Hereโ€™s All You Need to Know About Heritable Behavioral Differences Between Cat Breeds

Hereโ€™s All You Need to Know About Heritable Behavioral Differences Between Cat Breeds

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Did you think only humans inherited personality traits from their parents? Recent research has found that cats inherit behavioral traits from their breeds. The level of activity they indulge in, their aggressiveness, sociability, how shy they are โ€“ are all determined by the breed they belong to.

Although cats are possibly the second-most popular animal to be domesticated, not much research has been conducted into cat behavioral traits and its origin, until now. Researchers at the University of Helsinki found that the most difference, when it came to behavioral differences between cat breeds came with regards to activity level displayed. The least difference was observed in the stereotypical behavior that they adopted.

The focal investigator of this research group, Professor Hannes Lohi attributed this, to the fact that activity is more of a permanent trait than is stereotypical behavior, which isnโ€™t quite as static. Stereotypical behavior depends on the catโ€™s environment and may incorporate changes over time.

Three vastly different cat breeds were chosen for studying the hereditary of behavior and mannerisms in cats, with relation to their breeds. The three breeds, so chosen, were โ€“ the Maine Coon, descending from Nordic and landrace cat breeds, the Turkish Van, with no links to any other cat breed and the Ragdoll, a distant cousin of American and Western European cat breeds.

About half of all cat traits are inherited

The study found that of all the behavior traits examined, nearly half were passed down by breed. If the same cat breed did show distinct differences in behavior, it is possibly because they were subject to a behavioral trait selection and elimination process at the time of breeding.

The behavior of cats belonging to the same region may be similar despite breed differences, because of their shared history.

What piques the interest of the researchers now is how these behavioral traits came to be originated in the breeds.

The study conducted had asked for feedback on responses for 6,000 cats. It is the second-largest inventory of information collected on feline behavior in existence.

The same researchers have gone on to expand their sample size and now hope to collect information on 20,000 cats. We wish them all the best in their endeavor. After all, why should dogs have all the fun? Us, cat parents, need to know what goes on in our mysterious brains too.


The research performed by the University of Helsinki has thrown up numerous interesting nuggets of information. We now know that Bengal cats are among the most active and British short-hairs, just as lethargic. A Burmese cat will be amiable and friendly to a stranger, but a Russian blue will most likely shy away. Useful info? We'd certainly say so!

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