Monday, November 16, 2009 11:03 AM

Why Gold Cats Are Special

When you've had cats around as long as I have, you tend to notice subtle differences between certain types. I don't say "breeds", because all of my cats have been the Heinz 57 variety. That said, I do feel very secure saying that gold tabbies have some characteristics that set them apart from all other cats.

One thing I noticed a long time ago is that the majority of gold cats tend to be male. Not to say that there are not females in this group. They're just less common. I think others know this, as well, hence the term, "marmalade tom". Despite the fact that the color scheme can run the gamut from an almost cinnamon hue to more of a buff color, they do seem to fall into two categories: Tough Guys and Big Babies (these are my terms). Whichever one you have in your life, though, be assured that underneath, they have a common trait of being very mellow cats.

The Tough Guys are often the alpha cat in a multi-cat household. If they are outdoor cats, they prevail in cat fights more often than not. With people, though, they are very loving and even-tempered. They love attention, and lean toward being lap cats. My first gold guy came to us from an abusive household. Despite this history, the only thing that made him nervous was seeing a pair of men's shoes. Luckily, he got over this quickly and became a very mellow fellow.

Currently, we have one of the Big Baby types, as does our pal, Miss P. Both our Goldie and her Punkin are indoor cats, so there are no worries about them getting into scrapes with other males. The first inkling I had that Goldie was not a Tough Guy was when the Bear became the top cat. Goldie is just fine with being number two! This type is also very mellow, but seem to retain their kittenish ways into old age. Goldie still gallops around, playing happily by himself if the others are napping. Their faces also seem to retain the big-eyed, kitten look all their lives, and they seem more capable than other cats of making funny faces. This probably accounts for the fact that you see photos of gold cats on cards and calendars more often than other color cats!

Gold guys also seem be better hunters than other male cats. Every now and then, a mouse finds its way into Miss P.'s old home, and Punkin is right on it (her other cat, Molly, is content to watch). In our house, we call Goldie the "spider hunter". They are his favorite snack, and he can spot one at 500 paces. Try as I might to rescue the poor creatures, Goldie usually has wolfed down his prey by the time I get there!

But don't take my word for it. Visit your neighborhood shelter and pick one out for yourself. Believe me, you'll never regret it!

Movie of the Week: The Taking of Pelham, 123 starring John Travolta and Denzel Washington. As good as the original, and much better than the remake of the 1970s. Really edge-of-your-seat stuff. Enjoy!
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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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