Cats come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, and colors. You may have heard that some colors indicate gender. For example, it has been said that all Calico cats are female. The truth is that not all, but most, Calico cats are girls. An extremely small percentage of Calicos are males. The reason for this has everything to do with genetics. Here is what you should know about why almost all Calico cats are female.
The Science Behind Calico Cats
The first thing to know is that the basic colors that cat coats are formed from are black and red. These two colors mutate to create the different colors, shades, and hues that are observed in all cat breeds. How these colors are displayed has everything to do with chromosomes. Females have a pair of X chromosomes, while males have an X and a Y chromosome.
Two X chromosomes are needed to produce the tri-color coat that Calico cats are so famous for, which is why Calicos are almost always exclusively females.
Can Calico Cats Be Male?
Sometimes, a male cat can have a Y chromosome and a pair of X chromosomes, which is when they can end up with a Calico pattern — but this is extremely rare. Males with Calico coloring are sterile and may face health conditions that female Calicos will not.
This same principle applies to tortoiseshell cats. So, to answer the question, can Calico cats can be male, yes, but it is very, very unlikely.
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.
Did You Know?
There are a few interesting things to know about Calico cats that can give you insight into their nature and the way that we humans see them.
They Have Many Different Names
Calico cats are sometimes tricolor or brindle in the United States. A Calico cat that has a tabby-like pattern is sometimes referred to as a Caliby. But in Japan, these cats are referred to as Tobi Mi-ke, which means triple fur. Dutch people call these cats, Lapjeskat, which means patch cat.
They Have Been Adopted by a Whole State
In 2001, Maryland adopted the Calico as their state cat. A class of elementary school students lobbied for this adoption in the state because Calicos are reminiscent of the state’s flag colors, which are black, white, red, and gold.
They Are Considered Lucky Charms
Calico cats have been thought of as lucky charms by many cultures throughout the world since their inception. Fishermen in Japan would bring a Calico cat with them to fish because they were thought to provide protection from many things, including ocean storms and ghosts.
Our Final Thoughts
Calico cats are fascinating for many reasons. Aside from their unique personalities and beautifully unique coats, these cats stand out from the crowd due to their almost limitless pattern variations. Do you own a Calico cat, or are you thinking about adopting one? If so, what is your favorite Calico fact? We want to hear from you in our comments section below!
Featured Image: Aleksei Verhovski, Shutterstock