A cat's colour could provide a clue to its behaviour, animal researchers say.

Their study suggests there is a link between the colour of its fur and its tendency to behave in an aggressive manner.

After a detailed analysis, tortoiseshell-and-white females - which are known as calico cats in the US - were found to be most aggressive towards humans, followed by black-and-white and grey-and-white cats.

The research was carried out by veterinary scientists at the University of California, Davis, and has now been published in the journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

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Research was based on online surveys of 1,274 owners, with an approximate 50/50 split between male and female cats. There were 13 coat colour categories in total.

Owners were asked to rate their cat's level of aggression towards people, with a 0 mark for 'never' rising to a high of five for 'more than once a day'. There were also scores given for aggression during handling and aggression during visits to the vet.

The experts said they wanted to test the "common assumptions" about cats with different patterned and coloured fur.

Cats that were black, grey, white or tabby were found to be the more placid, the study said.

Owners of the apparently wilder cats need not be alarmed, however. The researchers said that overall the aggression scores were very low.

- Daily Mail