Maybe it’s because they share a color with tigers, or perhaps it’s because we associate orange cats with friendly, outgoing felines. Either way, orange cats seem to be the most popular cats from households to Hollywood. Just look at iconic cats like Garfield. But it turns out that orange cats actually are more social, friendly, and outgoing; at least according to National Geographic.
If you’re looking for a friendly orange feline to add to your family, there are 12 breeds that make perfect candidates. But before we check them out, let’s expose a few more facts about these cute orange cats.
Five Interesting Facts About Orange Cats
1. There Are No Solid-Colored Orange Cats
Interestingly, all orange-colored cats have markings of some kind. None of them are solid colored. As it turns out, all orange cats wear a pattern that falls into one of four categories.
Mackerel stripes are similar to tiger stripes. Ticked stripes involve alternating bands of light and dark stripes. Classic stripes are actually swirled, and there’s also a spotted variety.
2. Orange Fur Equals Red Hair
Red-headed humans have gotten a bad rap, but orange cats are well-loved. Surprisingly, the same pigment is responsible for both, and it’s called pheomelanin. It can create colors that range from cream to red, so it’s a shame that there aren’t more orange-headed humans walking around!
3. Most Orange Cats are Males
The gene responsible for an orange coat on a cat is in the X chromosome. For female cats to grow an orange coat, they’d need to have that gene occur twice, while males only need a single copy of the gene for an orange hue to take place. Because of this, only one in five orange cats is a female.
4. Orange Cats Are Marked
All orange kittens have an M marked on their foreheads. It’s a unique marking that has caused many interesting stories over the years. Some people the M stands for Mary, as in the virgin Mary. Others believe it’s for Mohammed.
5. Most Celebrity Cats are Orange
There are quite a few famous cats, some real and some imagined. Think of Garfield, Milo, Heathcliffe, and even the adorable Puss in Boots from the Shrek franchise. What do all of these cats have in common? They’re all orange! For some reason, it appears that we’re obsessed with orange cats as a culture.
The 12 Orange Cat Breeds
1. Turkish Angora
Originating in Turkey centuries ago, the Turkish Angora is one of the oldest breeds of domesticated cats, with documentation of the breed reaching back to the 1600s. This breed developed naturally, and they’re considered a national treasure in their country of origin. Though original Angoras were white with blue or green eyes, they now come in many colors including an orange tabby. In order for an Angora to be registered by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, its lineage must be traceable back to Turkey.
2. Scottish Fold
With folded over ears and a soft round face, the Scottish Fold is one of the most adorable cats ever. But they weren’t created by selective breeding. Instead, this breed developed spontaneously due to a random genetic mutation that occurred in some farm cats in Scotland. Those mutated cats were bred with British and American Shorthairs to establish the breed. But all Scottish Folds can trace their lineage back to the very first cat to have the mutation back on that Scottish farm; Susie.
This breed has been popular with elites and aristocrats for many centuries. Traditionally, they have a round face with a normal length nose and a sweet expression. But with increased breeding, many more flat-faced Persians have been produced and they are more susceptible to a variety of health concerns. Though white Persians are perhaps the most iconic, orange Persians are some of the most distinct-looking tabby cats around.
Also known as the Sausage cat, this breed is easily recognizable by their extremely short legs. They’re considered to be the first dwarf cat breed. Unfortunately, the breed is susceptible to a myriad of health concerns, so many cat associations across the globe have refused to accept the breed, including the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, or GCCF.
5. Maine Coon
The largest of all domesticated cat breeds, the Maine Coon is one of the oldest North American breeds of feline. This breed even holds the record for the world’s longest cat in the Guinness Book of World Records. Most of these cats are orange or brown tabby, though there are other color variations. These cats have earned the nickname of “gentle giants.” Partly due to their loving and affectionate nature, and partly because some males reach sizes of more than three feet long while weighing more than 35 pounds.
6. Exotic Shorthair
The Exotic Shorthair is essentially a shorthaired version of the Persian cat, so it makes sense that they would also come in an orange coloration. Interestingly, one in four Exotic Shorthairs has long hair since many of them carry a recessive copy of the longhair gene. These longhair Exotics aren’t considered Persians by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, though they are considered Persians by The International Cat Association. The American Cat Fanciers Association classifies the longhaired Exotics as their own separate breed. It’s believed that Garfield, the cartoon cat who loves lasagna, is an Exotic Shorthair.
7. Egyptian Mau
The Egyptian Mau was developed in Egypt, as the name would imply. But that’s only part of the story. DNA evidence shows that the origins of this breed are actually from Europe and North America. Either way, they’re a breed with some of the most truly orange colorations. Their base color is Ginger, offset by white stripes. What’s really interesting about this breed is that they’re the fastest domesticated cat breed, clocked at speeds of up to 30 mph.
8. Devon Rex
With giant ears and a tiny, elflike face that’s mostly taken up by two large eyes, the Devon Rex is a very unique looking feline. They’re a relaxed breed that’s very social and playful. Many say they act more like a dog than a cat. But this breed’s interesting looks aren’t the result of human influence. These cats originated naturally, in Devonshire, England, when a stray cat gave birth to a very odd-looking kitten. That kitten went on to become the father of the entire breed.
9. British Shorthair
Fluffy balls of fur, British Shorthairs are some of the cutest orange cats. They can even have orange or Sunfire eyes, completing the orange hue from head to tail, though the orange eyes look even cooler against black fur. But the British Shorthair’s long, luxurious coat means that they require extra upkeep. You’ll need to groom these cats daily to keep them looking their best. But don’t expect your British Shorthair to do much more than look cute. These are lazy cats that are largely inactive. However, they’re very loving and affectionate, which can make up for their laziness.
Bengal cats have a very distinct appearance that’s easy to spot because of their spotted fur that closely resembles a leopard. This breed was made by breeding several hybrids together, including the Asian leopard cat and the Egyptian Mau. So, even though they have a wild appearance, they don’t have any wildcat genes. These are large cats that usually weigh more than 12 pounds. They’re also one of the few breeds known to like water.
11. American Bobtail
Highly intelligent with an appearance similar to a wildcat, the American Bobtail is a breed created by natural selection. Their bobbed tails are the result of a genetic mutation and help to make this breed instantly recognizable. These cats love to play and can spend hours playing the same game without getting bored. American Bobtails are a longhaired cat breed, though occasionally some specimens have a short coat.
Abyssinians are a shorthaired cat, meaning they require considerably less maintenance than most other orange cat breeds. That said, they’re highly active cats that need a lot of attention and socialization. Their origins are somewhat disputed, with experts debating whether the breed originates in Egypt or Ethiopia. These cats display a ticked tabby coat with individual hairs exhibiting different colors.
Featured Image Credit: rdp47, Pixabay
- Five Interesting Facts About Orange Cats
- The 12 Orange Cat Breeds