The Calico cat is an official cat in one state, read along to find out
A lot of people are shocked once they hear that the greatest number of Calico cats are indeed female. What are the factors behind this? What are the chances that a Calico Cat is male if any? That and plenty more about the genetics of the feline coat color in the article below.
The Definitions of a Calico Cat
The name might imply it, but Calico is not a breed of cat. Calico refers to the color pattern on a cat. For a cat to get the name Calico, it has to have three colors present on its fur. Those three colors are white, black and orange. Three other variations can be included in this, grey, ginger and cream. A prototypical Calico cat has large blocks of those three colors around its fur. Maybe you have heard names like, torties, brindle or tricolor cats and didn’t know what they referred to. Well, all those are names referring to Calico cats.
Genes and gender
Due to genetic factors, the largest percentage of calico cats are female. Coat colors are a complex pattern of genes that is more linked with female cats. That means that there is always a much higher chance of a female cat being a Calico cat than a male cat. But Calico cats aren’t exclusively female.
As with other mammals, the female has two X chromosomes and the males have one. Genes around the X chromosomes are the complexity that decides the colors of the fur. So double the X chromosome, greater the change for a Calico cat. The two most dominant colors are orange and black. The gene for white fur is located in another part of the DNA.
One of the two X in the chromosome gets deactivated. This leads to a whole chain of reactions in the genome. And one of the more prevalent effects of that deactivation is large color blotches on a female cats furs.
With only one X chromosome, male cats are destined for a black or orange fur dominantly. They could also have a dominant white gene, but it is located somewhere else in the genome and not the X chromosome.
When are Calico cats male
Male calico cats are possible. For a male cat to become a Calico cat it has to have a genetic aberration of two X chromosomes. That means that the male cat will have XXY chromosomes. Sadly and similar to the Klinefelter syndrome in humans, the male Calico cats are sterile.
Facts about Calico cats
Maryland adopted this cat as its symbol in 2001. Many countries around the world consider them bringers of good luck, like a four-leaf clover of the animal world. The best example is found in Japan where sailors always bring a Calico cat onboard to ensure a safe voyage.
Other cats with interesting coats
Due to the complexity of the genes that determine a cat’s coat colors, you can find a wide variety of outcomes. Some are totally one color, others have stripes or blotches of colors, some are even similar to a male tuxedo.
The rarest type is a true white, albino cat.
And sadly, cats with blue eyes have a larger chance to be deaf than other cats.