “bullseye” and come in a variety of colors. I don’t know that there’s a typical “tabby tail” but the long-bodied cats seem to have longer lithe tails while the “cobby” types have shorter tails.
      This is so much fun–thanks for sharing!

        • Hey Caren, no problem–it’s a conformation term used by cat show folks. There are two distinct body “types” that most cats fall into–Oriental Type is the long, lithe, “tubular” sort of conformation of the Siamese (think the show cat, not the apple-head-traditional version). These cats evolved in warmer climates, tend to have shorter fur, long whip-like tails and a bit more active behavior.

          The “cobby” conformation is the cold-weather-body-type, more square, shorter body, round face, longer fur, shorter tail. The prime example is the Persian.

  3. I like the new blog layout, it’s nice. πŸ™‚

    As for the kitties, Simba is just a plain old mixed breed barn cat. Short hair, sort of a mottled gray-and-brown tabby. She’s generally friendly, was the first of her litter to start purring, and she purrs LOUD and at almost anything. She has grown shy in later years, but we think that’s mostly due to the blindness. She’s not a lap cat ever since she moved inside – apparently pillows are superior to laps. Generally a lazy butt now.

    Anubis is, we think, Maine Coon mixed with… well… something a wee bit less domestic somewhere a few generations back. With people he trusts he’s an absolute marshmallow. Chatty, intelligent, wide range of vocalizations, only some of which are actual meows. He meows, chirps, chatters, and occasionally tries to imitate human sounds. He’s not big on strangers, though some people he warms up to quicker than others. If he doesn’t like you he’ll follow you around the house at a slight distance, glaring (he has done this to my dad ever since he heard me call him “dad” – was fine with him before that, but there is only one Daddy and that is Daddy and anyone else trying to call themselves that must be an evil impostor). He loves treats, he loves to play – he will get rather demanding at times if he wants either one. If he wants to play and you ignore him, watch your ankles. If he wants treats, better get some earplugs. And he will ocasionally use fecal marking as a show of displeasure – he gets specific with it too. Down to picking which spot to poop based on which of us he’s mad at. I have NEVER seen another cat do that, but he’s an absolute GENIUS as far as cats go. I’ve caught him trying to open the treat drawer (thankfully the pull it made such that he can’t twist his paws to pull on it properly, so long as we shut it all the way). If he had enough strength, there is no doubt in my mind we’d have to put a lock on the fridge. He knows how to use a standard thumbturn lock and has locked people out of the house (J for a while learned to never go outside without his keys, because if the cat was in a mood, he’d lock the door then sit on the other side of the glass looking very pleased with himself). He understands an insane number of human words and his vocabulary never stops growing. His most recent favorite is “zucchini” after he filched a piece one night. I am told he used to have a habit of stealing money. Usually pennies, but apparently he once stole J’s father’s wallet. Have to wonder if he somehow figured out that there was some connection between those shiny things and the acquisition of treats. πŸ˜‰ Some days I swear it’s more like living with a small child than with a cat. He’s a challenge a lot of the time – the smart ones are always a constant battle, I think. Especially when they decide they want to run the house. Usually it’s pretty peaceful, but eeevery so often (usually when there’s a significant change in routine) he tries to test to see if maybe, just maybe, he can be in charge.

    I promise the fact that Anubis’s section is longer does not mean I love him any more than Simba. Simba is just… more easily summed up in fewer words. LOL

    • Karyl, this is priceless! (Missed hearing from you…just be busy like me!). Isn’t it fun how DIFFERENT they are? And I absolutely agree, the smarter the cat the more challenging (and fun) they can be. That gives me an idea for a future blog, too~~~how many/what words does your cat/dog understand? πŸ™‚

      • Busy, stressed… yeah. Haven’t been keeping up with the blogs as well as I’d like.

