Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Orange Cats Dumb? Myth vs Fact

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

ginger cat on woman's lap

Orange kitties are not only popular, they’re quite lovable as well. Anyone who’s owned an orange cat has their own reasons for loving them as much as they do, but there are some pretty standard myths about these cats.

A common rumor is floating around the web these days. People are claiming that orange cats are dumber than other cats. But is this true? Not necessarily. Orange cats aren’t “dumb,” but they are considered to be more needy than other cat colors, which can make them come across as less intelligent. Let’s learn more in this article.


Orange Cat Intelligence: What’s the Truth?

Before we get into this too much, you have to keep in mind that every single cat is unique in their own right. Some of them are incredibly swift and intelligent while others are more laid back and relaxed. Sometimes, certain personality traits can come off as unintelligent when it’s not necessarily the case.

Orange cats are certainly lovable and they will pine for your affection. They tend to be a little more dependent on their human companions than some other colored cats.

ginger cat looking up and meowing
Image Credit: savitskaya iryna, Shutterstock

Evidence of Coat Color Impacting Personality

If you have owned cats in your lifetime, you might notice that each pattern and color you choose seems to be vastly different from the next.

You might have known so many cats in your life that you start developing stereotypes of your own. Each different color of cat tends to say something about their overall energy levels and personality. But you have to consider other things as well.

Believe it or not, scientists have dabbled in cat coat color research. There is only a hypothetical component to these theories at best. However, scientists suggest that there could be a correlation between the pigment melanin, which shares a thin synthesis pathway to neurotransmitters in the brain, and personality.

Catecholamines and neurotransmitters, like dopamine, could possibly tie into personality traits based on pigmentation. Ultimately, little research has been done on the topic. Several factors play into cat personality, and the results are mixed at best.

If you have a purebred cat, just like purebred dogs, they exhibit certain personality traits and levels of marked intelligence. So not only are we going to fill you in on what the experts say about orange cats, but you’re also going to get a little taste of some personality traits throughout the cat kingdom.

Stereotypes About Orange Cats

Where the orange cat may not be stupid by any stretch, they might be more needy or dependent, which can come across as less intelligent. If your cat is constantly following you around like a shadow and doesn’t seem to know how to take care of themselves, you can easily see how they can have a reputation for being unintelligent.

Typically, animals that we consider very smart are those that display a lot of independent qualities and problem-solving skills. If you ask many cat owners, they might tell you that their male orangie is more dense-acting than an orange female. Orange females to be sharper and keener to their surroundings. However, that’s not true in every case. There will be some male orange cats that can exhibit higher independence skills.

Ultimately, every single cat will have their own individual personality. With harmful stereotypes, it can be difficult for certain felines to find a home. A good example of this is the superstition people associate with black cats.

Statistically, black cats are the least likely color to be adopted based on their association with old folklore. Black cats are also thought to be unlucky. Then you have cats that are thought to have supreme intelligence, which isn’t really based on color. Some species that are considered very smart include the Bengal, Abyssinian, and Savannah cats.

While these are ridiculous and any owner of a cat will tell you that they’re marvelous creatures, these ideas can really stick in people’s minds. So, in any case, when you’re adopting a cat, you should always do so based on personality and try to disregard color, no matter how cute they might be.

ginger cat lying in bed
Image Credit: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock

hepper cat paw divider

The 9 Facts About Orange Cats!

Want to get a little taste of orange cat facts? We have nine of them for you to check out.

1. Female Cats Are a Rarity

Did you know that if you see an orange cat, there is a high chance it’s a male? That is because, thanks to genetics, males make up 80% of the orange cat population. But what makes this so? It’s all about the particular genes.

The gene that produces the orange color is on the X chromosome. Females have to have two copies of this gene in order to become an orange cat. However, their male counterparts only need a single gene.

Ginger cat sitting on the owners jeans
Image Credit: Maliflower73, Shutterstock

2. No Orange Cat Is Solid Orange

While some cats may fool you, the orange cat is never solid orange. All orange cats are tabby cats, but not all tabby cats are orange. Tabby also comes in the beautiful black and gray colors we all know and love.

Ticked tabbies are tabbies that give the impression their coat is a solid color. One of the dead giveaways on this coat type is the M shape on the forehead. This is a precise marking in the tabby coat pattern. You might also notice light banding around the legs or tail.

Otherwise, tabby cats can also have mackerel, classic, and striped patterns.

3. The M on the Forehead Gave Way to Many Myths

Everyone is familiar with the giant M on the forehead of any orangie. This sparked myths such as the one of Mother Mary and baby Jesus. Rumor has it that on the night of Jesus’s birth, he was very cold and shivering in his manger.

Since Mother Mary couldn’t find any way to keep her fresh little baby warm, she asked some of the farm animals to keep him warm. An orange tabby crawled up in the manger and voluntarily cuddled with Jesus to keep him cozy.

Mary was so grateful for the orange cat’s services that she imprinted her initial upon its forehead as a blessing. It is interesting how stories developed over generations.

Ginger cat on laying on towels on washing machine
Image Credit: mama_mia, Shutterstock

4. Orangies Share a Pigment with Red Headed Humans

Have you ever wondered what gives orangies their delightful ginger hair? It is coincidentally the exact same pigment that gives red headed humans their color. This pigment is called pheomelanin. What is interesting is that red headed people are notorious for being quicker to anger, fiery, and all sorts of other similar stereotypes.

However, orange cats are known for their docile nature and friendly behavior. So even though the two might look very similar in color, their reputations differ.

5. Orange Tabbies Are Known for Being Affectionate

As we lightly touched on above, orange cats love being affectionate with their owners. They tend to work very well with other household family members including furry ones. Orange cats get along swimmingly with other cats, dogs, and even farm animals if you have them.

But as with any cat, as they are predators, you should never introduce them or leave them alone with small cage animals.

Ginger cat laying on lap
Image Credit: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A, Shutterstock

6. Males Tend to Be Very Vocal

It’s not that their female counterparts can’t be chatty themselves, but male orange cats tend to be particularly vocal. That doesn’t mean they will annoy you with squalling and other constant noises, but they tend to meow a lot at their human companions.

7. Females Are Fabulous Hunters

Both male and female orange cats can have a very strong desire to hunt. A cat of any breed is usually very tantalized by small things that move quickly. It’s just in their nature! However, female oranges get the badge for being the best hunters of the two.

While it’s not down to an exact science, it seems that female oranges tend to have a higher prey drive and more successful kill than their male counterparts.

ginger cat in garden
Image Credit: Friday Images Stock, Shutterstock

8. The Orange Color Shows Up In Just About Every Cat Breed

As any cat lover knows, there are quite a few purebred cat breeds out there. No matter if you have a mixed domestic shorthair or specialized breed, the orange color can show up in just about any of them.

Some cat breeds don’t have any orange color, but this is usually only if the breed is very color-specific. An example of this would be the Siamese, Bombay, or Russian Blue cats—as these have very specific coloration as part of the breed standard.



Now you know that orange cats are the bee’s knees. They have a more dependent nature, but luckily, it has nothing to do with their intelligence. They are sure to impress you with their smarts, even if they are a little needy. If you already have an orange, tell the person insulting your cat that orange cats are smart too!

Featured Image Credit: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database