I want to first thank Janet Blue from The Cat on my Head blog for honoring Bad Cat Chris with The WordPress Family Award. It is the third time Chris was honored recently and I am very happy to be part of such a wonderful family of pet bloggers.
Today I want to talk about ginger cats. I refer to Chris, and cats like him, as gold cats but Ginger seems to be the most popular term. They are also refered to as orange, buff and probably a few others. The common belief is that ginger cats have a good temperament and are more friendly and outgoing than the average cat. Indeed, Chris is a very friendly cat and our other ginger cat, Tigger, was also very friendly.
I first heard of this belief back in 2006 when Rose and I started our short jaunt into the world of real estate. Our brokers had five or six cats which were all gold. They told us the gold cats had a friendlier personality. That was not long after we got Tigger so we assumed the theory to be correct. But is it?
I looked it up and found it to be a very common belief. A few people even commented on this blog saying that their cat looks just like Chris and behaves like him too. I did not, however, find any solid evidence to support that fur color has any impact on personality.
Black cats, for example, are thought of as being unlucky or mysterious but any black cat owner, myself included, will probably say that black cats are just like any other cat. White cats are considered to be aloof or uncaring, but again, I have seen enough white cats to know that is not true.
I believe the concept that fur color affects behavior to be a myth but there is a possible valid explanation for why ginger cats are friendlier than average. This lies in the fact that 80 percent of ginger cats are males which tend to be friendlier than female cats. Sorry ladies.
This is not always true, of course. We had a male cat, Sneakers, that was somewhat of a loner and didn’t care about other cats. He would also bite and hiss when he was done with being petted. We also had a shy but friendly female, Abbey, who was friendly to everyone but our other female cat, Princess.
Princess, however, hated all cats and only wanted attention from humans. Every cat is different and it is difficult to label them but I think, on average, males tend to get along better with other cats and because ginger cats are mostly males, this would correlate the perception that they are friendlier.
What do you think? Do you have a ginger cat that is friendlier than average?
Interesting theory. We had a male ginger (marmalade tabby) cat named MacKenzie. He loved me and followed me everywhere. He also loved our Madison, another male. Other than that, I cannot say he was particularly friendly. Madison was a white cat who loved all the other cats in the house and was a nurturer. Our black cat, Thelma, was a sweet-natured, quiet cat and super, super smart. I believe that any generalizations about cats are inherently untrue. Each cat has it’s own distinct personality, which I believe begins to emerge between the age of one and two. So there is my 5 cents worth on this topic. Janet
I agree. Every cat is unique and I don’t think fur color matters. I also think that both male and female cats can be good or bad (mostly good). I have noticed that female cats tend to shun other females while male cats tend to be friendly toward both sexes. I hesistate to say that though because I also know of female cats that get along just fine together.
I have a 15 year old all ginger cat. She is very intelligent, sensitive and very easy to train. She sits, begs, paw, lay down, leave it etc.. She doesn’t go up to strangers unless I am talking to them. She protects me from anyone who tries to harm me!
She is my best friend. She has a torn achilles heal in one of her back legs, but has learnt to cope with it. She isn’t in pain.
We go camping in a tent and self catering holidays together. She goes exploring and hunting, but always comes back immediately when I call: ‘Saphie, teatime, sweeties!’
I’ve had her since she was 7 weeks old! A week after my previous tortie was put to sleep at home at the age of 20!!!
I’m currently looking for another ginger female kitten to liven up Saphie and also to have a cat at home when my beloved Saphie has to be put to sleep (at home hopefully!). My home isn’t a home without a cat!!!
She sounds like an amazing cat. I would love to have cats I can travel with.
My all ginger 15 year old has welcomed my new 8 week old cream coloured almost with open arms! Saphie has been my only companion until now . They sleep together!!! Saphie rarely plays, but is enjoying watching little Elly playing with all her toys, as well as up to mischief!!!
Thanks. Merry Christmas to you too.
P.S. I forget to says thanks for mentioning the award and linking back to us. J.
Your welcome, but I should thank you.
Lovely to meet you and Chris 🙂 we saw your interview on Cats and Co’s blog.
Ginger cats are indeed not really different I don’t think, we had a lovely ginger female who lived to 17 and was crabby but adorable,i have fostered heaps of ginger kittens and they all had different personalities.Currently (Once was foster until we adopted her) Dinnermintz is the sweetest ginger girl,she has a beautiful nature..you just can’t hold her for long due to all the meds I had to give her as a sick foster..pick up means pills to her hahahha .
