8 Interesting Things About Calico Cats

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Calico cat resing on the floor

Calico cats are a tame group of cat breeds, rather than just one breed of cat. Cats from two different breeds can be called calico cats. A distinct feature of calico cats is they have three different color patterns on their fur. Calico cats were named as such due to their fur color rather than their genetic characteristics.

Some calico cats may have the same color patterns but maybe from totally different breeds. This article tells you more about their living conditions, temperament, etc. However, to be called a ‘calico,’ a cat must have three colors in its fur. White, Black, and Orange.

1. They are the world’s most colorful cats

As previously mentioned, calico cats have to have at least three different colors in their fur to be called calico cats. They may have a wide variety of colors, but the most dominant color is white, and this color is said to cover 25% to 75% percent of their bodies.

2. Almost 99% of calico cats are female

Yup, that’s right, almost all calico cats in existence are female, and this is all because of genetics. As we all know, males have the genes XY, and women have the genes XX. The genes that code for the orange color in calico cats are present on the X chromosome locus.

Sitting calico cat

To have the orange color expressed, there must be two genes that code for the orange color; since this gene is not present on the Y chromosome, male calico cats cannot exist. Since female calico cats have two X chromosomes, they are more likely to have orange color in their fur.

3. Male Calico Cats are sterile

Male calico cats are rare but not impossible; however, any born male calico cat will be infertile. Because of its genes, the crossing over between genes will cause a genetic disease to be expressed. This genetic disease is called Klinefelter syndrome, and in this disease, the cat has three sex chromosomes, XXY, instead of the normal two sex chromosomes, XY. This prevents the cat from being able to mate or have children with any other cats.

4. Calico cats do not have calico kittens

Calico cats cannot be bred, and calico kittens do not have parents that are a part of the same group of cats. Calico kittens can only be born under special circumstances and cannot be bred through selective breeding, unlike other breeds like the Persian cat or the Bengal cat. This is mainly due to their extremely rare genetic makeup that can only be formed by chance.

5. They are thought to bring good luck in many cultures

Tricolor calico cat

Due to their rarity, they are upheld as very lucky cats in many countries and cultures. In Germany, the calico cat is called the ‘lucky cat.’ In Japan, there are artistic depictions of calico cats. Many people keep a small statue of a calico cat as it brings luck and prosperity. Some sailors also used to keep a calico cat on their ships, known as ship’s cat, to avoid misfortune at sea. And in the United States, calico cats are thought to bring fortunes with them and are thus referred to as money cats.

6. They have different names in different regions

In the United States, they are officially called the calico cat. Still, in other countries, they are referred to the different names such as tri-color cat, brindle, and Tobi mike in Japanese, which translates to ‘triple fur.’ Sometimes, the color patterns of the calico cat may resemble those of a tabby, and hence the name changes from calico to caliby as a result. In Quebec, Canada, the calico cat is called chatte d’espagne, which translates to the ‘cat of Spain’ in English.

7. Calico cats do not have the same personalities

Unlike other breeds of cats, calico cats do not have the same behavior patterns and have varying personalities. While some cats may be very affectionate and out-going, other cats may have an attitude and always be in a dark state of mind. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that calico cats may have the same temperament.

Calico cat looking up

However, it is no surprise because a calico cat is a group of cats from different breeds, so it is common to think that they may have different personalities if a person knows about them.

8. Every calico has its physical traits

Calico cats vary in physical traits; some calicos are short hair, others are long-haired, some have long hind legs others have short hind legs. Some may have long tails others may have bobtails. This is all because different breeds can be calicos, but not all calicos are from the same breed; they are rather a group, different breeds that happen to have the same color combinations on their fur. Their patterns can differ a lot; some calicos have orange fur in greater percentage, others have white fur greater in percentage, sometimes their black fur overpowers both of these colors.


In the end, it depends on your luck on which type of calico you get. You may need to have some experience of raising a cat, though, to have a good time with a calico cat, because due to their extremely rare genetics, they are more susceptible to diseases like heart problems and weight gain compared to other cats and require special attention and strict diet control; otherwise, you may need to go to the vet time and again.

They can be very mean sometimes, an aspiring calico owner must know how to handle all that sass and spunky attitude all the time. They have varying characteristics, so sometimes; it is hard to pinpoint details such as their lifespan. If you have a calico cat and it is male, then there is grim news for you since male calico cats have much shorter life expectancies than female calico cats.

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