I’m stuck for a topic tonight, so I grabbed this phrase that someone typed in and was somehow led to my site. It has been a number of years since I actually had a mackerel tabby — Julie is a classic tabby.
I imagine that the question comes from the same reductionist mindset that considers red-headed people to be more ‘firey’ than normal folk. For humans this could happen because the parents of said child might tend to let a red-head get away with things that would get a brunette a spanking for being a brat. Cat parents are unlikely to have any similar biases.
My own non-scientific observation is that personality in a cat is to a great extent learned rather than inborn, and any inherited part must be in a large set of genes in order to produce the fine shades of results required. If it were tied to one gene like the Tabby gene, then there must be only as many different kinds of personality as there are kinds of Tabby gene…which is two kinds…Tabby and Classic.
But wait, it gets worse!
There’s no reason to think that the personality effect of the Tabby gene would only be present if the fur pattern is visible. Every cat has a Tabby gene, but its expression might be hidden by the Agouti gene (as in Calpurnia and Gus), or by the Dominant White gene or even by White Spotting gene. So a cat with a “Mackerel Tabby Personality” might not appear to be a tabby at all. And in this case, it would be a personality that is shared by more than half of all cats in the world.
And even if you had such an indicator, it would not do you much good, since so much of how a cat acts is a reflection of how everyone acts around it. A naturally shy cat may react well to a quiet person and environment and become open, and the boldest cat may become invisible in a loud and chaotic environment. Even overly exuberant displays of affection can be too much for a cat, which sometimes leads to the seeming paradox of the cat attaching more to someone who likes the cat less.
Calpurnia has a quirk in that regard that I might have mentioned. In some ways she is the boldest of the cats – she runs less from visitors, or from the vacuum cleaner than the boys. Yet she has a tendency to skitter away from you when you are standing up and walking around. But if you lie down flat she will pop up and visit within minutes. So is she more brave, or less, than the boys?
You can’t fit a cat into a box like that.
But if you put the box onto the floor they will fit themselves in most of the time.