Maybe people who prefer ginger cats are similar in the way they interact with them..therefore raising cats with similar dispositions ? tis a mystery as are all things feline 🙂
Have a great day Fozziemum
Thanks for the reply. You say your female was crabby. Was that just around other cats? Did she treat female cats differently than males?
Our princess was a bit crabby too, and demanding, but she loved attention by humans. She just had no use for other cats. When she was a kitten, my cat Vinny would wash her and she would let him for a short time and then bite him. He eventually stopped washing her.
She was crabby with the male and females..yet not crabby just dismissive of any foster kittens I had..all the cats were desexed too.She was independent and would tolerate a brushing..for awhile loved a scratch and a cuddle but on her terms…
Dinnermintz is the polar opposite not only is she loving with all the other cats who are female.(.we have lost our boys) but she snuggles with the two dogs and leaps up and head butts them…and our sheep! At the moment I have a crabby blue /cream tortie tabby who is glaring from the arm of my couch at the innocent ginger girl opposite..i fear a rumble will ensue!
Sounds like you have an interesting bunch there. I love the name “Dinnermintz.”
Thanks Charles! yes they are interesting indeed! and yes Dinnermintz always gets compliments on her name !!
Both of my ginger boys(Prometheus & Boots) have to be the center of attention! Boots does better around newcomers, but Prometheus has to join the party when anyone else is receiving cheek scratches or belly rubs.
Chris is like both of them. He loves newcomers but he also has to join in if someone else is getting attention.
Well, my Cody is a GRAY tabby and is seriously one of the FRIENDLIEST cats I know! People are amazed at how he has to greet everyone who enters our home and he gives love to everyone! Cat Chat http://opcatchat.blogspot.com
I think boys tend to be friendlier to strangers. Girls seem to reserve their sweetness to family members.
I would agree with your theory! My fiancé and I just blended our cat families – all four boy cats get along but my female cat is so not interested in making friends! (She’s not mean, just a loner).
I just realized that my reply to your comment was not a direct reply and I hope you didn’t think I ignored it.
It’s nice when they all get along. I felt bad when we had Princess because she would spend her days lying all alone under Rose’s dressing table.
Just curious Andrea, are any of your cats gold and, if so, are they more outgoing than the others?
I think it depends on the cat and how it was brought up and its experiences. Wally is an orange cat and is very friendly, but is not a lap cat. He can be a little skittish, too. Ernie, a black cat, is very friendly too…and loves to cuddle. Zoey, the long-furred torbie, is a former feral and is still wary of everything and everyone. I’ve always thought male cats were friendlier than females, but, once again, it really depends on the cat.
Island Cats’ mom
I agree. Every cat has their own unique personality. At the shelter that I volunteered, we had a gold cat that would bite people if they got too close. I think he may have been abused. I think male cats tend to be friendlier to other cats but that is not always true. If someone is thinking of adopting, I would consider the cat’s personality with no regard to sex or color.
I have two ginger brothers, Seville and Rushton, but my peeps call ’em Marmalades. They’ve heard that marmies are super friendly, too. I think mention of that was even made in the Cat Who books, if I am not mistaken and yes, I am a well-read cat.
I have not heard marmalade before but I like it.
Well I am a Ginger kitty and I am the only cat in our home who will play with all the other cats. Just sayin
I will assume that is a yes vote.
We have an orange woman, Marisol, who had a very timid sister of the same color. I don’t know whether there is any truth in associations between coloring and temperament, but Marisol can be protective at times…and at others, can be a bully. She seems ok to her ‘husband’, however…
How is she with people? Is she friendly with strangers?
We have a spotted tabby who had six kittens. They are now almost a month old. One is orange, one is totally black, one is gray tabby and the other three are mottled black. Three are female and three are male. The orange male is by far the friendliest. He’s the first out of the pack to come greet you when you enter the room, cuddles better than the others, walks on your feet and basically asks to be picked up. Is it possible that there’s a “frieindly” gene that’s paired up with an “orange fur” gene?
It does not seem logical that fur color would have anything to do with temperament and I have not seen any study that confirms there is a connection but there seems to be a lot of people who have friendly ginger cats. I suppose it is possible that the gene that controls fur color has more than one function, kind of like how redheads also have freckles.