        And if you do that post, I’d better start working on the list. πŸ˜‰

          • Oh man… I’ve started listing words and phrases he has assigned some kind of meaning to (whether it’s the right one depends on the word or phrase) – we’re up to 137 that he has distinguishable reactions to, and counting. If I hadn’t been living with him for the past few years I’d never believe it…

            It’s amazing how many little specifics he knows. Of course, some of them, like “work” and “store” have a totally different meaning to him than to us (for him it’s a time indicator – how long we’re going to be gone – he pouts a LOT more if we say we’re going to work)

  4. Phoebe’s a Turkish Van (red tabby & white). She’s incredibly energetic, especially for her age, intelligent, playful and demanding. She’s also a talker, at least until she has my undivided attention, at which point her demanding yowls will turn into subtle ‘chirps’, and she warms up to strangers eventually – I rarely have anyone at the house, so she’s very unused to anyone who isn’t me. She’s either not at all fond of other animals, or really likes to play roughly with them. I never could quite figure out if she couldn’t stand Llew or Nick or just had a different definition of “play” than they did. She never drew blood, but she swatted a lot. She was always very definitely the dominant cat in the household. Now that she’s the only cat, I don’t think she’s happy with that status (or maybe it’s that I really want to bring in another, but I’m looking for just the right one). From everything I’ve read, she pretty much lives up to the temperament typical of her breed.

    Llew was a big hunk of Domestic Long Hair, probably with a considerable amount of Maine Coon. He was the prototypical sweet red boy – red tabby with a white chin, vest, belly, and socks. Loyal and loving, he always wanted my lap or whatever part of me he could find to sit on, and he’d stay there until Phoebe chased him away. He talked with a high-pitched “squee” that was incongruous from such a big boy (16+ pounds when he was healthy). He always deferred to Phoebe (but she’d usually swat at him anyway) but got along fine with my feral boys Myles & Nick. He was my feline alarm clock, sitting on my head or patting my face at 3 am to let me know he was going to need his meds in a couple hours.

    Llew lived for nearly 3 years after his diagnosis of lymphoma of the small intestine. He took his medications with remarkably little fuss and only put up a small, token, fight about being put in his carrier for his vet trips. He got along great with people and all his vets loved him. He’d have spent all his time attached to me if Phoebe would have allowed it.

    I’ll skip Myles & Nick because I think their feral upbringing trumped any inborn personality traits. So that brings me to Annabel Lee, a/k/a Nana. She was a dilute torbie Domestic Short Hair that I always suspected had some Siamese because she was the talkiest cat I’ve ever known. One of her nicknames was “Yowling Beast”. She was a lap cat and a diva who could take or leave visitors, but she’d unerringly go for the one person in the room who was allergic! She hated travel – and I moved that poor baby from Wisconsin to Illinois to Maryland over the course of her 17 years! Except for her talking, I’d say she was a pretty middle-of-the-road cat – she was playful, but not energetic the way Phoebe is, for example. She was also devoted to me. That seems to be a common trait with my cats; they bond to me even if they have no use for anyone else.

    I’ve kind of babbled – I hope some of this is helpful!

  5. Here goes:

    Truffle and Brulee are Silver Shaded Persians.

    Truffle has a silver shaded mother and father. Truffle struts around the house like she is the Queen. She tends to get into mischief and is independent. Truffle tends to talk to me all the time. She loves to be held and will even let me hold her like a baby. She is shy in meeting new people.

    Brulee has a silver shaded father, but a golden shaded mother. Brulee has the flatter face and the “standard” features of a shaded Persian with the red nose. She loves to be pampered and sleeps on a handmade pink and white blanket. Brulee has the little diva attitude of Persians. She only wants to be held on her terms. It’s a struggle to groom her, but she is tolerating it. Brulee also has that little frowny face, but has a quirky personality that makes me laugh.

  6. I have a Manx with a point pattern that makes us think she has Siamese or Himalayan in her background. She is clingy and talkative and very affectionate. She is the most social of our four cats. She has classic Manx traits like friendliness and round head, round eyes, rabbit stance, but she gets her chattiness from her Siamese (or whatever) ancestors.

    Our Tortie has tortitude. One minute she is laying in your lap and cuddling, and the next, she is biting your hand because you didn’t pet her in the right spot. She rules the house, chases the dog, defends the other cats, and knows that she is boss.

