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Determinants of a cat's personality: individual first or sex first?

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  • Determinants of a cat's personality: individual first or sex first?

    In your vast catty experience, do you guys think that the largest determinant of your cat's personality is his/her individuality, or do you see types in fixed/unfixed males and females?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    individual personality

    Individual personality, though it's said that calico and tortoiseshells are more eccentric. Mackeral tabbies with the M on their foreheads and ginger (orange) cats are friendly. I have never met a cat that wasn't unique. They all do "cat" things, but the personalitites are never duplicated. Some of the breed things have been true in my experience - Siamese and siamese mixes "talk" a lot more than the other domestic shorthairs I've known. I find tuxedo cats and Maine Coon types to be dog like - they hang out and want to interact.

    Maybe a vet or behavoirist on the board will chime in. I'm just a cat fan who has tried to figure this out through the years.

    I have not found that neutering changes the personality except for kitties that fight or spray. It helps decrease those behavoirs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Just from experience with lots of cats in my family over the years...temperament wise, in general, I think neutered males have the most friendly, laid back, cuddly personalities. Especially if you have more than one cat. I now have three males and one female. If I have a choice, I will probably never get another female. Even when spayed, ours have always retained an attitude. The boys are just, meh, give me more cuddles and food while I sleep on your bed for 20 hours a day.
      Caitlin
      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
      http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

      Comment


      • #4
        My mom has had 2 females that were the absolute most cuddly dog-cats you've ever met. In general, I think that's more common in males, but it does happen in females. I have an orange and white boy who just wants to be on you all the time. He doesn't like being picked up, but he LOVES all people and loves snuggling. You can hear him purring from across the house the second you walk in the door.

        I also have a little female who is a total love with me (she talks to me and insists I come give her attention if I've been gone too long - she also absolutely always comes when I call her). However, it takes her awhile to warm up to new people. Though I absolutely love my snuggly male and wouldn't trade him for anything, my little female is more "my" cat. I've had a couple of females like this. (I also had one in college that bonded much more with my roommate, so she ended up taking her when we moved, and I was not all that sad about it, haha.)

        Granted, I've found I tend to be a female animal person though = ) I love the lovey dovey males, but the females often become more "mine" if that makes sense. Horses, dogs, cats, that's been my experience.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've found the orange or ginger males to be the friendliest cats. I've had three over the years and they loved people, all people. I've had more females than males and I think the females tend to pick a person to be theirs instead of spreading the love amongst all people.
          Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bird4416 View Post
            <snip> I've had more females than males and I think the females tend to pick a person to be theirs instead of spreading the love amongst all people.
            Yes, I generally find neutered males to be the friendliest and females to be "one person" cats as well. It seems that there are more traits associated with color then with sex in popular lore- never met one fo those bitchy calicos/torties, although most I've known have been shy. Ginger or orange is said to be extra friendly, but most ginger cats are male and since males seem to be friendlier to begin with... I do think sex is an influencing factor but like horses, I don't find it to be hard and fast.

            I have a large neutered male ATM who most people believe to be at least part maine coon, and he does have many of the personality traits associated with them and with male cats in general ("dog-like", bold, nosy, social, vocal, friendly dude), but he also has many traits associated with domestic breeds a little closer to their wild ancestors (chuffing, panting, and a very, erm, agressive way of playing). Those things apparently aren't uncommon in some maine coon lines. I tend to think many of the traits that we associate with certain colors or sexes are more likely to be attributable to the breeds that formed them somewhere back in the murky depths of their heritage- your vocal, slinky black cat may have some siamese, your large nosy tabby may have some maine coon, your stout stoic blue with good hunting instincts may be part russian, etc. Makes more sense that the color & personality are a byproduct of genetic heritage than the other way around.

            I hope that made sense, I'm under-coffeed.
            bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
            free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Rubyfree View Post
              I have a large neutered male ATM who most people believe to be at least part maine coon, and he does have many of the personality traits associated with them and with male cats in general ("dog-like", bold, nosy, social, vocal, friendly dude), but he also has many traits associated with domestic breeds a little closer to their wild ancestors (chuffing, panting, and a very, erm, agressive way of playing). Those things apparently aren't uncommon in some maine coon lines. I tend to think many of the traits that we associate with certain colors or sexes are more likely to be attributable to the breeds that formed them somewhere back in the murky depths of their heritage- your vocal, slinky black cat may have some siamese, your large nosy tabby may have some maine coon, your stout stoic blue with good hunting instincts may be part russian, etc. Makes more sense that the color & personality are a byproduct of genetic heritage than the other way around.