I always believed the orange-cats-are-friendlier based on experience as a child. BUT, I think orange-and-white cats are friendlier. The pure orange tiger … not so much. I had one for a few months. He picked fights with my other cats and when I put him in another room, he tore up the carpet! YEOW. He disabused me of the friendly orange cat notion. I’ve always had your basic tabby (grey/white mixture) and also black cats and they’ve been fine. The orange cat (Tigger) went to another home where he was the only cat, so problem solved.
Since I wrote this post I have heard so many stories of friendly gingers, even females, I am starting to doubt my own position. I wonder if there is a friendly gene that is attached to the ginger gene. Thanks for the comment Robin.
In this study of foxes, friendliness had some relation to some different physical characteristics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox
I’ve always found ginger cats to be super friendly! I’ve even met ginger kitties on my travels to Thailand and Malta and found them to just be the friendliest out of all the other cats I’ve met – they would just run right up to me, where as other cats will tend to be aloof or run away. I’ve just found them to be quite outgoing. I’ve adopted a little ginger and he’s such a schmoozer! Here’s a pic: https://instagram.com/p/3MBZnWu2wQ/?taken-by=inaninstant_photo
He is a very cute kitty. Check out my next post featuring a gold and white feral cat. I think I need to do more research into gold/ginger cats. I have not found any scientific evidence to support the theory that gingers are friendlier but I have found plenty people who think it is true.
More anecdotal evidence: My male ginger is as friendly as a friendly dog or child. He greets every single person that comes into the house, demands petting from them, gives them love and brings them his toys for show and tell.
My female tuxedo is not. She is sweet and well socialized, so she lets people pet her and pick her up, but is rarely interested in them, even if they live in the same house. She would sleep on my roommate’s bed or her computer chair, and complain loudly when evicted, but otherwise ignored her for years on end. But, with me, she is not aloof at all. Go figure.
I have begun to rethink my conclusion on the subject. I have yet to find scientific evidence but recently I have been feeding ferals and to one ginger from the group is still afraid of me but will let me get closer than the other three. I also met two stray cats on vacation. The hotel was feeding them and the gray tabby was very timid but the FEMALE ginger would come up to me to be pet.
I believe it’s true, my Biscotti (aka the Biscuit) is the most outgoing guy and such a snuggler. Gingers are great kitties!
It is hard to argue that gingers seem friendlier and there may be something to it but I have not found proof yet.
My orange kitty is my cuddle baby he’s such a sweetie pie he’s good with my 5 year old too. He’ll do a paw Pat or give her a little nibble when she’s playing to roughly with him but he’s never scratched drew blood or hissed. Hes a lover not a fighter and he loves to cuddle.
They sure are lovable. My Chris is lying on my lap while I type this.
Reblogged this on Bad Cat Chris and commented:
This was my most popular post ever. When I wrote it in 2013, I could find no evidence that coat color affects behavior. Since then, after the many comments and other tidbits of information I have heard, I am starting to lean toward the possibility that it may be true. I will have to dig into the research and rewrite this.
Our ginger girl, Prancie is quite shy. She is also one of the smartest and naughtiest so I think the question should be are ginger cats naughtier? We know what your answer will be. 🙂
No doubt about that.
Yes, we have a Ginger cat and he is very friendly and outgoing.
We’ve also had a female Ginger cat and a bit of a loner where other cats were concerned.
Ultimately though I too believe all cats have unique personalities. They’re interesting to watch.
Coat color may, or may not, influence behavior somewhat, but in the end they are all unique individuals, just like we are.
Yep! We have four cats including what you call a ginger color, but we call an orange tabby, and they all have unique personalities. We love them all 🙂
My ginger cat (his name is Mau) is not at all friendly infact he is so much moody. He come to me when he want food or any other thing. He don’t play with me at all compare to other cats which my friends are having. I don’t know what to do with him. He get annoyed very easily. Any suggestions what should i do, so that he gets friendly with me.
I’m sorry to hear that. When I volunteered at the shelter where I found Chris, they had a very unfriendly ginger cat there. I think he was doomed to spend his days at the shelter because he was adoptable. I don’t know Mau’s story. Perhaps he was abused or had a very bad experience with humans before you found him. If you have other cats, maybe you can try putting him in a room by himself for a while. He could be upset by other cats and take his aggression out on you.