    Our Birman (?) is loving, sweet and docile. She is a foster fail, so I don’t know what happened in her early years, but she is terrified of the dog, and it took her 2 months (sans dog) to warm up to her new humans. She is usually a cuddly, drooly, lump of fur when we pet her. She has a Birman voice and “huffs” when she’s mad. She also waits semi-patiently for attention with her paw raised.

    Our orange and white tabby is so much like Garfield it’s scary. πŸ™‚ He had a food obsession when I got him as a kitten, but he has mostly grown out of that. He will still do almost anything for a treat though. He’s fat and lazy, and he’s very social around HIS people. He hates strangers and used to be scared of storms. He’s very mellow and likes catnip — A LOT!

    P.S. The new layout looks great so far!

    • Hi Mary, I love your descriptions! I can just see them all, personality and looks–all so different and each so special. Thanks for adding to the conversation! (thanks for the kind words about the blog design, too πŸ™‚ )

  7. We had six at one point. I’ll start in the order they adopted us:

    Jenny was a Calico Shorthair. She was part of a litter of nine kittens (all of which survived). She was removed from her momma two weeks to early, but that didn’t seem to bother her any. She is very independent and strong willed. She has a “potty mouth” in that when she gets mad she “swears”. She loves to shred newspaper, paper towels and tissues.

    Shadow is a black Siamese mix. He has a white patch on his chest and on one toe. He is a talker and the strangest noises would come out of his mouth. He is very affectionate and loved to curl up in a small ball in my lap. He had a chewing habit and would go after anything that I wore. I lost tract of all the things that ended up with holes in them.

    Mac is a ginger Shorthair with a bad a** attitude. When he was introduced to Jenny and Shadow he went after them, hissing and spitting, even though he was so small. He was stubborn and strong willed, but loved to suckle on ear lobes and clothes.

    Belle is a grey striped Tabby Shorthair. I think she was abused because she was scared of everything. It took her six months before she learned that she would not be abused by us. Once that happen she found a voice and would talk to anyone who listened. She loved to trill at us when she came in a room. I seemed to me that she announcing that she was here.

    Lexie is a Torte Shorthair who had an orange diamond on her forehead. She was aloof and gave affection rarely. I think she was very intelligent and I would have loved to have trained her to do special things.

    M.J. was a white and black Shorthair. He was the most mellow cat I have ever seen. If anyone picked him he would go limp. We had him trained to go to a back bedroom when it was feeding time. All we would have to do is tell him to go to his room and he would go trotting back and wait for me to feed him.

    Those were our fur babies. They all had their own personalities and we loved them all dearly.

    • What a lovely group of kittehs, Sue! Seren also “swears” when she gets irked, especially at “that #$%^! dawg.” The trill-greeting is sweet, from Belle, and M.J. going limp sounds similar to Ragdoll cats behavior. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  8. I’ve got one cat who practically haunts my room. If I’m not there and the door is open, chances are, I’ll come home to finding her asleep on my clothes or in my bed. She’s a plain tabby with the swirled coat design (leading to a pseudo target on her sides), with browns of all shades and black on her tail. Her name’s Daisy, and it suits her well, as she’s timid almost anywhere and almost all the time.
    I call her my cat because she decided one day that my room was hers and that I was her human. If she wants attention, she will drape herself across my lap, keyboard, or tablet, depending on what I’m using.

    Daisy is quite the vocal cat, and combined with her affection and narrow face/dainty paws/slim frame, I think she may have some Siamese blood somewhere, but I don’t know for sure. She’s also learned to ‘call’ when she wants to be petted or cuddled. Daisy’s mew cracks or doesn’t sound when we startle her and she recognizes me.

    Basically, she’s at the point of recognizing if I’m walking around somewhere, it’s generally safe. Anywhere I leave my laptop, she usually joins it.
    Daisy is an intelligent cat, despite that she acts dumb at times (usually when she’s sulking about lack of attention in the attic).
    If she wants to sulk but not leave my room, she’ll perch on either the edge of the bed, or hide beneath it. It doesn’t last long, and Daisy is usually in my lap again within a few moments.

