Are Calico Cats Always Female? Everything You Need To Know

Calico cats are one of the most popular groups in the feline community. They are mostly loved because of their beautifully designed coats but inasmuch as people admire the beauty they radiate, there are many unknown facts about them. The origin of the calico cat is one that has left many in awe as they have often been misconceived to be a breed of cat. Another mystery surrounding this group of felines is the idea that they are only females. Learn more intriguing facts about the calico cats in this piece.

What Exactly Is A Calico Cat?

First off, calico is not a cat breed as many have mistaken it to be. What basically makes a calico cat is the color of the coat which must comprise of three colors – white, orange, and black. The hue on the calico cats is aesthetically spread to form artistic patches and white is often the dominating color. The name calico is derived from the calico cloth imported from England to India with similar patterns to the ones on the cat.

From the foregoing, it can be deduced that calico cats don’t belong to a particular breed. In fact, they can be found among Persian, Norwegian Forest Cat, Turkish Angora, Manx, Maine Coon, American Wirehair, and many other cat breeds. Though it has been established that calico is just a color pattern and calico cats possess this unique look but these special features may not be found in all the cat breeds. There is a limit to the breeds you can see calico on but be rest assured that there are enough for you to choose from.

Notably, tortoiseshell cats must not be confused with calico cats as they are completely different. Though both possess unique patterns on their coat, the former is known for its black/orange or cream/grey color combinations. You will hardly see a tortoiseshell cat with white markings and if it does occur, it would be sparsely placed. Notwithstanding, they share a lot of similarities with the calico cat in coat appearance.

Are Calico Cats All Female?

Most often than not, these cats are born female, except in extremely rare cases when there is a genetic condition that altered things. The reason a calico cat is expected to be female is that the X chromosome which is double in females is responsible for the color code for black and orange. However, while all the female cats have two X chromosomes, it doesn’t mean they will be calico. You can only have a calico cat if the two X chromosomes come with orange and black-coded genes.

If you observe a calico cat closely, you would notice how either the orange or black color dominates. This happens during the development stage before birth. One of the X chromosomes usually overrun the other to dominate the coat.

Guess you are wondering where the white patches that complete the trio come from. Well, they apparently get to imbibe a gene from both or one of the parents in order to get the extra color. In all, the two X chromosomes provide orange and black colors while the white can come from anywhere.

A calico cat with black as the dominating color – source

Are There Any Male Calico Cats?

The possibility is so rare that you might search for years without seeing one calico cat that is male. However, this is not entirely impossible, considering that a genetic disorder known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome can change things to look different. This anomaly also occurs in humans when a male gets a double X chromosome from his parents while retaining his Y chromosome. This means his genetic design would then read XXY instead of XY, thereby changing the structure of the body.

This condition can occur in cats but it might be one out of three thousand or even more. When a male calico is born, it is expected to be sterile and won’t be able to reproduce. Also, the genetic disorder that led to the birth of a male calico cat can also cause the cat to experience many health issues. For the most part, they are prone to broken bones due to the bone mineral content that has been reduced as a result of their genetic anomaly.

Other health challenges that might plague male calico cats include diabetes, behavioral problems, joint pains, obesity, and heart disease. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t discourage you from keeping this rare gem if you happen to get one. With proper care, the male calico will live long in good health.

Can Calico Cats Reproduce?

It has already been established that the male calico cats are born sterile and would not be able to reproduce but does this apply to the female as well? The reason the males are born sterile is that they have a genetic anomaly that altered their body but the female calicos don’t have a similar issue, thus, they should be able to have kittens.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that just because your cat has the calico color combo doesn’t mean it will birth kittens like that. These colors are inherited randomly and can’t be bred intentionally.

They Say Calico Cats Bring Good Luck

A popular myth about the calico cat suggests that they attract good luck to the owner or anyone who comes across them. Many cultures have maintained this belief for many years. Germans refer to it as “lucky cat” while Americans in the United States call it “money cats”. They are also known to accompany Japanese sailors while at sea in order to wade off misfortune.

You might be thinking of getting one already but do these folklores hold any water? Despite the popularity of the idea that these cats bring good fortune, we are yet to get clear confirmation of that fact. For now, we can only confirm that owning a calico cat would make any feline lover happy.

Read Also: Minskin Cat: Breed Features and Facts You Need To Know

Cat Breeds That Allow The Calico Coloration

  • Manx cat
  • American Shorthair
  • Maine Coon
  • British Shorthair
  • Persian cat
  • Arabian Mau
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Siberian
  • Turkish Van
  • Turkish Angora
  • Norwegian Forest cat
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