Calico Cats

Calico cats are popular for their spectacular fur coat that sports three colors. Read on to know more about these cats.
Cats are one of the most popular pet animals and there are many different feline breeds that are found across the globe. Some of the popular cat breeds are the Persian, Abyssinian, Siamese, Ragdolls and Oriental. Apart from the specific breeds, there are certain types of cats, that are very much in demand for their coat color. One such example is tuxedo cat, with a bicolor coat. Calico cats are also equally popular for their coat with three colors.

Some Calico Cat Facts

As mentioned above, these cats do not comprise a specific breed, but, are cats with a specific coat color pattern. They are distinguished from other cats with this coat color. A calico cat has a fur coat with patches of white, red/orange and black. While, in some regions, this cat is also referred to as tortoiseshell cats, it is also contented that both types are different. It is said that while, calico has patches of these three colors, in tortoiseshell cats, the coat color is a mixture of these colors.

So, a true calico cat sports a coat with distinct patches of white, black and red/orange. Even variations with cream and ginger color are also there. As they are not a specific breed, calico cats can be found in various cat breeds like Manx, Persian and Domestic Short-Hair cats. There are certain set standards regarding the percentage of coat color in some cat breeds, so as to consider them as a calico. As these cats belong to many different cat breeds, calico cat personality will be based on the original breed only. If a particular calico cat is a Persian breed, it will have the traits of a Persian cat only.

Calico Cat Genetics

It is a known fact that genetics play a vital role in deciding the traits of human beings and animals. These traits include physical features like coat color. In case of calico cats too, the coat color is due to the genes that are passed on to the offspring by the parents. The interesting fact is that almost all calico cats are females. Males are very rare, but, there are a few that are found to be sterile.

In case of these cats, the genes responsible for coat colors like black and orange are carried by X chromosomes. In order to be a calico cat, the kitten must have an X chromosome responsible for red/orange color and another X chromosome responsible for black color. Two X chromosomes (XX) are possible in females only, as males carry an X chromosome, along with a Y (XY). However, there are some calico cats that are males, but they have an unusual genetic composition (XXY). Such male cats are very rare and are found to be sterile too.

In short, these cats are really interesting animals with a fantastic coat color pattern. It has been observed that those calico cats with more white-colored fur, have distinct patches or red/orange and black. You may also come across diluted versions of calico cats with a coat color of cream (instead of white), orange and bluish gray (instead of black). In some rare cases, you may find some of these cats with chocolate color coat (instead of black). So, you have choices in selecting these cats.
By Sonia Nair
Published: 8/28/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats