Monday, December 19, 2011

All About Cat Breeds and Personalties

There are dozen of recognized cat breeds around the world. With so many to choose from, a prospective cat owner can find a kitten that suits any taste, living arrangement, or budget. However, it is simply not true that each and every breed has a personality that is unique and distinct from every other breed of cat. Considering the sheer number of cat breeds, there are simply not enough personality types to go around.

It would be more accurate to say that feline personalities are related to body type. If you look closely at the individual breeds and their personalities, you'll notice some similarities. For example, Siamese cats tend to be active, vocal, curious, and intelligent. But they share these traits with other breeds such as the Oriental Shorthair, Balinese, Abyssinian, and Cornish Rex. In other words, all the slim, elegant, and tubular breeds share these qualities and have similar personalities.

On the other hand, the Persian is laid back and easygoing. But so are the other stocky breeds such as the Burmese, British Shorthair, and Exotic Shorthair. And then there are the breeds that fall firmly in the middle. The pedigreed American Shorthair comes immediately to mind. This cat is a perfect middle-of-the-road personality, as are other breeds that share the same  body type.

But there are also traits that all cats share. No matter what the breed, the process of domesticating the cat retards the development of certain adult behaviors. This means that domesticated cats never really grow up, and we don't really want them to. Their kittenish behavior is a part of their charm. The adult behaviors of self-sufficiency, aggression, and marking are not at all desirable in the animals we share our homes with.

Personality is also determined by socialization. Kittens which are handled daily from three weeks old are more attached to people than those which are handled later or not at all. They are also more likely to tolerate being turned on their backs and approach humans faster and with more curiosity than nonhandled kittens. You can almost always tell which kittens have been handled daily simply from their reactions to people in general.

So the fact of the matter is that breed is only a small part of the personality of a cat. If you're looking for a certain personality in your kitten, you will have to consider more than the breed of the cat. Consider the parents, as personality often passes from generation to generation. And certainly pay attention to the way a kitten has been raised. This will help you determine whether that particular kitten has the right personality for you and your family.

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