While every cat has his or her distinct personality, some breeds are characterized by specific behavioral traits. Can this help you figure out what your cat’s breed may be? Let’s see if it's possible to tell if Kitty is in fact a Persian or a Siamese based on his or her behavior.
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What determines a cat’s personality?Every cat has a different personality. Playfulness, shyness, aggression, curiosity, level of activity and many other attributes have a broad spectrum as far as our feline friends are concerned. This creates an almost infinite number of unique cat personalities.
What is it that makes a cat more curious, friendly or outgoing - or any other personality trait - compared to another cat? No one knows for sure but as with humans, it is likely a combination of their genetic makeup and their upbringing. Yes, it’s the old debate of nature vs. nurture and the answer most likely lies somewhere in the middle.
Clearly, a cat’s genes lay the foundation for his or her character. It’s also clear that life experiences can affect and change these natural tendencies. For example, a kitten may be born with an affectionate personality but mistreatment or abuse can still teach him or her to be fearful of humans.
Do different cat breeds really have distinct personality traits?Some breeds are in fact known for specific behavioral characteristics. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Just like all Siamese cats share the gene for the colorpoint coat pattern, surely they share the same genes for behavior?
Well, it’s not that simple, really. Cat breeders tend to focus on appearances. Take a look at the breed descriptions published by the breed associations and you’ll see a long list of detailed physical traits. An ethical breeder will also breed for good temperament but the focus is almost always on the cat’s looks. After all, it’s difficult for judges in cat shows to assess a cat’s intricate personality in just a few minutes. They may disqualify an aggressive or non-cooperative cat but otherwise will focus on judging the cat’s appearance.
That said, some breeds do seem to have their own unique “personality type”. It’s not a bad guideline to follow if you’re looking to adopt a cat but just remember that there are exceptions to every rule.
Let’s take a look at three popular cat breeds and what they’re like in terms of behavior and personality.
The Personality of Persian CatsOne of the oldest cat breeds and the most popular is the Persian. Persian cats originated from central Asia and were probably the first breed to be displayed in cat shows. This breed has gone through substantial changes over the past decades which may have affected not only the way they look, but their personality too.
While individuals may differ, Persians as a breed are considered to be very docile. They tend to be less active and enjoy quiet quality time with their owners. That’s a good trait, considering how much grooming these cats need to keep their long coat mat-free.
As far as behavioral problems go, these cats are less likely to be aggressive towards other cats or towards people. However, some cat behaviorists say that Persian cats tend to have litterbox problems more than other breeds do. Whether your cat is a Persian or not, you should become an expert on litterbox maintenance and never give Kitty a reason to avoid the box. And in case accidents happen, you should know how to deal with them, including the ins and outs of removing cat urine smell. You may want to consider using natural non-toxic pet products around your cat too.
Read more: Persian Cats
The Personality of Siamese CatsSiamese are almost the opposite of Persians, in looks as well as personality. These cats have an elongated and svelte silhouette, in stark contrast with the Persian’s stocky round features. Instead of luxuriantly long coats, Siamese cats have short smooth fur.
While you may encounter the odd shy and quiet Siamese cat, the breed as a whole is characterized by an outgoing and very vocal personality. A Siamese is very likely to express himself and is considered one of the most talkative breeds.
Siamese cats are said to be more sensitive to stress, including stress generated by boredom. They’re more likely to react with obsessive grooming and other self-harming behaviors. If you own a Siamese, encourage your cat to be active and provide fun things to do. Stimulation will help keep your cat fit and happy.
Read more: Siamese Cats
The Personality of Ragdoll CatsRagdoll cats came about as the result of an accidental genetic mutation. Breeders then worked this mutation into an organized breeding program. These gorgeous large cats are a sight for sore eyes, with their fluffy long hair and large blue eyes.
The Ragdoll is probably the breed most associated with unique personality traits. In fact, the breed got its name from a behavioral trait. Ragdoll cats are said to be exceptionally docile, to the point of relaxing their body when held by their human. It’s just like holding a passive rag doll.
Are all Ragdolls this relaxed? Owners say that these cats tend to be friendlier and more relaxed on average but no, not all Ragdolls will relax in your arms to be carried around like a soft toy.
Read more: Ragdoll Cats
So can I tell my cat’s breed from his personality?The first question you should first be asking is, “Is my cat a purebred cat?” In other words, does your cat necessarily belong to any specific breed?
And if you’re asking yourself that, the answer is almost always: No. Unless you bought the cat from a registered breeder, the chances that he or she is in fact purebred are slim.
Most cats are not of any specific cat breed. They are generally known as domestic cats and are often classified by the length of their hair into these two types -
1. Domestic Shorthair (DSH)
2. Domestic Longhair (DLH)
These cats can have beautiful colors and coat colors and some may even resemble a purebred cat. However without pedigree papers, they are very likely either a Domestic Longhair or a Domestic Shorthair cat.
What you should in fact be asking is “Which breed does my cat resemble?” That resemblance can be a clue to an ancestor of a certain breed. Your cat’s coat length, body shape and coat color could indicate that he or she has a Maine Coon, a Persian or a Siamese somewhere in his or her ancestry. Or it could just be a beautiful combination derived from the general gene pool.
When trying to guess a cat’s breed ancestry, looks are easier to go by than character, for all the reasons mentioned above. However, if your cat is exceptionally active or docile, it could help determine a breed connection. Especially if it matches the cat’s looks. If your longhair stocky-looking cat also happens to be very docile, he or she may be at least part Persian. If your slender cat also happens to be very vocal and active, it could be that Siamese heritage is in his or her genes.
Here’s a suggestion. Wondering what cat breed your cat resembles? We have a forum just for your question! Start a thread here: Describing Cats - What Does My Cat Look Like? Add a few clear photos and tell us about your cat’s personality too. In some cases, especially when a cat has very distinctive character traits, our community members may be able to help you determine the cat breeds that could be part of your cat’s heritage.