    • Hi Michaela, thanks for sharing about Daisy. Isn’t it wonderful that she “allows” you to use “her” room, LOL! Ya know, I think cats are more vocal when we talk back to them, too. Seren sure wants to get the last word. πŸ™‚

  9. My experience with our cats have been interesting. We found sister kittens on a drive in a country area in the mid-seventies. We stopped when we saw glowing eyes and a gray tabby kitten stepped out “hello, take me home”. We picked up the sister an orange tabby.
    They had opposite personalities. The gray tabby was sociable and loving, loved to play and followed us on walks. She also stalked the chihuahua that belonged to a couple that delivered the news. Orange sister was anti-social and mean. She didn’t like people, but she did get along with her gray sister. We were renting and our landlady fell in love with the gray tabby and she called he “Kittah”.
    We eventually found a home for orange sister. A man took her for a barn cat.
    We also got a cat from the Tulsa SPCA–They called him Waylon because he talked all the time. We didn’t let him outside, but he tried. He looked like a Russian Blue with the beautiful silver-gray coat and emerald colored eyes. He had a long tail that had faint rings around. He was a marshmallow. He loved to eat and didn’t get along with other cats. He didn’t play. He wanted to sit in a lap or eat. Our dogs would chase him up the stairs at times. My son and daughter-in-law fell in love with him and we gave him to them.. Since my son was in the army, Waylon traveled with them from Tennessee to Texas, Alaska and now back to Texas. He likes to ride in the car and sleeps with them under the cover at night. My son reports that Waylon is obsessed with cat treats and I hear over the phone talking..
    My husband bought home a kitten from a feral mamma cat. This kitten Dillon was scary smart. He was a Maine Coon mix. and was stocky and solid. He seemed to be a one person cat. He fought with Waylon all the time and was prone to attack you as you passed by him in hiding. We got a rescue rat terrier mix puppy and he constantly attacked her but she thought it was all in fun. The rolled around like a ball over the floor. He was so mean that we finally let him outside. It wasn’t long before he came inside with a mangled back leg. I had 3 dogs at the time–one a blind diabetic Lab (wondeful dog) on insulin and also had Waylon. I took him to the Vet and he shook his head and told me that the cost of treating Dillon’s leg was going to run into a thousand dollars. He treated our other animals and our costs in caring for a sick dog, and the other animals. He made a phone call to a rescue agency but they wouldn’t take him. He recommended that Dillon be put down. I agreed since he cause so much chaos in our home. It was the first time that I didn’t fight to save one of my animals. I felt guitly for awhile, but it was the right choice.
    Love your new format.

    Mary McCauley

  10. Amy I love your new blog – you did a great job designing it.
    Now for the cats –
    Macy is a 9 year old orange Tabby. She is a very finicky eater and basically likes the same kind and flavor of food all the time unless of course there is turkey in the house. When it comes to the weedeater or lawnmower she runs room to room with her brother. She has a very sassy attitude, does not like strangers and squeals like a pig if I put her in someone’s lap to hold. She is a one master cat.
    Thomas is Macy’s brother from the same litter. He loves lots of different foods. Macy could care less about milk but Thomas can be anywhre in the house and when he hears the cap come off the milk here he comes meow meow meow. When he meets someone a few times he loves them after that. He is so laid back. When it comes to the weedeater or lawnmower him and his sister react the same way. Whichever one starts running first the other follows. Sometimes Macy will come over and lay down in front of her brother for him to groom her neck and head. Macy’s fur is darker and denser and Thomas is a lighter color and not as dense.
    Termite is my 15 month old grey Tabby. In comparison to my other two he acts like he has attention deficit disorder. He is into everything, runs room to room like a sprinter, always checking out whose outside by jumping in the windows and if you happen to be trying to go to sleep, well just too bad – you are going to get run over and across. He jumps on the others and tries to bite them. Macy tolerates him as long as he doesn’t touch her – if he touches her she hisses, slaps him and squeals like a pig. Termite and Thomas romp and play together but if Termite bites too hard Thomas puts his big paw on him as if he’s telling him that’s enough. Sometimes Termite will come over and bury his head between Thomas front paws to have his head groomed. Termite’s fur is nothing like the two other Tabby’s – his is very fine – almost the consistency of squirrel’s hair but he has a loving personality. I call him my potty partner and kitchen cousin because no matter where he is – if I go to the bathroom or kitchen – he has to go with me!
    Amy – just a question – I’ve had many, many male and female cats over the years and my female cats have mostly been a wee bit less loving than my big old Tom cats have. Is there any opinions or research indicating males generally are more loving or a certain breed is more loving? Sorry for being so wordy but I love my fur babies.

