A new study published in Anthrozoos, the official journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, has some researchers worried that certain kitties get a bad rap simply because of their looks.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, asked 189 cat lovers to rate black, white, bi-colored, tri-colored (tortoiseshell or calico) and orange cats’ personalities on a scale of one to seven based on their tendencies to be active, aloof, bold, calm, friendly, intolerant, shy, stubborn, tolerant and trainable. Results showed that orange and bi-colored cats were perceived as friendly while black, white and tri-colored cats were deemed more antisocial. White cats were considered to be more shy, lazy and calm, while tortoiseshell cats were viewed as intolerant, though more trainable.
Participants stated that personality is the main factor behind their kitty choice, but researchers said their answers indicated that color played a conscious or unconscious role in their final cat choice. There could be “serious repercussions for cats,” they said, if people believe that certain colored cats are friendlier or have more desirable traits than others.
Why is that? Each year, up to 8 million cats and dogs end up at animal shelters, according to the Humane Society of the United States, and some face challenges from the get-go—black cats and dogs, for example, are supposedly “the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized.”
So there you have it: Don’t judge a cat by its color the next time you’re searching for a feline friend.