Why Are So Many Calico Cats Female
It’s a fact that 99.9 percent of all calico cats are female because of the unique chromosomal makeup that determines the color variations in their coats.
The sex chromosomes determine whether a cat will be male or female. Each cat has a pair of sex chromosomes with the possible combinations of XX and XY . The X chromosome also carries the coding gene for the black and orange colors in a calico’s coat.
Female calico cats have two X chromosomes, and therefore have two chromosomes with color code. Only if the cat gets one orange-coded X and one black-coded X, she will be calico, expressing both black and orange coloration.;
For example, a cat receives an X chromosome from her mother that codes for black fur and an X chromosome from her father that codes for orange fur. While it only takes one X chromosome to make the fur a certain color, females are special with two X chromosomes. During development, one X chromosome will override the other, allowing either black or orange to be the dominant color. This particular color development occurs in each individual cell, shutting down one X chromosome while allowing the other to be active. With varying dominant X chromosomes, a cats colors will also vary, which gives calico cats the orange and black colors.
But, where do the white patches come from? To make things even more complicated, calico cats must also inherit a gene unrelated to the X and Y chromosomes that codes for white fur.
Bringing Home A New Cat
When choosing your new cat, be sure to base your choice on more than coat color. Let the adoption staff know about your home, activity level and if you have other pets, as many staff members will know the cats in their care exceptionally well.
Keep in mind that the shelter is a terrifying place for most animals, and some may act completely shut down or aggressive in the shelter when they are amazingly sweet, affectionate and outgoing in a home. While the staff may not be able to tell you exactly how a cat will act in your home, they may be able to guide you toward a cat they think will be a great fit.
If you dont currently have a cat, consider adopting a bonded pair of adult cats. Bonded pairs have a hard time getting adopted, but they have twice the amount of love to give. They can keep each other company as well as help each other stay fit and exercised.
The only thing better than one calico cat is two!
Certain Cat Breeds Are More Likely To Be Calico
Weve already established that calico cats are not a breedand therefore cant be bred! Well, not only that: As stated earlier, the ultra-rare male calico cat is nearly always sterile.
However, certain cat breeds are more likely to present with the calico pattern. These breeds include the American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Exotic Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail , Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Scottish Fold, and Turkish Angora/Van.
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How Long Do Calico Cats Usually Live
Being Calico doesnt affect the longevity of a female cats life. Many healthy cats can live to be around 15 years old or more. Of course, every individual cat is different, and this rule of thumb doesnt apply to male Calico cats.
Unfortunately for these tri-colored guys, they often suffer from Klinefelters Syndrome because of their XXY chromosomes. This condition can negatively impact their health and result in shorter lifespans. Some problems associated with Klinefelters Syndrome include:
- Cognitive and developmental issues that can lead to behavioral problems
- Reduced bone mineral content that can up the risk for broken bones
- Increased body fat, which can lead to conditions such as joint pain, heart disease, and diabetes
Its possible for male Calico cats with Klinefelters Syndrome to lead full and happy lives, but they may require special care to help deal with these issues.
But Thats Still Not Calico
That still doesnt answer our question: are all calicos female, because tortoiseshells are missing one of the three calico colors!
Calico cats are fundamentally tortoiseshell cats, but with an extra layer of genetic instructions.
As well as the same gene expression giving them a mottled black and ginger appearance, they also have the White Spotting gene, which layers white spots over the top of the black and orange pattern.
So calico cats are always female because underneath the white patches they are tortoiseshells.
And tortoiseshells are always female because only female cats have two X chromosomes and carry two sets of instructions about coat color.
Male cats cannot usually be tortoiseshell or calico because they only have one X chromosome, which means they can only carry genes for orange or black fur, not both. Take a closer look at male ginger cats in this guide.
So, to summarise calico cats are female because their two X chromosomes make it possible!
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How Common Are Calico Cats
How common are calico cats? About one in every 3,000 calico cats is born a male, and, unfortunately, dont live as long as female calicos due to their genetic abnormalities. XXY Syndrome renders male calicos sterile and can be the root cause of many other health problems.
How rare is a calico cat?;A: I hate to burst your bubble, but although male calicos are rare, trying to breed one will be a bust. Approximately 1 out of every 3,000 calico cats is male, according to a study at the University of Missouris College of Veterinary Medicine, but they are generally sterile.
