The different cat types

Cats are far from "all alike." Despite their persistent reputation as aloof killing machines, cats run a broad range of personality types, from quiet and detail-oriented to lively and kittenish.

It all depends on what kind of cat experience we seek.

Cats are highly emotional creatures who offer a variety of experience depths. But since the human default position is "indifference," and because cats are cautious about their trust, people often miss the distinctions that separate cat friendship from cat ownership.

The three cat types are:

Alpha: Lively, lithe, and a little bit loopy, Alpha-types are the kind of cat to get when our landlord won't allow monkeys. They need vertical playing surfaces to wear themselves out on, and plenty of things to do. They are natural clowns who love making us laugh.

In the shelter, look for leggy short-haired cats with triangular heads. Siamese, and their mixes, are the classic Alpha type.

Beta: Solid, mellow, and unflappable, Beta-types are team players who love the social interaction of close relationships. They are known for their quietly dry sense of humor. They are easily pleased and love to interact with us to meet mutual goals.


In the shelter, look for medium-bodied cats with round heads. British and American short-hairs, and their mixes, are the classic Beta type.


Gamma: Sweet, shy, and rarely getting into trouble, Gamma-types are happy with the little things in life. They are happy just being with their favorite people. While they are playful, they are the easiest to care for in small spaces.


In the shelter, look for medium-bodied cats with round heads. Persians, and their mixes, are the classic Gamma type.


With so many different variations on this theme; we can get the cat of our dreams.

Find out more about cat types.
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