              I hope that made sense, I'm under-coffeed.
              I have one that sounds just like this (see my thread: Clingy Kitty)! He is a Maine Coon type - long hair (he prefers his lion cut ), chatty (ie. makes lots of weird noises!), comes when he's called, social, very bold. I've never had a female so I can't comment but I had heard from some friends with cats that females are more standoffish and not as social.

              Comment


              • #8
                Agree it also certainly can depend on breed types - another Maine Coon mix owner - long haired orange. Love his personality, doesn't like to be "contained", but certainly loves to be next to you (or behind you on the back of the couch, or accompanying you in the garden, or on the keyboard!)

                And used to think all females were less friendly, until meeting the Mama cat at a friend's barn ages ago. If you sat down in the tack room, you could literally be there for hours if you let her curl up on your lap and didn't want to disturb her.
                But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CVPeg View Post
                  Agree it also certainly can depend on breed types - another Maine Coon mix owner - long haired orange. Love his personality, doesn't like to be "contained", but certainly loves to be next to you (or behind you on the back of the couch, or accompanying you in the garden, or on the keyboard!)
                  When we moved Bacon into this place, I brought him in in his carrier, set carrier on floor, walked out of the room, heard a "thunk" and returned to the room to find the carrier upside down in the same spot, complete with now upside down cat.

                  And on the keyboard? Oh yes. Or the monitor.

                  Sorry for the derail, please return to your previous serious scientific discussion.
                  bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
                  free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by HiddenAcres View Post
                    I have not found that neutering changes the personality except for kitties that fight or spray. It helps decrease those behavoirs.
                    Oh really? I thought that gelding a cat made him into a slacker. I wouldn't know, as all out male cats have been de-nutted. It's a family rule.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think it's really an individual thing. I've had way than my share of cats and each is different. Right now I have fixed red males that run the gamut from won't-stop-talking-to-you-and-climbing-on-you to OMG-you-want-to-kill-me (unless you're sleeping or feeding or on the toilet). I've had female calicos that go from crazy as hell to sweet. Black and whites that are either needy (REALLY needy) to just MEH. Grey tabbies are usually the sweetest in my experience.

                      I used to think I gave off the anti lap cat vibe because none of my cats to that time had ever had a need to sit on me - by me, behind me, on my pillow, yep - on me, NO. Then I met my first grey tabby. He was a lap cat in the winter but he was also a barn cat. I think he just wanted to share the warmth. LOL!

                      I now have some true lap cats - a grey tabby girl, the MEH b&W, the crazy calico and the talkative orange boy.

                      I do have to say that I think it's strange that the cats hang out with like colors - reds/oranges with other reds/oranges, b&W with b&w, grey w/ grey, etc. I must have a bunch of racist kitties. Holds true with both inside cats and outside cats. Strange.
                      "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't think gender or color has much to do with personality, each cat has been a total individual and has each had their own set of wants and needs, quirks etc.

                        I had a pair of males, both black and white for 16 years each, they were together for about 12 of those years, they never really liked each other. They would snuggle and groom but they never really established a play schedule. They were both neutered and were super lovey with me, with the younger being "my" cat and completely nuts with everyone else. My other black and white male was sooo laid back, but he was also a ladies man kind of cat. He fell head over heels for my roommate and while he stayed my cat he looooved her. After Flash the older black and white passed away I got a female chocolate Siamese to keep Oreo company. She was his nursemaid in Oreo's old age and would caretake for him but didn't really play with him. She was my heart kitty never had cat like her..she got me, I got her, we were best buds, she was so so sweet. When Oreo died I got Vincent another neutered male and Siamese (Flamepoint), he's shy and cautious with new things, but friendly and not a mean bone in his body. He and Willow never stopped playing. They wrestled, they chased, they played a game I called "F-You Face" where they made the most awful faces at each other and then would wrestle ninja style and flip each other. They never got mean just played. Willow passed out of a blue and we worried that Vince was totally lost with out her. We got Sage a Tuxedo blue and he's a hoot. He and Vince took only a short while to become friends and they play all the time. Vince attached himself to my husband, and he is "his" cat. Sage is a big Momma's boy (he's also neutered).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It always seemed to me that cats on the lower end of the IQ scale tend to be sweeter. The really clever and crafty ones want things on their own terms.

