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Parents Determining Personality?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
First of all, thank you very much Elizabeth for spending some time with us and answering our questions relating to genetics. This is SO fascinating!

My question deals with how much parents determine personality. I read in a book that one of the parent plays a big part in determining the personality of the kittens, particularly dealing with feral cats. (Unfortunately I don't remember whether it was the mother or father. )

In addition to possibly being able to shed some light to rescuers, who may know that one or the other parent is feral, I'm particularly interested because of my own cat Ophelia. She came into our lives when she was about 6 weeks old, which is definitely young enough for her to socialized no matter what background she came from. She is now 4 years old, and has definitely maintained a lot of her feral characteristics - very shy, very jumpy, skitterish, doesn't like to be petted and especially not picked up. These are characteristics that I hear a lot from ferals that were socialized later in life.
post #2 of 4
Sorry everyone........computer glitches for me this morning!

As we've already discussed, behavior has a genetic component and there's a lot we still need to learn. But usually, that aspect is independent of which parent passes on the gene.
What you're talking about is more likely to be the environmental side of things......the learning. And daddy isn't helping to raise the kids, so mom is usually responsible for this aspect!
Again, we need to look at research from other species. Behavior research on dogs has shown that pup behavior is very much influenced by the dam's behavior.....they learn from her as they are raised. I'm sure the same is going on in cats! And to succeed in the feral life, you need to be wary and skittish and all those things that we'd rather not see in our house kitties.......
post #3 of 4
I too resuced a feral mom's Kitten........Mom was totally unaproachable!!! couldn't even get her to stay in a 100 yard distance from a human! But when I got my Baby Willow she was aprox. 3-4 months old. But she is the most lovey cat I have ever come across in my life!! She follows me around the house, if I am sleeping she is right there curled up next to me. If I am in the living room watching tv or what ever she is sitting on the couch next to me or on the back of the couch by my head.......She nothing like her mother that's for sure!!! Just thought I would give that example of my little girl concerning this matter.
post #4 of 4
Nothing is a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to behavior.....there's always plenty of variation, thank goodness!
Now a psychiatrist might say your sweetie suffers from insecurity........!
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