Calico Cat: Fun Facts, Genetics, Behavior and Lifespan

A calico cat is a domestic cat with about a quarter to three quarters of its body white in color. The rest of the body has large orange and black patches. The cats are mostly females expect under rare genetic condition.

The calico cat has a lot of times been confused with the tortoise shell cat. The tortoise shells coat has a pattern of irregular marks of black orange gray or cream with few or no white markings .calico refers to a color pattern on the fur not a cat breed .

Here are a number of breeds whose standard allow calico coloration:

  • American short hair
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Persian cat 

There are three variations of calico coloration. These coloration include standard calico, dilute calico and calibby.

Calico cats with the Standard coloration have a white coat with patches that are orange and black. Calico cats with the dilute coloration have a white base but the patches vary from charcoal grey, cream to light orange. The Calibby cat is a mixture of calico a cat and a tabby.

The color variation is the same as other calico cats but it has an additional signature of the tabby stripes.

Genetics of a Calico Cat

The genetic determination of the coat color in calico cats is linked to the X chromosome. One color is linked to the maternal X chromosome and a second color to the paternal X chromosome. This explains why most calicos are female.

In most cases the male kittens have only one color because they have one X chromosome. Females on the other hand have two X chromosomes, hence have more than one color hence having multiple colors.

The only instance you find a male calico cat is when a cat is having klinifelter syndrome.

Klinifelter syndrome is a rare genetic condition that gives a cat two X chromosome and a single Y chromosome. Calico cats rarely breed. These are not genetically engineered cats.

Fun Facts about Calico Cat

Only one in every three thousand calico male cats are fertile. This means that more than 99 percent of calico cats are sterile. This is because of chromosome abnormality. A fertile male calico will not have a determination in the coloring of any male offspring.

This is because the offspring will receive the Y chromosome and not the X from the calico cat. The cats represent a state. The Calico cats were declared the official state cats of Maryland because of their color.

Behavior and Attitude of Calico Cats

Scientist have documented the behavior patterns and personality of cats. Scientist suggest that coloration affects the behavior and attitude of cats.

Contrary to a popular belief calico cats are not a specific breed but a certain fur color pattern. This is the reason why you can’t predict the behavior of calico cats.

Calico cats are different from each other and exhibit different behavior patterns. The behavior of calico cats is greatly determined by owners’ consensus.

Health and Lifespan of Calico Cats

A Calico cat can live for an average of 12 to 16 years. This is around the normal lifespan of many cats. However female cats live longer than male cats. The reason behind this is that many male cats tend to suffer from a condition known as Klinifelter.

Klinifelter syndrome is a rare genetic condition that makes a cat two X chromosome and a single Y chromosome. The condition makes them susceptible to a number of problems. These problems include increased body fat, this can cause diabetes and heart diseases among others.

The cat can also suffer from a decrease in mineral contents in the bone, this can lead to bone fracture. Here is a little secret to give your Calico cat a long life;

Always ensure the cat has a healthy diet, protective shelter and plenty of love.

Folk Fore

Many cultures in the world believe that cats of this coloration bring good luck. Gluckskatze’ is a German name for a cat with calico coloring. ’Gluckskatze’ literally means lucky cat. People from the United States sometimes refer to the calico cats as money cats.

Japanese sailors often had a calico cat on board to protect them against misfortune.

The state cat of Maryland in the United States is a cat of calico coloration. Irish people believe that you can cure warts by rubbing a calico cat’s tail on the affected area but only during the month of May.

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