Behavior

September 2019 Issue




Predictable Cat Behavior in Breeds

New study says it may be in their genes

lifeonwhite | Deposit Photos

A young Angora cat.

Different dog breeds are known for certain behaviors, like a Border Collie herding sheep or a German Shorthaired Pointer indicating a bird. Cat lovers have long noted the vocalizations of Siamese as an example of certain breed-specific behaviors, and now a recent study from Finland, published in Scientific Reports, found genetic connections between cat breeds and certain behaviors.

The study collected data from owners on 5,726 cats covering 19 breeds and breed groups and evaluated 10 different behaviors. They found some breeds clustered together (Turkish Vans and Angoras), which suggests physical appearance and some traits may be linked.

Turkish Vans tended to show the most aggression toward both people and other cats. On the other hand, British Shorthair, Norwegian Forest Cat, Ragdoll, Persian, and Birmans ranked as the least aggressive, the least extroverted, and the least fearful. Interestingly, the British Shorthair breed has been developed by crossbreeding Persians. “All of these breeds are also longhaired,” says the study. Anecdotally, longhair cats are thought of as mellow and less active.

It’s important to remember that each cat is an individual, with the effects of rearing and environment influencing behavior. This study reinforces the notion that some behaviors may be linked to certain physical traits and a genetic connection in cats. 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44324-x