Veterinary experts found that a cat's level of aggressiveness towards humans may be determined by its fur color.

Tortoiseshell and white felines have long been observed as having anti-social behaviors. Researchers from the University of California Davis delved into the potential link between coat color and combative behavior among domestic cats.

The researchers performed the study by collecting survey answers from an Internet-based questionnaire. In addition to fur color, the survey asked participants about their cats' connective behavior towards humans and other cats, combative features when dealing with humans and cats, problematic behaviors, as well as demographic information about the owner and the animal.

The survey was completed by 1,432 cat guardians and after implementing some exclusion actions based on study standards, the researchers proceeded to analyze 1,274 accomplished surveys.

The participants answered questions about their cats' behaviors during daily interactions, while being handled and when going on veterinary clinic trips. The answers were then utilized to rate each cat according to an aggression scale.

The findings of the study showed that females with orange, black-and-white, and gray-and-white color, or calicos as called in the U.S., were usually more aggressive towards people across the three study settings.

The cats that exhibited calm and serene behaviors were those with gray, black, white or tabby coats.

In particular, black-and-white felines were much more combative during handling, gray-and-white cats tend to have tantrums during veterinary clinic visits and calico females become touchy or dramatic during daily encounters with people.

"Analyses of aggression due to handling, as well as aggression displayed during veterinarian visits, showed little difference among coat colors in these settings," the authors wrote.

Male calicos are not very typical. The X chromosome carries both the orange and black fur genes and since females have two X chromosomes, they can have the two genes at the same time. Neither of the genes are considered dominant and for this, it is said that the orange and black fur coats are randomly disseminated.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science on Oct. 14.

Photo: Ashley Bayles | Flickr

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