The Least Popular Cat Color. Why This Shade Gets Overlooked


The coat color of cats has long been a topic of fascination for cat owners and breeders alike. Some colors, like the rare and exotic, are highly prized. Others, like black cats, have suffered from superstition and stigma. With so many coat colors and patterns possible in cats, which one is the least desired by potential adopters? Understanding coat color preferences and biases can help animal shelters and rescue organizations better market certain cats to find them loving homes. It also sheds light on persisting societal biases against certain types of cats. Exploring this question allows us to make more informed choices when adopting cats ourselves, and advocate for cats that tend to languish in shelters.

Black Cats

Throughout history, black cats have suffered from numerous superstitions that have created unwarranted fear and bias against them. Black cats are often associated with bad luck, witchcraft, and Halloween. In medieval times, they were even linked with evil and the occult, and thousands were killed during the Black Plague as people tried to eradicate the “bearers of bad luck and disease” (1).

These superstitions still linger today and have a detrimental impact on black cats’ adoption rates. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), it takes black cats about 20% longer to be adopted than cats with other coat colors (2). Shelters often have a hard time placing black cats around Halloween for fear that they will be used as props or harmed.

While the stigma remains in some areas, education efforts by shelters and advocacy groups are helping to overcome old superstitions. They aim to showcase black cats’ unique personalities, help people move past unfounded fears, and find these loving cats the caring homes they deserve.




White Cats

White cats are popular pets, however there are some concerns regarding congenital deafness. According to research from Cornell University’s Feline Health Center, only 17 to 22 percent of white cats with non-blue eyes are born deaf. This percentage rises to 40 percent if the cat has one blue eye. The cause is believed to be a degeneration of the inner ear (Ask Elizabeth: White Cats and Blindness/Deafness).

The inherited deafness is more common in white cats due to genetics and selective breeding. However, deafness can be managed through training and environmental adaptations (Inherited Deafness in White Cats).

Tabby Cats

Tabby cats are seen as the ordinary “house cat” that many people are familiar with. Their distinctive stripes in shades of grey, brown, orange, or other colors make them recognizable. However, this familiarity also leads to perceptions of tabby cats as being common or boring compared to other breeds and colors.

According to a survey by Alley Cat Allies, when asked people’s preferences between tabby cats and other colors, only 5% chose tabby as their top choice. The most popular choice was black cats at 46% ( On Reddit discussions, many note that tabby cats tend to linger longer in shelters compared to more “unique” looking cats (

While the ordinary appearance of tabby cats may not excite some adopters initially, their friendly temperaments and ubiquity make them excellent introductory cats for first-time owners. Their stripes also give them unique personalities. Advocates encourage look beyond physical appearance and learn more about tabby cat’s traits when considering adoption.

Tortoiseshell Cats

Tortoiseshell cats are known for their unique coats with patches of red, black, and orange fur. They are often confused with calico cats, but calicos have distinct white patches while tortoiseshells do not. There are many myths and misconceptions around tortoiseshell cat behavior.

Some people believe tortoiseshell cats have volatile temperaments because of their mixed coloring. However, studies have found no link between coat color and personality in cats. Their behaviors are more likely influenced by genetics and environment than fur patterns. Tortoiseshell cats span the full range of temperaments from mild to fiery. They are not inherently more aggressive or moody than other cats.

Another common myth is that tortoiseshell cats do not get along with other pets. In reality, their sociability depends on early socialization and personality, like any cat. With proper introductions and training, tortoiseshell cats can live amicably with dogs, other cats, and small animals. Their patched coats have no correlation to personality.

While some individual tortoiseshell cats may have distinctive temperaments, it is inaccurate to label the entire population as having certain behavioral traits. Their spirited reputations are not supported by evidence. With early positive experiences, these cats can become delightful and social companions. Their coat colors make them stand out, but they should not be prejudged based on appearance alone.

Calico Cats

Calico cats have a coat with three colors – white, orange, and black. They are almost always female because the gene for the orange and black coat colors is located on the X chromosome (Wikipedia). Since female cats have two X chromosomes and male cats have one X and one Y chromosome, calico coloring is extremely rare in male cats.

There is a common assumption that all calico cats are female. This is because the vast majority are female due to their genetic makeup. However, it is possible, though very uncommon, for a male calico cat to be born. This occurs if the cat has an extra X chromosome (XXY) or through a genetic mutation like chimerism where two embryos fuse together.

So while almost all calico cats are female, the assumption that they can only be female is not entirely accurate. With genetic variations, male calico cats are possible, though very rare.

Siamese Cats

Siamese cats have developed a reputation for being aggressive and mean. This perception comes from some of their inherent behavioral traits. According to the Untamed Cat Food blog, Siamese cats are “prone to problematic behavior that can occasionally turn into aggression.”

However, many Siamese cat owners argue that the breed is no more aggressive than other cats. As one Reddit user states, “Siamese cats are no more evil or aggressive than the average cat of any other breed, in my experience.”

While Siamese cats are very vocal and active, with proper training and socialization from kittenhood they can make very loving and affectionate pets. Their reputation may be somewhat exaggerated, though prospective owners should be prepared to provide proper outlets for their energy and interaction to prevent problem behaviors.

Persian Cats

Persian cats are known for their long, flowing coats and pushed-in faces. While endearing, these traits also come with some health issues due to selective breeding. According to the Royal Veterinary College, nearly 65% of Persian cats have at least one disorder. The most common issues in Persian cats include dental disease, tear staining, and polycystic kidney disease.

Persian cats are prone to respiratory issues and breathing difficulties due to their flat faces. Their nasal passages are compressed, making it harder to breathe, especially in hot weather. Their large, round eyes also tend to weep, leading to reddish tear stains on the face. Dental disease is common since their teeth are crowded in the small jaw. Lastly, around 40% of Persians suffer from polycystic kidney disease which causes fluid-filled cysts that can impair kidney function.

While Persian cats make endearing pets, prospective owners should be prepared to provide extra care and veterinary visits to manage any potential health issues. Their longevity and quality of life can be improved through a healthy diet, dental care, monitoring fluid intake, and regular checkups.

Hairless Cats

Hairless cats like the Sphynx breed have an unusual appearance due to their lack of a fur coat. As described by Wikipedia, “Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history, breeders in Europe have been developing the Sphynx breed since the early 1960s.”

These cats were bred to be completely hairless, with muscular, wedge-shaped heads, and bodies that feel warm and soft to the touch. Their skin may appear wrinkled or have a “peach fuzz” texture. While unusual looking, the Sphynx is a popular and affectionate breed. As Chewy notes, “Though the Sphynx is arguably the most popular of the hairless cats, these ‘bald cats’ come in many shapes and sizes.”

Due to their lack of fur, hairless cats like the Sphynx require special care such as bathing, sunscreen when outdoors, and keeping warm indoors, according to a Quora discussion. Their unique appearance results in hairless breeds often being in high demand.


In summary, when it comes to the least desired cat colors, research shows that black cats tend to be adopted less often than cats of other colors. This is likely due to superstitions and associations with bad luck that have surrounded black cats for centuries. White cats are also less popular, possibly because some people find their constantly shedding white hairs unappealing. Of the traditionally colored cats, tabbies, tortoiseshells and calicos tend to be most popular thanks to their bold, vibrant patterns that many cat lovers find attractive. So in general, it seems black cats followed by white cats are the least desired due to cultural biases, while bolder colored cats with interesting patterns are most sought after.

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