If you don’t have other cats, or even if you do, take things very slow. don’t pet him if he doesn’t like it. Talk gently to him and slowly put your hand toward him. Allow him to rub his face on your hand if he wants to. Hopefully he will, if not, jut keep being gentle with him. Hopefully he will get better.
Also, there could be other things upsetting him or he could have a chronic illness. When cats are sick they do a good job hiding it. If you can afford it, perhaps a vet visit is in order. I hope this helps. Good luck.
We are Siamese. Mom has always had Siamese cats since she was married like eons ago. Kali is a Flam Point Siamese and mostly white. Kali has liked everyone, people and cats, her whole life of14 years. I, on the other paw, am sceptical of peeps and cats I don’t know.
Kali was born into a loving home. I was born on the streets of Prince George and had to watch for introoders. Mom thinks this is a large part of the reason why we react differently.
Growing up outside does make a difference, although our black cat, Puck, was bottle fed and he is afraid of strangers, unlike our two gold cats. We also have a Siamese kitten that is very friendly but has shown some signs of being afraid of strangers too.
Growing up inside or outside does tend to make us wonder which is best. Shoko’s mom turned on her in the SPCA as her mom was not used to the cage and flipped out. This also may have had a lasting effect on Shoko. Perhaps its as simple as how peeps treated them in the past.
I read that the earlier a kitten has contact with humans, the less likely that he or she will fear humans in the future. From experience I know that every cat is an individual and there are no rules set in stone.
My ‘Batoo’ is a Sri Lankan ginger who has a different character than any other cats i previously had. And this is my first ginger buddy now he is 1 year and 1 month old. He is very affectionate and rarely roam prefers to sleep for hours. But he is a great fighter and hunter but most of his pray were alive and we could save their lives. He is very cuddly, and still plays with us. and i cannot find anything he scared of. At small age he was scared of a very big ginger male who bites and kills kittens. But now we can see that ‘Batoo’ is getting the power of the territory bit by bit. As meaning of his name he is not as little and now growing bigger and bigger (‘Batoo’ means a pet name for a very little and cute)
I like the name Batoo. Our black cat, Puck, hides when the vacuum comes out, but our two gingers, Chris and Frankie, barely notice.
I would say Gingers are a bit more friendly, our first one didn’t meow, just chattered. Our second, 18lb male Mr kitty, never shuts up, demands to be fed when he wants, makes sure everyone gets to pet him, and opens sliders and entry doors if they are not locked. If he wants something from the table, he just stretches up and gets it without leaving the floor as he is really long. I have caught our little female chihuahua licking his face for a bit then he will swat her, ( they only do that when no one is watching though ). Anyone that thinks they own a cat is mistaken, it is the other way around.
Sounds like my house. Is your female ginger too?
I must agree that you never really own any cat, they make sure you understand early on that they are present in your home, only so long as it suits them and the food is good. And amazingly, taken to a friend’s home to be cat sat, as long as the boxes are clean and the food and water dishes are full, they don’t seem to need you, at least not for a while, and not until after you’ve been ignored and punished for leaving them. My cats are 100% Canadian, however, they don’t get the least bit excited when we sing the National Anthem as the hockey game begins. Darn cats can’t carry a tune in a bucket. They also hate being inside for most of the winter. We have wolves, and/or more often coyotes that hunt rabbits just outside our front and back door. So we must be extra careful to be sure our cats do not become their dinner.
I’ve had two ginger males that were the friendliest, loveliest cats I have ever known. The first one, SIMON, was a neutered short-haired ginger tabby. He was most handsome, very friendly, and grew to be quite a size. As a kitten, he enjoyed waking me most morning by kneading whatever soft part of my body he found first. At the time, I was 16 years old, and I think I acquired him as a gift from a boyfriend, something I never allowed to happen again, Not that SIMON was a problem, he was a good cat, but he had a few bad habits that required work to get over. I believe that he was simply taken from the love of his family too soon. Once trained he was a very good cat. and everyone loved him in a big way. So that’s when I decided that my next cat should be a ginger male too.