What percentage of cats are calicos?;99.9% are. Of all the calico cat facts on our list, this one sounds the most like a mythbut it isnt!
Why are calico cats common?;Calico cats are almost always female because the locus of the gene for the orange/non-orange coloring is on the X chromosome. Such a combination of chromosomes could produce tortoiseshell or calico markings in the male, in the same way as XX chromosomes produce them in the female.
Tortidude: The Calico Cat Personality
In addition to similar, distinctive color patters, Tortoiseshell cats and Calico cats are said to share a personality trait thats sometimes known as tortitude. The quality means that both breeds are occasionally notable for their spunk and sassy attitudes.
Like other cats, both male and female Calicos may display destructive behaviors like biting and scratching throughout their kitten years. Generally, pet owners are encouraged to redirect these behaviors with toys like scratching posts and tactics like positive reinforcement rather than
Ultimately, the Calico personality will be determined by a variety of factors including breed, experience, and environment. With a little effort, research, and veterinary support theyre potentially a great kitty for any household.
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Do Calico Cats Have Health Problems
Some problems associated with Klinefelters Syndrome include: Cognitive and developmental issues that can lead to behavioral problems. Reduced bone mineral content that can up the risk for broken bones. Increased body fat, which can lead to conditions such as joint pain, heart disease, and diabetes.
How Often Are Male Calico Cats Born
For every 3,000 calico cats, 1 of them will be male . In a study by Stelow and colleagues about how coat color is related to behavioral traits, a total of 1,274 cats were included. Of these cats, there were 69 calicos included. Only one of these calico cats was male. The rest of the calico cats were female which illustrates the rarity of calico male cats. There are even some veterinarians that have never seen a male calico cat in their years of practicing.
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What About A Calibby Are There Different Types Of Calico Cats
Why Are Male Calico Cats Not Bred
If the calico coloring is so sought after, you may be wondering why male calico cats are not bred to increase the likelihood of male calico kittens. The reason for this is that most cats with Klinefelter Syndrome are sterile, making breeding for male calico cats very difficult.
If you are lucky enough to have a male calico cat, definitely make sure you treasure him!
Your cat is a beloved member of your family and deserves the best veterinary care. Sign up for a pet insurance policy with Spot so that you can be reimbursed later on in life should your cat develop an illness or have an accident.
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Fun Facts About Calico Cats
Here are some fun facts about Calico cats.
- Calicos are one of the subjects of The Duel, a popular childrens poem by Eugene Fields. The poem describes a fight between a calico cat and gingham dog.
- Because of their rarity, Calico cats are considered lucky by many around the world. The Calico cat is thought to bring good luck and fortune to the homes and families that adopt them. They are also considered to be a little magical because of their three colors.
- In the 1870s, Calico cats were named the official symbol of fortune in Japan. Theyre sometimes called money cats here and elsewhere.
- The Calico cat became the official cat of the state of Maryland in 2001. The Calico cat was chosen because the colors of its fur are similar to that of the Baltimore Oriole, which is the official state bird.
- According to Irish folklore, if you have a wart that you want to get rid of, just rub it against a Calico catâs tail.
Want to adopt a Calico cat? Find a shelter or cat and dog rescue organization near you.
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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Calico Cat
One of the advantages of being a calico cat is having a gorgeous, unique coat pattern. Calico cats can have striking markings that make them extremely beautiful. It is often their striking coat pattern that draws cat lovers to them, especially in a shelter environment. There are many cat lovers out there that show a strong preference towards calico cats. They will seek them out for adoption, regardless of their reputation for having an attitude, which will be discussed further.
One of the disadvantages of being a calico cat is their reputation for having a bad attitude. Among cat professionals and cat parents, calico cats have a reputation for having a distinct attitude, with some people calling them sassy, crazy, or unpredictable . In multiple studies, calico and tortoiseshell cats have been shown to display more human-directed aggression than other coat colors, with female cats in general also being more likely to be aggressive towards humans than males. Being prone to displaying more aggressive behavior towards humans is not unique to calico cats, however, as the study also found that black and white males also show more human-directed aggression than male cats of other coat colors . In contrast to these results, in another study calico cats were said to be less likely to show stranger-directed aggression. Additionally in this study, it was shown that most behavior issues were more related to underlying breed than to coat color alone .
