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  #61  
Old 10-25-2012, 03:15 PM
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I would also love to see such an experiment, and am fascinated by genetics. I didn't mean to imply that color = temperment so much, but it does seem to me that there is some association. Such as certain genes being on locii that are physically close to others, so the entire "package" often gets passed down together. That's what I suspect might be happening with color/temperment.

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It is quite talked about in the Doberman world that the reds tend to be "nicer" than the other colors. And that's just because there was a red way back when with a phenomenal temperament and it just passed through the lines.
That makes a lot of sense, and I'm sure must be in play as well, especially among dogs.

But if there's no link at all, how would you explain the foxes changing colors, when all they were selecting for was temperment?

(Oh, and I'm also a tortie cat owner and can attest to the tortie temperment thing. My cat isn't feisty exactly, but she is...different LOL. She also has some Siamese blood somewhere, so who knows where she gets it really.)
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  #62  
Old 10-25-2012, 04:04 PM
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That would be really awesome. I'm curious how you could design an experiment though, what behaviors would be classified as "feisty" and how would you quantify temperament overall? The only way to guarantee that each cat is responding to the same provocations (?) is to have a standardized test like the TT, and set up identical test rooms.

But then you're testing the cats under extreme stress, because cats don't typically transition to strange environments very easily. So you're not testing their true temperaments when they are at ease and just doing their cat thing. You're testing their threshold and how they respond to stress.
I do think how they respond to stress has a lot to do with how feisty they are, that's part of why I think their behavior at the vet is relevant. I wouldn't expect a lot of expression of feistiness when the cat is relaxed and happy.

I do think it would be hard to characterize, though. While I've seen a lot of behavior I'd call "feisty" from torties, it isn't always feisty in the same way. Which is why I used the rather vague word "feisty", rather than something more specific, like "aggressive". My own tortie wasn't at all aggressive (she was remarkably stupid for a cat, and I'm not sure she was capable of aggression. She's another one that may have been brain damaged), but she did have an edge to her personality. A little more easily stimulated, maybe. In fact, now that I say that, I'm thinking that could be the common link in the feisty behaviors, I think it might be that these cats are just more easily stimulated, to whatever behavior they default to. That could easily be a neurological thing, and potentially linked to color.
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  #63  
Old 10-25-2012, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyinsbt View Post
I do think how they respond to stress has a lot to do with how feisty they are, that's part of why I think their behavior at the vet is relevant. I wouldn't expect a lot of expression of feistiness when the cat is relaxed and happy.

I do think it would be hard to characterize, though. While I've seen a lot of behavior I'd call "feisty" from torties, it isn't always feisty in the same way. Which is why I used the rather vague word "feisty", rather than something more specific, like "aggressive". My own tortie wasn't at all aggressive (she was remarkably stupid for a cat, and I'm not sure she was capable of aggression. She's another one that may have been brain damaged), but she did have an edge to her personality. A little more easily stimulated, maybe. In fact, now that I say that, I'm thinking that could be the common link in the feisty behaviors, I think it might be that these cats are just more easily stimulated, to whatever behavior they default to. That could easily be a neurological thing, and potentially linked to color.
That's really interesting. My aunts oranges/torties/tabbies were all hellions and some downright aggressive and rude even in their comfy home situations.

Smellycat (formerly known as Evilcat) is black. She's extremely inbred and has issues. Anyway, she's really aggressive and weird toward me, but super nice and loving to the kids and dogs. She really likes men a lot. Recently I took her to the (female) vet for a rabies booster and was really surprised at how mellow she was even though she was freaking out. The vet checked her all over and I was like "HOW ARE YOU NOT GETTING YOUR EYES SCRATCHED OUT!?!?" lol. She was mainly trying to duck away and hide vs. do anything confrontational.
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:40 PM
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That's really interesting. My aunts oranges/torties/tabbies were all hellions and some downright aggressive and rude even in their comfy home situations.

Smellycat (formerly known as Evilcat) is black. She's extremely inbred and has issues. Anyway, she's really aggressive and weird toward me, but super nice and loving to the kids and dogs. She really likes men a lot. Recently I took her to the (female) vet for a rabies booster and was really surprised at how mellow she was even though she was freaking out. The vet checked her all over and I was like "HOW ARE YOU NOT GETTING YOUR EYES SCRATCHED OUT!?!?" lol. She was mainly trying to duck away and hide vs. do anything confrontational.
We saw a black cat at the vet I used to work with who was named "Sassy". Which I always found funny, because she was a total sweetheart. I could carry her through the dog ward, and she'd just wrap her paws around my neck and snuggle. But the owner said that Sassy used to live up to her name at previous vets. She was an older cat, so maybe she'd just used up her feisty. And, very unusually for a cat, showed no stress about being at the vet. She was just like "hey, more of my adoring fans!" (I'm really glad that cat was still alive when I left there. I can pretend she lived forever. I loved her.)

I suppose one vaguely scientific, if not precise, method of gauging feistiness in different colors of cats would be a survey of cat owners, asking them to report their own perceptions on their cats' behaviors in different situations. I've seen that done with dog behaviors. Problem being the accuracy of the untrained observations, but a large enough sample size would counter some of that.
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