If you are the owner of a Calico cat, you should consider yourself lucky. This black and orange cat color variation is a special find, especially if yours happens to be a male cat. The genetic science behind this kind of cat and why male Calicos are so rare is rather fascinating. Aside from their genetic uniqueness, Calico cats are adorable and fun additions to any family.
Calico Cats’ Personality
The term “Calico” generally refers to the color and pattern of a particular cat's fur, similar to referring to a cat as a tabby. That being said, you can find Calico colored cats within a variety of different cat breeds. Meaning their personality and intelligence can vary with breed, rather than being strictly related to their fur color.
Some of the breeds of cats who are sometimes seen born with a calico fur pattern include the Munchkin, English Shorthair, Manx, Japanese Bobtail, and the Persian. These are just a few of the breeds of cats who are known to sport a Calico fur coat.
The breed may not be consistent, but with calico cats the gender is. It’s rare to come across a calico cat that is a male due to genetic reasons related to the gene for the calico fur pattern. Generally, female cats have a standout personality compared to males. For instance, they are often known to be little Divas. Whereas male cats are more laid back, generally speaking.
Care and Health Needs
When it comes to cat longevity, Calico cats have a life span similar to most other breeds of cats, which is around 12-16 years on average. The only concerning health issues that calico cats can face is called “Klinefelter's Syndrome”. This is a condition that only occurs on the rare chance that a male calico cat is born. Because of the genetic uniqueness of a male calico cat, they are born at risk for developing this disease in their lifetime.
This condition not only shortens the male calico cat's lifespan, but also can lead to problems such as brittle bones, painful joints, and even feline diabetes. It's unfortunate, but these conditions that male calico cats are prone to developing are what ultimately end up shortening their lifespan.
What Makes a Calico Different from a Tortoiseshell Cat?
At first glance, differentiating a Calico cat from a Tortoiseshell cat might be a difficult thing to do. Just like with Calico’s the Tortoiseshell is also just another phrase for the color pattern of various breeds of cats.
Torties and calicos are often found in the same colors of orange, black, and white, but there is one main differentiating factor. That factor is the amount of white fur that they have. The Calico tends to have a lot more white areas of fur than the Tortoiseshell cat. The Tortoiseshell also has more of a marbled appearance than the Calico. The Calico’s colors are more spotted and defined. A grey calico cat, however, might be more difficult to differentiate because they are grey and are more blended than an orange and black calico.
Other Fun Facts about Calico Cats
Aside from the fact that their fur pattern is unique, and they tend to be all-female, the Calico cat has some other cool facts about it. Facts such as an entire state staked their claim on this kind of cat and adopted them. There isn’t another state in the United States of America that loves Calico cats more than Maryland. They made the Calico cat their official “state cat” back in 2001.
Another interesting fact to know about the Calico cat is that any male Calico cats are typically born sterile because of their genetic predisposition to Kleinfelder’s syndrome. It’s rather unfortunate but doesn’t make them any less of an adorable and loving feline.
Just like the Japanese bobtail cats, Calico cats are also known as a good luck charm or symbol to some people as well. In the United States, some cat lovers refer to Calico cats as “Money cats” While in Japan, back in the 1870s, the Calico cats were dubbed to be the official symbol of fortune.
The final fun fact about calico cats you can take or leave, as this one is just a fun superstition that some people believe in. Some believe that calico cats are the cure for warts. That if a person who has a wart is to “rub their wart on the tail of a calico cat in the month of May” the wart will be cured.
Calico cats are amazing for so many reasons, especially because they can be found in so many different breeds. These lucky, fortune bringing cats is special on so many levels. Especially the male ones who are born on rare occasions.
Be prepared to have your hands full if you happen to adopt a male calico cat, as they come with likely health issues that may shorten their lifespans. However, if you adopt a female calico cat, you and your family will be lucky to own such a special and interesting cat such as calico.