Bald cats 'friendliest' but common moggies are 'grumpiest'
Researchers have ranked cat breeds from the most affectionate to the least, with the hairless sphynx coming out on top and the common moggy being named the most unfriendly.
By reputation, they are aloof and solitary creatures, which only display affection grudgingly and judiciously but this popular perception of cats turns out to be unfair - while many are surly, this is down to their breed and others are far more genial.
Cats identified as the most unfriendly were non-pedigree, crossbreed "moggies" - also known as domestic short-haired cats - which are Britain's most common variety.
Moggies scored poor marks for their interactions with humans, being the most likely to ignore their owners and run away from strangers.
Pedigrees were found to be notably more amiable, and the friendliest of all was the hairless sphynx cat, which was even happy to visit the vet and be bathed.
The researchers believe that the sphynx's affectionate nature could be due to its reliance on humans to keep warm.
The study also suggested that the greater affability of pedigrees came about because breeders tended to leave the kittens with their mothers for longer, during a crucial period in their development, when they are becoming used to humans.
It could also be the result of selecting more friendly cats for breeding.
The cats ranged from kittens to animals more than 20 years old; some lived in homes with children and other animals, and others with just their owner. The cats were a mix of males and females, with some neutered and some not.
Owners were asked a series of questions, ranging from how their cat would react when they entered a room, how often it would rub up against them, whether it would appear to avoid them, and how it would behave around strangers and vets.
Each cat was given a "friendliness score" according to the responses.
The sphynx scored an average of 22.83, compared with 18.93 for the domestic short-haired. Because the numbers of other breeds in the survey were generally small, they were grouped together to score an average for pedigrees of 20.40.
In cases where there were more than just a handful of a particular breed, they were always found to be friendlier than moggies.
Maine Coons and Persians, for instance, scored 20.76 and 20.38. Other pedigrees to score highly were Birmans, Somalis, Siamese, Russian blues and exotic shorthairs.
Owners were given a list of four words to describe their pet. Pedigrees were generally "clingy" or "friendly" and non-pedigrees tended to be "friendly" or "independent". None was described as "wild".
"There is a clear difference in friendliness between the pure-bred cats and the domestic short-haired. In general, the pedigree cats are friendlier than non-pedigree," the Telegraph quoted Dr Marie Abitbol from the National Veterinary School of Alfort in Paris, where the study was carried out, as saying.