From The Smithsonian blogs:
In a new study published in Anthrozoos, researchers from California State University and the New College of Florida set out to discover our hidden kitty biases with an Internet-based survey of nearly 200 people. They asked the participants to associate 10 personality terms (active, aloof, bold, calm, friendly, intolerant, shy, stubborn, tolerant and trainable) with five cat colors–orange, tri-colored (tortoiseshells and calico cats), white, black and bi-colored (white and anything else).
Some trends appeared in the data. Orange kitties were perceived as friendly and rated low in the aloof and shy categories. (They were also considered more trainable than were white cats, although the idea that anyone considers a cat trainable is kind of funny. Or am I betraying my own bias here?) Tri-colored cats rated high in aloofness and intolerance, and white cats were also considered aloof, as well as shy and calm. And bi-colored cats–which could have been any color, really, in the participants’ minds–were thought to be friendly. The data for black cats, however, was a bit muddier and no clear trends emerged.
The article goes on to say that there is no link between cat behavior and coat color. I don’t know. Based on my experience of living with cats for my entire life, I have noticed that tabbies, like my little buddy, seem to be the friendliest and best behaved cats, long furred cats are the quietest, and three-colored cats usually have “issues” of one kind or another. Our calico was extremely timid, scared of everything, often just plain nuts and, worst of all, loud. My tortie is very clingy and needy and when I won’t hold her she eats or just stands around looking confused and she often cries a really awful, bloodcurdling cry, like she is dying. Trust me, three-colored cats are nuts.
I once had a multi-colored tabby who had a very sweet personality. I don’t count her among the three-colored cats though because she literally had at least five different colors. Her head and body were gray and black striped with little splotches of orange and flecks of white and her legs were brown and cream striped.
I’ve had good luck with black cats too. We had one who stayed with us for five years and he was always nice and friendly and laid back when he was around, which was only when it was cold outside. In nice weather he insisted on being outside and only occasionally came in to eat. My mother’s favorite cat, one we had when I was elementary school age, was a long-furred black cat.
Finally, our favorite cat ever was a long-furred orange or yellow tabby, our dear departed Spot. (Yes, named after Data’s cat on Star Trek: TNG). I have pictures of her somewhere but not on Flickr, I don’t think. She was almost a person. Very independent but friendly, never mean, except to other cats. She really hated other cats.