If you want a friendly cat, get a bald one! Researchers have ranked cat breeds from the most affectionate to the least, with the hairless Sphynx coming out on top. A study has ranked breeds of cats according to their friendliness, from the most affectionate to the least and according to the research the common moggy is the most unfriendly.
- Identified as the most unfriendly were non-pedigree, crossbreed “moggies” — also known as domestic short-haired cats — which are Britain’s most common variety. They scored poor marks for their interactions with humans, being the most likely to ignore their owners and run away from strangers.
- Pedigrees were found to be notably more amiable, and the friendliest of all was the hairless Sphynx cat, which was even happy to visit the vet and be bathed. The researchers believed the Sphynx’s affectionate nature could be due to its reliance on humans to keep warm. The Sphynx scored an average of 22.83, compared with 18.93 for the domestic short-haired. Sphynx cats are becoming increasingly popular, particularly with asthma sufferers because of their lack of fur.
Maine Coons and Persians, for instance, scored 20.76 and 20.38. Other pedigrees to score highly were Birmans, Somalis, Siamese, Russian blues and exotic shorthairs.
- The study also suggested that the greater affability of pedigrees came about because breeders tended to leave the kittens with their mothers for longer, during a crucial period in their development, when they are becoming used to humans. It could also be the result of selecting more friendly cats for breeding.
Owners were given a list of four words to describe their pet. Pedigrees were generally “clingy” or “friendly” and non-pedigrees tended to be “friendly” or “independent”. None was described as “wild”.
Dr Marie Abitbol, of the National Veterinary School of Alfort in Paris, where the study was carried out, said: “There is a clear difference in friendliness between the pure-bred cats and the domestic short-haired. In general, the pedigree cats are friendlier than non-pedigree.”
The study, published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, involved 129 cats from 14 breeds, as well as crossbreeds.
The cats ranged from kittens to animals more than 20 years old; some lived in homes with children and other animals, and others with just their owner. The cats were a mix of males and females, with some neutered and some not. Owners were asked a series of questions, ranging from how their cat would react when they entered a room, how often it would rub up against them, whether it would appear to avoid them, and how it would behave around strangers and vets. Each cat was given a “friendliness score” according to the responses.