Well now, just a minute here... I think we may be overlooking some facts in our eagerness to disclaim "kitty racism." I'm not an expert on this, by any means, and if there are real geneticists among us, I hope they'll correct any errors I make. But let me try to make a general point here:
1. It is perfectly true that certain character traits are often linked to specific breeds
in cats (and dogs as well). The entire pet breeding industry is (for better or worse) predicated at least partly on this fact.
2. Calico and tortie are not
breeds, however, but colors.
Still, color is an inherited trait, so genetics does play a part in it.
3. We all know that white cats with blue eyes are often deaf. That's because of the proximity of the genes for White, Blue-Eyed, and Deaf: where one is present, the others are also likely to occur.
4. So why would it be difficult to imagine that a gene for hypersensitivity,
for example, might exist in close proximity to the one for a tortie coat, so that the two would usually occur together?
5. Before you presume that I would make the same generalization about people,
consider this: the shorter lifespan, more frequent reproduction, and more heavily instinct-based behavior of cats (not to mention directed breeding) all contribute to the perpetuation of "genetic cliches" like the classic diva calico. The obvious differences in human reproduction choices and timelines, plus the much more intense role of "nurture" in the development of human personality, drastically reduce the effect of genetics on human behavior...
6. ...Reduce, but do not eliminate: who among us has not been told we have Uncle Max's sense of humor or Great-Grandma Mary's soft heart, even though we may never have met them? There are indeed genetic influences in human behavior, and just as in cats, human personality traits can be genetically linked to characteristic appearance, as well. Perhaps the genes for red hair and a hot temper occur in close proximity, and that's why redheads have such a fiery reputation. (Again, a "coloring" example, rather than one of breed or race.)
7. But again, largely because our upbringing plays such a major role in our personality, we humans quite rightly place less emphasis on the genetic element. Just as it is ignorant and foolish to make assumptions about a person based on the color of his skin, it is unwise and unfair to presume that every tortie will be "difficult." (However, it is somewhat less
unfair in the case of cats than in the case of humans. For the reasons stated above, genetic stereotypes tend to apply a lot more often in cats than in people.)
8. So... the personality of a cat may be somewhat
predictable, based on breed and/or coloring, and with no account allowed for formative experiences. But no one who loves and understands cats would pass such rash judgment! Cats, dogs, people... we all deserve to be understood and appreciated as individuals.
...As Sassy, our temptuous little cali-tortie, never lets us forget!