    • Hi Patricia–wow, this is so much fun to read! Love learning more about Macy and Thomas and Termite. Just like human siblings with the same gene pool and environment, cats from the same litter can develop into very different personalities.

      As for boy vs girl or breed differences, there are some breed differences when it comes to personality. I don’t think it’s as much to do with ‘friendliness’ as other issues like activity level and vocalization. Some of that has to do with how the HUMAN perceives ‘friendliness’ since we’re such a touchy-feeling species and cat interact with touch/contact in a very different way. Same could be said for the gender differences. It’s likely that you’ll never find a “friendlier-acting” cat than a female in heat, LOL! Beyond that…Benjamin Hart has a fun, interesting book that measures breed and gender personality differences based on pet cat owner reports (non-scientific but opinion). That does indicate the boys have an edge on “friendliness” over the girls.

      How’s that for hedging an answer, LOL!

      • My totally unscientific opinion is that the “data” pertaining to gender differences in personality might be skewed by the color genes. (wow did that sentence sound high and mighty) What I mean is, calicos and torties are usually female and many times have “tortitude” so if you add them to the number it appears they are less friendly because they are female. (You might add red tabbies to that mix as well since many – not all – red tabby females can be rather persnickety)

        HOWEVER, that is all just speculation on my part – just having fun with the ideas πŸ™‚

        • Hi Andrea–you’re right, it’s difficult to separate the gender influence from sex-link color patters/colors. I recall in some of my research the speculation that the first color mutation (black cats) became very popular because it also seemed to produce “friendlier” cats willing to have closer contact with people. Of course that’s not a gender-specific color, but still…

          Great points!

  11. I’d like to chip in here but I’ve been reluctant because it would be so easy for me to go on and on and on with this subject. πŸ™‚ Just remember that my notes below are generalizations. Everyone has an exception to these descriptions.

    All of my present cats are either retired ferals or their offspring so they are a breed unto themselves. I’m not even going to touch all of the personalities there.

    Personally I grew up with the traditional Siameezers and loved their personalities. They were active, but not overly so. They were people loving and very talkative. Now when I mean talkative I mean you could have a conversation with them. They didn’t just run around talking all the time until you were annoyed. The traditional Siamese I grew up with were highly intelligent and easily trained. If we’d had agility back then I have no doubt they would be champions!

    Oh, I almost forgot the very first cat I ever had, a Russian Blue. Like many breeds the RB has changed over the years but “Misty” was very independent, loyal and basically a one person cat. The RBs went through a period of really nasty cats but I think they’ve now come back to the loving, loyal blues they once were.

    As an adult I purchased an Oriental Shorthair which is more like the modern Siamese. He was extremely active, definitely overly so. He craved attention and chewed up things when he didn’t get it. He also drove my other, mixed breed cats crazy. In the end I had to sell him to a couple who had more time to spoil him. I believe we would have gotten along just fine if he had another OSH to play and cuddle with and if I’d been home more.

    During my cat show years I also helped friends by agenting their cats. Most of those cats were Persians or Exotic Shorthairs. These were, as you might guess, more laid back and easy going.

    I’ve also helped friends show their Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, Manx, Birmans, Somalis, Selkirk Rex and Cornish Rex. In general I’d say that the longhaired cats were usually more laid back than the shorthaired cats. Even the Exotics and the Abbies (sp?) are more active than their counterparts. But I’d also say that the shorthaired cats were more outgoing with their loving attentions. And interestingly I’ve also noticed that the more Oriental “types” (Somalis, Maines, American Curl) were more active, more affectionate than the more cobby “types” (Manx, Selkirks, Exotics, Americans, etc.).

    Again, generalizations, totally generalizations! πŸ™‚

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