CAT TYPECASTING

Cat typecasting is when people prefer some cats over others because of their fur. This is when humans make judgments about cats not by their personality but by the color of their coats. Typecasting cats because of their color is a real problem, hurtful to too many cats, and scientifically untrue. 

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Picture by Meow or Never, see about adopting from them here.

How Different Colored Cats are Percived

Typecasting cats is not talked about very much because most people do it subconsciously or they don’t want to admit they judge cats by their coat color. There have been many studies that prove that almost all people typecast cats. A 2002 study, researchers from California State University and The New College of Florida surveyed 200 people to see how they classified differently colored cats. Another similar study conducted by Berkeley University asked what words people used to classify different colored cats. The results showed similar trends.

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Sara B from Meow or Never, see about adopting them here.

Orange cats - friendly, outgoing, playful, etc. Orange cats were perceived as friendly and easier to train than other cats.

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Picture of Cookie Monster and Elmo from Meow or Never, see about adopting them here.

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Bubbles from Meow or Never, see about adopting them here.

Tortoiseshell and white cats - Shy, aloof, mean, etc. White cats were considered as aloof but also shy and calm.

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Picture by Meow or Never, see about adopting from them here.

Twitter by  Meow or Never, see about adopting from them here.

Tri-Colored cats were seen as aloof and intolerant. Bi-colored cats (which could be any two colors) were seen as friendly.

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Tulip from Meow or Never, see about adopting from them here.

 Black cats - Evil, witches, Halloween etc. In the first study, black cats had no clear trends in people's answers.

This proves that people have a collective idea of what certain cats are and are not.

Why Does it Matter?

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Emily from Meow or Never, see about adopting from them here.

Typecasting is harmful to cats in many ways. For one thing, people might be less inclined to buy a cat just because it is black. Some shelters even postpone the adoption of black cats around Halloween due to what misguided people might do to the cats because of the superstitions around them. People may also buy a cat expecting it to fit into its typecasted personality trait while in truth the cat might have a different personality, so the owners might become dissatisfied with the cat and end up returning it. For example, a small family is looking for a friendly cat so they adopt an orange cat (known to be friendly and good with children,) but the cat in truth is very shy and not a “good fit” so they return him. 

Around 1 million cats end up in shelters each year and many of them are euthanized. It is proven that black cats have a higher euthanization rate than all other cats because of their unfortunate ties with evil and death. A 2002 study showed that 1 out of 4 cats are brought to shelters because they do not get along with their owner. This is partly connected to typecasting.

Typecasting can and does affect cats in a negative way, even though it is proven to be false. Social media and the internet promote typecast cats, such as the fancy longhaired cat promoting Fancy Feast and the black cats pictures always circulating during Halloween to name a few. Even so, it has been proven there is no correlation between cats’ personalities and their fur color. 

“To date, there is little evidence that these perceived differences between differently colored cats exist, but there are serious repercussions for cats if people believe that some cat colors are friendlier than others.” Mikel Delgado doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley said. (Yasmin Anwar) 

These are just some of the reasons typecasting cats is a real problem in the world today. It is hurtful to many cats, and it has been proven that there is no correlation between cats’ personalities and their fur color.  People need to be more aware when picking out their new fluffy friend and educate others about cat typecasting so they can be aware about this problem in the world today.

sources cited

Yasmin Anwar, M., & Anwar, Y. (2015, July 21). Don't be so fast to judge a cat by its color, study warns. Retrieved September 16, 2020, from https://news.berkeley.edu/2012/10/23/cat-color/     

Zielinski, S. (2012, October 29). Judging a Cat (Wrongly) by the Color of its Coat. Retrieved September 16, 2020, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/judging-a-cat-wrongly-by-the-color-of-its-coat-97549864/

upi.com, (. (2012, October 25). Study: Cat colors can affect adoption rate. Retrieved September 16, 2020, from https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/10/24/Study-Cat-colors-can-affect-adoption-rate/69711351127553/ 

*all pictures have been taken from Meow or Never. Go to https://www.meowornever.org/adopt/ to see about adopting them