                          Like Larry. Larry was a DLH at the vet practice where I worked. His owners always had a "dumb Larry" story whenever they brought him in. But a sweeter cat you could not find. You could do anything with him; that cat loved and trusted people 100%. Poke him with needles, clip his claws, and he'd just snuggle with you and purr afterwards. He also enjoyed having a bath. I'm not really a cat person, but I'd have happily taken a dozen Larrys.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mara View Post
                            It always seemed to me that cats on the lower end of the IQ scale tend to be sweeter. The really clever and crafty ones want things on their own terms.

                            Like Larry. Larry was a DLH at the vet practice where I worked. His owners always had a "dumb Larry" story whenever they brought him in. But a sweeter cat you could not find. You could do anything with him; that cat loved and trusted people 100%. Poke him with needles, clip his claws, and he'd just snuggle with you and purr afterwards. He also enjoyed having a bath. I'm not really a cat person, but I'd have happily taken a dozen Larrys.

                            I like a cat like Larry that I can exploit mercilessly. And he doesn't know the word "exploit," so it's a win-win.

                            Also, I think that large neutered males seem to fall into the same IQ deficient category. It seems that you take away the balls and the gym membership and they become total hedonists. They just don't care so long as, on balance, the present moment is pretty good.

                            I wouldn't call these slackers stupid or devoid of free will, however. IME, these cats are masters of getting the best deal they can from whomever is around. They just become short-sighted hedonists. It looks like a nice way to live.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rubyfree View Post
                              When we moved Bacon into this place, I brought him in in his carrier, set carrier on floor, walked out of the room, heard a "thunk" and returned to the room to find the carrier upside down in the same spot, complete with now upside down cat.

                              And on the keyboard? Oh yes. Or the monitor.

                              Sorry for the derail, please return to your previous serious scientific discussion.
                              The name Bacon is awesome! I have had lovely dovie males and females, also tend to go with the fixed boys (de-nutted is our family rule as well, EVERYONE is the family is fixed in one way or another!! )

                              I do have a very loving, adorable rag-doll in your arms type who will also happily chomp your hand (while purring) and attack any other male cat, a big loving furrball Larry type, loving chatty tiger girl, shy but loving neutered guy. I will say Mr. Fang's previous BFF was a white torti girl who, bless her sweet little heart, was a complete wench-affectionate always ONLY on her terms (usually unsuspecting folks on the toilet, she was RELENTLESS) and I have seen other females of similar coloring who had that same "I don't take nothing off nobody" kind of attitude. Otherwise, I guess IME an individual thing, Love 'em all!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                We've owned four cats total, disproportionately male (3:1), but I'd say our 3 males have been about as varied as you can get.

                                Our first family cat was a male, Dragon (short for Dragon Flied... my brother named him when he was about 4 years old). He was a sweet cat, if he liked you, but he was also the nippy roll-around-on-your-ankles type. He was very selective about who he liked and when he liked them, and he had a reputation on the block (he was indoor/outdoor) for being nasty, so my peers at the bus stop would all run away from him.

                                The female, Rainbow, was a "typical" female cat- skittish, and one minute she was all lovey-dovey asking for a belly rub, but 5 seconds later your hand was bleeding profusely and she was already off in the next room grumbling.

                                The next two males, who we adopted simultaneously from different litters at the animal shelter, are about as opposite from each other as you could get.

                                Bobbi is a small gray cat who is scared of his own shadow and was obviously taken away from mom too early (he and his littermates were given to the shelter, but not his mom). He's one of those cats who likes to "nurse" on sink faucets. He very rarely bites other than little nibbles, unless you're trying to give him medicine.

                                Spock is a large (over 20#), long-haired blob-cat who doesn't care about anything. you can lift him up, sling him over your shoulder, and walk around like that, and as long as he doesn't feel unbalanced, he'll just kind of chill there. He never bites at all and he LOVES to be pet/brushed/loved all of the time. He is the least "cat-like" cat that I've ever met, and he has convinced many a cat-hater that "Okay, well most cats suck but THIS one is kind of cool."

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