There are few cats that create as much discussion and wonder as the Calico cat. Here at Pawsome Couture we are truly cat crazy and have put together this quick little fact-file on this truly magical type of kitty!
What is a Calico Cat?
First thing’s first- probably the most interesting fact is Calico is not a breed but rather a pattern of fur and color caused by a gene mutation! These patterns can come in all different forms but most commonly seen are combinations of orange and black on white. Since there are always three colors in a calico's coat, they're also known as tri-color cats. Less commonly seen but also just as special are combos of cream, blue/black, and reddish-brown. A “dilute” Calico cat is with a pattern of grey, silver, and gold colors instead of the traditional white, black, brown or red patched coat of a calico.
What breeds can demonstrate Calico patterns?
Since their names are dependent on their color-blended coats rather than being a breed in of themselves calico patterns can be seen in all of the following breeds:
Maine Coon, American Shorthair, Exotic, Manx, Oriental, Siberian, Scottish Fold, Sphynx, Persian, Arabian Mau, Japanese Bobtail, Turkish Van & Turkish Angora.
Where did they come from?
Many people have wondered where these unusual patterns of color found on the calico cat originate from and Historians have linked these traits back to ancient trade routes in the port cities found along the Mediterranean Sea in Italy, Spain, and France all originating from Egypt.
Can Calico Cats be Male?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding Calicos cats for a very interesting reason. The chromosome affecting fur color is the X chromosome and as females are XX (one X chromosome from the mother and one X chromosome from the father) and males are XY it is far more likely for a female to have this unusual genetic trait!A male calico would have to have a rare condition where they have three sex chromosomes(two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome) in order to be calico. These male calicos are often sterile- yet another interesting trait of the calico cat.
What is the personality type of a Calico Cat?
As these patterns can manifest on many different cats their personality is determined by the type of breed they originate from. All cats are unique and special and Calico cats are as quirky as they come!
What is a Tortoise Shell Cat?
A tortoiseshell cat is a Calico cat where the white (in the white, black and orange tri-color pattern) essentially disappears, leaving a tightly-knit mix of red and black which is known as the tortoiseshell pattern. This is the where the name "tortoiseshell cats" or sometimes "torties" orginates from- they are actually Calico cats with no white showing and that is why you will often this their name popping up along side the Calicos :)
Do Calico Cats bring good luck?
We believe that even having a kitty in your life is a massive stroke of good luck but interestingly Calico cats in particular are believed to bring good luck in the folklore stories of many culture. In the USA they are fondly referred to as money cats and the state cat of Maryland is a Calico! It has also been told that Japanese sailors often kept a Calico cat on board their voyages to protect against bad luck while at sea.