A number of years later, my second ginger male came from a Cat Rescue in Vancouver, B.C. where I was visiting at the time. I named the wee furry kitten SINBAD, and I thought he was the sweetest ball of yellow fur I had ever seen. He was a long-hair, with a full front mane, he had all his shots, and a date set for him to be spayed. He stayed close by me where-ever I went including bus travel within the city, where he would mostly stay inside an over-sized purse I carried over my shoulder. Whenever he popped his head out for air and to see where we were going, other passengers would scratch his ears and head, and he would purr very loudly. One day as I was taking a warm bath, he decided to join me, climbing down into the warm water and slowly walking around the tub. He did it again on quite a regular basis, and as a consequence, he smelled clean and fresh always. He enjoyed the water a lot and wasn’t skittish about it unless his head went under, so I avoided doing that. He was one of those cats you could throw over your shoulder and he would stay to enjoy the scenery there for ages. I loved him more than any other animal I have ever owned. I believe, that when it comes to cats, that ginger is the colour to get and that the males are more loving, laid-back and affectionate than the females. I have only the proof I’ve seen with my own eyes, so I’m just saying.
Sixteen years ago, I inherited a long-haired, white, beige and black female cat that was neutered before we adopted her, and her name is HOLLYHOCK. She is very pretty, with a face like a flower, hence the name HOLLYHOCK. She has become a nice enough cat and is especially good to the hand that is feeding her. She loves to be brushed and cries for it anytime she walks near her brushing area, and/or actually, whenever she thinks brushing time has arrived. Unfortunately for the brusher, mid-brush is often where the friendly part ends. She had been declawed before we inherited her, so if you do anything she isn’t 100% in agreement with, she lets you know it with a nip or two and a slap on my often bare leg…sometimes with her fully intact hind claws out. Ouch! We do truly love her – maybe too much, but I do sometimes wish she was a ginger males on the days she gives me sass too often.
So the bottom line for me is, that if I still have time in my life for one more good cat, I believe I will find us a handsome little ginger male and see if I enjoy him as much as I did my SINBAD. But please, keep all this cat information to yourself…. and don’t let HOLLYHOCK know what I’m planning. She has ten more good swatting years left to disagree, and that could be painful !
Forgive me but I did not see your comment was in moderation until today. Thank you for sharing your story. Since writing that article, I have come to believe that it may be possible for a gene that determines fur color to also determine temperament. Technically, that wording is not correct but perhaps 2 genes on the same chromosome can be related. I don’t know and have yet to find any proof one way or the other.
Yes, like a trained police dog. There must be truth in it. I saw couple with ginger the same, their baby. He ate mc Donald’s he would beg biscuit and he came to me when I was crying, we could not be separated, I will never have another pushy the same.
I never saw a cat eat a biscuit before. A hamburger I can understand.
My beloved Himalayan flame pointed female cat died on: 13/06/20
She had PKD and her kidneys failed very fast during the lockdown in London , I think I got badly affected by her death because my grief was not normal and still is not normal so after 5 weeks I decided to buy a kitten and after a lengthly search I bought a ginger male kitten who was nearly 4 month old , he looked a bit Like Siamese cat but the seller was Arabic and didn’t speak proper English so I couldn’t find out His pedigree but when I got him home I was a bit shocked to see him running around and jump and tear up the wallpaper and smash things in the floor and generally not resting for a minute ! He is very highly strong and he likes to be stroked and he purrs a lot when I pet him but the moment he’s done with being stroked and petted he would simply attack my hand as if it’s a prey for him and bites me and scratches my hand really badly ! I’ve screamed loudly every time he’s done that behaviour and he’s not as aggressive as he was few days ago but I can’t trust him and when I’m near him I’d wear glasses to protect my eyes because he knows no boundaries and he would just jump on anything or any part of my body! When I compare his temperament with my deceased Himalayan cat it’s as if they are two different species because my Himalayan cat respected my body and she innately knew that wallpapers shouldn’t be scratched or objects shouldn’t be just tossed in the air and get smashed to pieces , she was a very rare breed and her mannerism matched her pedigree , I don’t think that I can be very happy with my ginger boy because I just can’t match his never ending energy , he can jump and run all day without a break ! That surely isn’t normal !
Our ginger Chris was like that when he was young. He did not bite my hand but he would attack our feet under the covers and he would bite my ears and my nose. These were love bites and they sometimes hurt but he would not draw blood. He gradually bit me less as he got older but he still bites my nose sometimes. On the plus side, Chris is extremely loving and affectionate. If your cat is drawing blood, that is not good. He has too much energy and gets wound up. He will get better but I don’t know how to stop him from hurting you right now.