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What Is The Difference Between A Tortoiseshell Cat And A Calico Cat
Tortoiseshells have similar coloring to calicos in that they are also contain black and orange in their coat, but the major difference is instead of a mainly white base, tortoiseshells have a black-based coat, Dr. Gibbons of Just Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut, explains. In addition, instead of distinct spots of orange and white, tortoiseshells are more of an even blend of the black and orange with sometimes white mixed in.
Breeds Of Calico Cats
Common breeds of Calico cat include:
- American Shorthair
- Exotic Shorthair
In fact, it would probably be easier to list breeds that never wear the Calico cats adorable mix of colors. These include pointed cat breeds like the Siamese or solid color cats like the Russian Blue. Dilute calico cats have a similar color pattern to traditional, black and orange calicos, but their coats typically come in much less intense colors.
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A Little About Calico Cats
Calico is not a breed. It is simply a color pattern. Many cat breeds can be Calico, including the Manx, Maine Coon, Siberian, and American Shorthair. Calico is the presence of three or more different colors, usually white, orange, and black. However, color variations can include cream, red, and brown. It is not known exactly where Calico cats originated from, but the word around the world is that they come from Egypt.
We do know that Calicos have been a part of life in Italy, France, and the Mediterranean for many decades. Nowadays, these cats can be found in just about all parts of the world, including the United States. The personality and temperament of a Calico cat will depend on their breed. All Calico cats are unique and deserve to be treated as such.
Calico cats can be cared for just like any other cat, though. There is nothing special or wrong about them that sets them apart from other cats aside from their distinctive tri-color markings. They should be brushed regularly to keep shedding under control, and depending on the length of their fur, they may need to be trimmed to prevent mats from developing.
Other Fun Facts About Calico Cats
Aside from the fact that their fur pattern is unique, and they tend to be all-female, the Calico cat has some other cool facts about it. Facts such as an entire state staked their claim on this kind of cat and adopted them. There isnt another state in the United States of America that loves Calico cats more than Maryland. They made the Calico cat their official state cat back in 2001.
Another interesting fact to know about the Calico cat is that any male Calico cats are typically born sterile because of their genetic predisposition to Kleinfelders syndrome.;Its rather unfortunate but doesnt make them any less of an adorable and loving feline.;
Just like the Japanese bobtail cats, Calico cats are also known as a good luck charm or symbol to some people as well. In the United States, some cat lovers refer to Calico cats as Money cats While in Japan, back in the 1870s, the Calico cats were dubbed to be the official symbol of fortune.;
The final fun fact about calico cats you can take or leave, as this one is just a fun superstition that some people believe in. Some believe that calico cats are the cure for warts. That if a person who has a wart is to rub their wart on the tail of a calico cat in the month of May the wart will be cured.;
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How Do I Care For A Calico Cat
If you have a healthy female cat without Klinefelters Syndrome, you can care for her like you would any cat. For instance, brush her regularly to keep her colorful coat in great shape and take her to the veterinarian for yearly check-ups and routine preventive care, like vaccinations.
You might also want to consider a cat insurance plan for your Calico friend. Cat insurance can help you cover the expense of the wellness treatments your kitty will need over her life. It can also help you manage the costs of care in case of an accident or illness. Keep in mind that even cats who are kept inside can get hurt or sick.
Are Calico Cats Breed Specific
No, calico coat patterns are not specific to any one cat breed.The term calico simply refers to the coat pattern. Also, the term calico is actually an American term that was adopted from a type of printed fabric. Other parts of the world have other terms for calico cats. In some parts of the world, calico cats are referred to as tricolor or piebald .
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Calico And Tortoiseshell Are Not The Same Thing
Some people use the terms calico and tortoiseshell interchangeably, but they refer to two separate patterns. The primary difference between the two is the patches of white seen on a calico cat. A tortie, by contrast, is more likely to exhibit a melding of black and orange colors, with little to no white.;
What do you get when you cross a tabby and tortie cat, or a tabby and calico? A torbie and a caliby, respectively. The patched tabby typically features patches of brown and orange tabby patterns, with markings often more apparent on the legs and head.
Calico Cats Have Big Personalities And Are Sassy
Calico cats are best known for their lively personalities and sassy attitudes. In fact, youll never know what youll get from these felines because it all depends on their mood! Such bold traits show up as independence and a high-maintenance nature similar to tortoiseshell cats. Whats more, theyve been given the name tortidude for that reason!
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