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Can Ragdoll Cats Be Calico? What Science Tells Us

Ragdoll cats are an incredibly diverse bunch with 20 standard coat colors and four possible patterns. One thing that confuses some Ragdoll lovers is whether or not these cats can have a calico coat type. To clear up any confusion, calico is not mentioned in the Cat Fanciers’ Association Ragdoll breed standard, so purebred Ragdolls cannot be calico, though mixed breeds may be.

However, Ragdoll cats can have tortie (tortoiseshell) points as per the CFA breed standard, and this is where the confusion likely stems from. Ragdolls with tortie point coloring are often mistaken for being calico, but this isn’t the case. Let’s explore what tortoiseshell Ragdolls look like and the difference between calico and tortie coat coloring.

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About Tortoiseshell Ragdolls

Tortie coloring is listed as a possible standard color for Ragdolls, but not on its own. The Ragdoll tortie coloring is possible in four combinations—the seal-tortie point, chocolate-tortie point, seal tortie-lynx point, and chocolate-tortie lynx point.

Tortie Ragdoll
Image Credit: Ashley Buttle, Flickr

Tortie Points

The seal-tortie point has a fawn or cream-colored body which is lighter around the stomach and chest areas. Their points are, of course, seal-colored (a very dark brown) mottled with a reddish or cream color.

On the other hand, chocolate-tortie point Ragdolls have ivory-colored bodies and lighter brown (chocolate) points with red or cream mottling like the seal-tortie point. The difference between tortie Ragdolls and standard seal and chocolate-point Ragdolls is the presence of this mottled effect on the points.

Tortie Lynx Points

The difference between tortie point Ragdolls and tortie lynx points is that, in addition to tortie mottling on the points, the tortie lynx point also has seal or chocolate-colored bars with a lighter color (background) between them. Tortie lynx points also have lighter centers on their ears and

may be shaded with ticking, ghost striping, or cream mottling.

What’s the Difference Between Calico and Tortie?

It’s very easy to mistake a tortie Ragdoll for a calico because they look so similar. The difference between a calico and a tortie is that a calico will have white on their coat—between 25% and 75%—along with two other colors. On the other hand, a tortie is a cat with two colors and no white. The mottled tortie coloring on a Ragdoll’s points fits this criterion—there is no white on tortie points, which explains why Ragdolls with the coloring are referred to as “tortie point” rather than “calico point”.

Though purebred Ragdoll cats cannot officially be calico as per the breed standard, if they’re crossed with another breed, they might end up with calico coloring. Persians, for example, can be calico and are sometimes crossed with Ragdolls.

Are Calico and Tortie Breeds?

No, calico and tortie are simply coat color varieties that many cat breeds can have. Persians, American Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, and Maine Coons are but a handful of breeds that have the possibility to be calico and tortie.

tortoiseshell ragdoll
Image Credit: Imaza Images, Shutterstock

What Are Calicos and Torties Like?

Despite the fact that torties and calicos aren’t breeds, some personality traits have been attributed to cats with this color pattern, particularly sassiness, feistiness, and independence. Apparently, it’s not just all in our heads, either!

A survey of cat owners conducted by the University of California to find out if there is a link between coat color and aggression in cats revealed that torties, calicos, and “torbies” are often reported to be “more frequently aggressive” towards humans in a variety of situations.

Don’t let this put you off, though—torties, calicos, and torbies are also known for being incredibly loving, loyal, and entertaining—just don’t be surprised if they throw a healthy dose of sass in your direction from time to time!

Case in point, here at Excited Cats, one of our torties, while independent and outspoken (especially when it’s feeding time), is also very sweet, purrs like an engine when she gets a head rub, and never scratches or bites, so this goes to show that temperament really depends on the individual cat.

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Final Thoughts

To recap, Ragdoll cats can’t officially be calico as per the breed standard—the type of coloring on Ragdoll points is tortie, not calico, though these coloring types are often mistaken for one another. That said, this isn’t to say you won’t ever come across a calico Ragdoll mix because many, many breeds can have this type of coloring.

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Featured Image Credit: Imaza Images, Shutterstock