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Are Tuxedo Cats Smarter Than Other Coat Patterns? What Science Says

Tuxedo cats have one of the coolest coat patterns on the planet. This color pattern is distinctive, and it makes some people wonder if tuxedo cats are smarter than cats with other coat patterns. While it may sound plausible, no scientific evidence proves tuxedo cats are smarter than any other cat.

Let’s learn more about this cool-looking cat and what causes the unique coat pattern.


Are Cats Smart?

In short, yes cats are smart. These animals have evolved over thousands of years, and while they’re not comparable to, say, humans in intelligence, they have perfectly evolved to be intelligent at simply being cats and doing what they need to do, like stalking, hunting, and so on.

What Is the Average IQ of a Cat?

It’s not possible to measure the IQ of an animal other than a human, but there are ways to research cats’ cognition. When we talk about cognition, we are referring to the ways that cats gather information and make decisions, as well as how they behave.

According to some research, cats have a sense of object permanence, having working and well-developed long-term memory, can look at human gestures and cues and respond to human moods, can recognize human voices, and can even tell the difference between shorter and longer time periods, as well as different quantities. 1 If that doesn’t lead you to believe cats are intelligent, we don’t know what will.

Tortoiseshell Maine Coon cute cat playing with his snack puzzle toy
Image Credit: Maximilian100, Shutterstock

Signs Your Cat Is Smart

There are a couple different ways to tell if your cat is smart. For example, if you hide their treats in various places and they are able to find them. Or, your cat could be able to tell when you’re in a foul mood and they respond by laying on you, purring, or rubbing up against you to make you feel better. Simply put, if a cat can look at a situation and problem solve to get what they want, you can consider them to be smart.

Intelligent Cat Breeds

While most breeds are smart, some are certainly thought to be smarter than others.

Some intelligent cat breeds include:

Of these intelligent breeds, both the Persian and Scottish Fold can have the tuxedo coat.


What Causes the Tuxedo Pattern?

Contrary to belief, tuxedo cats are not a cat breed. Instead, they are cats with a distinctive bi-colored or “piebald” coat pattern marked with white patches from pigment cells multiplying randomly while the embryo is in the developmental stages. Piebaldism happens when the pigment-producing cells spread incorrectly through the embryo.

In normal development, pigment cells begin toward the back of the embryo and spread to the developing skin of the belly. They multiply as they spread, which results in more cells, with some left behind to ensure all skin is pigmented. Regarding piebaldism, the dark-colored pigment cells fail to reach the belly in time to pigment the skin and hair, which leaves distinctive white patches of skin and fur, hence the tuxedo pattern.

The black and white tuxedo pattern can be in long, short, silky, or even shaggy-haired cats and is found in many different cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon, Devon Rex, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Scottish Fold, and more. The color also isn’t always black and white; it can be brown, gray, or ginger and white.

tuxedo cat sitting outdoor
Image Credit: yannickmcosta, Pixabay

What Gender Are Most Tuxedo Cats?

Some may believe tuxedo cats are exclusively male due to the fancy tuxedo pattern. However, tuxedo cats can be either male or female. The Y chromosome that causes ginger cats to be male does not cause the tuxedo pattern; therefore, both genders can have the cool tuxedo attire in their skin and fur.


Tuxedo Cats Temperament Facts

Are Tuxedo Cats More Aggressive?

We know the tuxedo pattern does not equal more intelligence, but what about aggression? Surprisingly, studies show that black and white cats tend to be more aggressive than other cats.

The University of California Davis took data from an online survey of 1,274 random cat owners regarding their cats’ behavior. What they found was that female orange cats (tortoiseshells and calicos), black and white, and gray and white cats tend to be more aggressive in the following settings:

  • Being handled
  • During veterinary visits
  • Everyday interactions

Despite the findings, not all tuxedo cats are aggressive, so you shouldn’t let this bit of information deter you from adopting one. All cats have their own distinct personalities, and some behaviors are inherited through parent breeds.

Are Tuxedo Cats Affectionate at All?

Yes! However, black and white cats tend to be affectionate on their own terms, while solid black or gray cats tend to be the most affectionate and sweet. Tuxies, as they are affectionately called, can form strong bonds with their owners and may request some lap time. They can also be playful and mischievous with high energy and curiosity. However, keep in mind that these cats like their alone time, and they most definitely have an independent streak.

young blonde woman kneeling on the floor feeding one tuxedo cat while another cat is waiting
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock


Tips for Keeping Your Tuxedo Cat Happy and Safe

Given that the tuxedo cat has an independent streak, it’s best to respect his alone time and not force them to interact with you. While owning a tuxie, you should learn to accept affection on their terms, not yours!

Always feed your tuxie high-quality cat food with no added preservatives, fillers, or flavoring. Ensure you have plenty of toys for mental and physical stimulation, and keep all litter boxes clean and sanitary. Don’t forget to take your kitty for yearly veterinary checkups.


Final Thoughts

Despite lacking evidence of tuxedo cats being smarter than other cats, they still make excellent feline companions and have intelligence. Sure, they have an independent streak and only allow loving on their own terms; still, they can bond with their owners and be loyal and loving. They may be a little more aggressive than other cats, but all is well once you learn to respect their boundaries.

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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