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Calico Temperament? I want something playful and cuddly.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Do calicos have a typical temperament? I have an orange and white cat now and will be looking for a buddy for him soon. Moses has the typical active and very social orange cat personality, and I was wondering if calicos are the same. Does it make a difference if they're a dilute calico? What about the grey and white cats?

I'm looking for something playful, spunky, and cuddly/likes people. Although I'd love a pure-bred, I'm just going to get a shelter kitty this time around. What can I find at the shelter that will fit what I want?

Any suggestions are appreciated!!
post #2 of 17
Color has very little, if any, effect on least measurably. You'll hear tons of stuff about "tortitude" but personally, not every tortie I've met has a 'tude, nor does the attitude escape other cats.

My calico is a little doll. She snuggles, she plays, she comes when called, she's relatively mellow, she's very happy...she's just perfection in cat form. This is, by no means, the only personality a calico will have. Standard-bred cats (they're not actually
"mixes") have as many personalitiy/coloring combinations as people do!

The best thing to do when you go to a shelter is to not (as hard as this is) look at gender, color or specific age (obviously if you want a kitten, get a kitten, if you want a young cat look for cats under 5, if you want an adult look for cats 5-10, if you want a senior, look for cats over 10, etc) and to spend TONS of time with the kitty alone. If it's possible, make multiple trips to see the kitty on different days.

Remember, when adopting a kitten, their adult personality is something of a crapshoot. You'll get a glimpse of it perhaps, but almost every well socialized kitten is playful, squirmy and often snuggly and will settle into an adult personality that could be totally different than its kitten personality. There's no guarantee with ANY cat, but there's more of one with an adult, and they adjust to a new home just as well as a kitten. Heck, I had an 8 year old adjust to my home and my existing cats faster than a kitten I had adopted previously! Everything depends on the CAT, not the color, age, gender, etc.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm definitely going to look for a kitten with similar personality.

Why does my vet say that orange cats are wild and social and trouble-makers? Is that not correct?
post #4 of 17
Nope, sorry. Color has no measurable effect of personality. There are a lot of anecdotes out there, though, and I've seen it sometimes turn out to be true, and sometimes turn out to be very, very false.

Remember, with a kitten you have no guarantee that the cat will grow up to be cuddly or playful
post #5 of 17
Well, my experience disagrees on the color thing (known 6 calicos and 10 gingers, all but one of each fit the "personality" of the color, and I didn't know about this sterotype at the time). I haven't noticed any link with cats that don't have the red gene though. Black-based cats seem to come in all kinds. I'm highly suspicious that the red gene has something to do with both of these.

There are always exceptions though. Your best bet is to go to the shelter, tell them what you want, and be willing to wait for the right kitty.

Their personality at the shelter may differ from the personality at home, and as pointed out, you can never be sure with a kitten. If you can, find a shelter that fosters cats out, and visit the kitty at the foster home. The foster family should be able to tell you a lot about the cat.

My experience has also been that they settle into "adult" personality at around 2 years old, so take that into consideration if you're looking at a 1 year old cat. They've still got a lot of kitten personality at that age, even though they look like an adult. If you find a 3 year old cat that's spunky though, you've probably just got a cat with a spunky personality.
post #6 of 17
In general calicos and torties can have that "tortie" attitude which is more fiesty and "top cat" attitude.

I would not worry too much on color - if you like the cat's personality, that's more important then the actual color. Now if you want a certain color, then pick color 1st, personality 2nd. I'd try to find a personality similar to Moses for better compatability

All my "red" boys had that outgoing, active, wild guy type of crazy personality - expect for Reds - he was the exception
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the useful info!
post #8 of 17
I think we tend to notice the ones who fit the stereotype or notice individual behaviours that fit with the stereotype, whilst filing those that don't match up elsewhere in our brain, and mentally this allows us to back up our own preconceptions with observation - it's just part of being human

I think there are times when there may be some validity - being into Orientals, you can see some general personality types in different colours - but they are a breed which bred in different colours by outcrossing to other breeds, often not really that long ago, and the traits you see in different colours tend to relate to the breed that helped produce them. For example, blue Oris (and dilutes in general) were introduced by outcrossing to Russian Blue - and blue Oris are noted as being quiet and particularly sweet natured. Cinnamon Oris were from outcrossing to the Abyssinian and they are noted for their water loving tendencies...

But to get to the point here! If you're going to a shelter ask the staff and volunteers if there are any individuals in their care that fit what you are after, and I think you'd be best off looking at adults as personality is more obvious - kittens change quite a lot as they grow up, but around 10 months to a year old once hormones have settled down and they are going through social development into adulthood, their personality is most likely to stay consistent. Good luck in your search
post #9 of 17
My Calicos had the attidue problem. Only Butterscotch didnt have Attitude. We also had very mean Cats. They were White Cats with Spots on them and a tabby tail. Those too were the meanest Cats we ever had. not sure what you call that kind of Cat.
post #10 of 17
And we have 2 Siamese that don't fit any of the stereotyping for Siamese. They are both extremely affectionate, like people and don't have a nasty bone in their bodies.
post #11 of 17
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
And we have 2 Siamese that don't fit any of the stereotyping for Siamese. They are both extremely affectionate, like people and don't have a nasty bone in their bodies.
It's only the predominance of Siamese BYBs that have earned them that awful and unfair reputation though. A well socialised Siamese is a creature capable of immense love and affection
post #12 of 17
I've had several calicos and none of them were cuddly. They all had attitudes and in fact, were pretty much loners. I've had two red (orange) cats. One fit the stereotype the other didn't.
post #13 of 17
I have had many calicos and torties, none of which fit the silly stereotype. Its like saying readhaired people have a temper. Or blondes are dumb. Or brunettes are book-smart. Maybe they are raised to that stereotype?

I can tell you that Daphne is a sweetie. Fun, silly, goofy, playful, cuddly, intelligent and never ceases to amaze me. Sebastian can be cranky but so can I. He is also smart and cuddly.

I detest stereotypes and try to look beyond them whenever possible. I would look for personality and try to ignore the color unless there is a pattern you really have your heart set on Good luck!
post #14 of 17
I never really stereotyped my torties and treated them the same as any other cat in the house; yet a lot of them had the "tortie" attitude
post #15 of 17
my calico is a sweetie pie... she'll lift her nose for kisses, snuggles on my bed at night. she's very quiet, tho - hardly ever meows or purrs!
post #16 of 17
The majority of the calicos and ginger cats I have known were timid and sweet but shy. Not wild or cats with "attitude" at all. I have known a lot of cats and hardly any of the reds/oranges or calicos fit into that stereotype.
I can only think of one orange tabby, owned by a friend, who was a little mischevious and very playful and talkative with attitude, but he was a young male cat and also had the appearance of a Siamese mix... He is no longer playful or mischevious though now that he is older and, unfortunately, obese.
post #17 of 17
Neko, you obviously never met any of my red tabby rex boys
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