Is the Sphynx Cat the Friendliest Breed?
Study finds purebred cats overall are more affectionate than moogiesPublished December 13, 2012
Cat lovers who are partial to mixed breed kitties may have a hissy fit after reading the results of a study recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
According to an item in the UK Telegraph, researchers found that cat guardians consider pedigreed felines far more affectionate than their Heinz 57 variety feline cousins, aka mixed breeds. These non-purebreds, or moggies as they are called in England, were actually rated as the most unfriendly while the hairless Sphynx breed received the highest marks in the area of “sweetness.”
Involved in the study were 29 cats from 14 different breeds which also consisted of cross breed felines. The subjects included felines ranging in age from kitten hood, to senior catizens over the age of 20. The subjects’ genders included both males and females, some of whom were either neutered/spayed, or still intact. Some of the cats shared their home with just their guardian, while others lived with children and other pets.
The owners were challenged with a series of questions which ranged from how often their cat rubbed up against them, if their cat seemed to avoid them, the cat's reaction when they entered a room and how the cat responded to strangers and veterinarians. Depending on their answers the cats were given a "friendliness score".
Based on the owners' responses, when more than just a few of a certain breed were represented, it was discovered these cats were always considered much friendlier than the moggies. As an example, Persians and Maine Coons received scores of 20.38 and 20.76, with other pedigreed kitties such as Russian blues, Somalis, Siamese, Exotic shorthairs and Birmans scoring highly. The Sphynx breed’s average score was 22.83 while the domestic short-haired kitties scored only 18.93. The remainder of the other pedigreed cats in the study scored an average of 20.40.
When asked to use four words to describe their pet's personality, the pedigrees were generally referred to as “clingy" or "friendly, while the mixed breed kitties were frequently described as "friendly" or "independent". Neither of the groups was described as "wild."
The study was conducted in Paris, at the National Veterinary School of Alfort. Staff member Dr. Marie Abitbol 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."
What this writer found quite interesting was that the researchers’ speculated the reason for the high score in “affection,“ which the Sphynx breed achieved, was due to their dependency on humans to keep warm.
Since the breed is virtually “hairless”, the Sphynx is becoming quite popular with folks with respiratory problems, although these cats require considerable extra care. In Great Britain, the price tag for a Sphynx can reach as high as £3,000, (approximately $4,000 USA).
What was your reaction to this study? Share your thoughts in a comment.