1 - Are white cats deaf and those of three colors are always females?

It depends. In the first case, the reason is not related to color, but to the presence of a gene (W) that is dominant and determines not only the white color, but also the atrophy of the organ of Corti, which is found in the cochlear duct of the ear and causes deafness in the animal.

Read also: Cats and horses, how the spots on the hair are born

Spotted cats, or turtles, those with orange, black and white fur, are almost always females, and this is also due to genetic reasons. The gene that determines the black color and the orange one, in fact, are both present on the sex chromosome X. In order for both to manifest, there must be two X chromosomes: this occurs only in females. In males the sex chromosomes are X and Y, with the exception of some cases XXY, in which the animals are tricolor.

2 - Are they picky with food?

Not exactly: it is more correct to say that they love variety, and alternate between foods with different flavors and textures. Feeding a cat with the same food throughout its life could lead to a total rejection of that food, or it could convince him that it is the only food possible, trapping it in its own habits.

Why are cats so selective about food?

3 - Is it no good talking to them?

No, indeed. Cats are very sensitive to the sound of the human voice, and are easily frightened if someone yells (or even if he speaks in a particularly shrill tone, or at high volume). Educating a cat also means getting him used to the sound of our voice: using a calm tone of voice with a frightened cat is the best way to calm him.

4 - Are they afraid of loud noises?

The hearing of cats is extremely developed, and some daily noises (from the hair dryer to the vacuum cleaner, to the television with high volume) could scare him to death, especially in the first months of life.

This does not mean that they will never be able to bear them: thanks to a process called "habituation" it is possible to make them tolerant even to the loudest noises. Such as? Making them listen first at low volume and from afar, then gradually increasing their intensity.

5 - They don't care about their master?

Absolutely not: even if the cat is a solitary animal, he also appreciates the company. However, it is true that living under the same roof does not necessarily mean becoming friends: in nature, a cat would see a human being as a potential predator, and it is important to caress and handle it gently from the first weeks of life, to accustom it to human contact and let him know that it is pleasant.

6 - Do the sterilized ones live longer?

Basically yes. A cat without sexual instincts does not need to fight for the territory, nor to leave in search of a partner. However, it also has more appetite than a fertile one, compared to a decrease in energy needs and physical activity: this means that, if the weight is not kept under control, the animal is at risk of obesity, a condition that it greatly reduces life expectancy.

7 - Are spiteful animals?

It may seem. For example, when you punish a cat that made it out of the box, you end up making it feel even more uncomfortable, and will therefore be more inclined to repeat the gesture. It is therefore important to understand the reason for a behavior that we perceive as a spite: staying with the previous example, cats hate dirty litters, and if they begin to "mess around" maybe it's time to change the sand.

Gabriele Ferrari for the Cani & Gatti guide

With the advice of Maria Cristina Crosta, veterinary surgeon at the Gran Sasso Clinic in Milan, and Laura Borromeo, feline behaviorist.