Calico Cat

calico cat

The Calico cat is a domestic cat with a white coat with orange and black patches and sometimes with cream and grey patches.
In this post, we will tell you some characteristics of this peculiar cat and some curious facts.

facts about calico cat

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What distinguishes a calico from other cats is its coat color pattern.

Typically, a calico cat has a tri-colored coat with orange, white, and black colors. But did you know there is more than one type of calico cat?

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Calico cat has three different genes, and each gene produces distinct types of calico cats.

The calico gene is sex-linked and is related to the X chromosome. Calico cats are almost always female because males only have one X chromosome.

If a male cat has two copies of the calico gene, he will be a tortoiseshell cat.

The three types of calico cats are:

 The patchwork calico is the most common type of calico cat, and its coat is black and white with small areas of orange or ginger fur.

 The second type of calico cat is a tortoiseshell calico. This calico cat has a black and white coat with extended orange patches.

The third variety is a mosaic calico cat. This calico type has the characteristic black, white, and orange coatS, but with equally distributed patches along the fur.


 Calico cats are friendly, playful, and affectionate cats. They like to be around their humans and are always eager to please them.

 These cats are playful and enjoy chasing toys or playing fetch. They are excellent companions, as well as being ideal for families with children.

 These cats are usually demanding and require more attention than other cat breeds. But given attention and love, calico cats will make great pets.

facts about calico cat


 The calico cat is not a specific breed but a cat with a particular fur color pattern. Among the cat breeds whose standards allow calico coloration are the American Shorthair, Maine Coons, British Shorthair, Persian, Bobtail, Siberian, Turkish Angora, and Norwegian Forest Cat, to name a few. 

 Murray Barr and E G Bertrand studied the calico cats in 1948 when they noticed dark, drumstick masses inside the nuclei of nerve cells of female cats, but not in male cats. 

 Then, Susumu Ohno determined the Barr bodies were X chromosomes. Other researchers discovered unique patches on calico cats in North America and Europe.

However, Neil Todd determined in a study that the patches in calico cats were due to the migration of domesticated cats along trade routes in Europe and North Africa.


Almost all calico cats are female. That is because their tricolor coat is related to the X chromosome. Two X chromosomes are needed to create the tricolor coat.

 In rare cases, about one calico cat in 3,000 may have an extra X chromosome, known as XXY Syndrome or Klinefelter Syndrome.

The cats with XXY syndrome are sterile males, and tend to have several health problems due to their genetic abnormalities.

 According to the ASPCA, problems associated with Klinefelter syndrome include:

  • Cognitive and developmental problems that can lead to behavioral issues.
  • Reduced bone mineral content which increases the risk of broken bones
  • Increased body fat that can lead to many obesity-related medical conditions.


  • The average lifespan of a calico cat is 12 to 16 years and depends on the cat’s health and environment.
  • Male cats tend to live less. 
  • The male calico cat can suffer from some diseases such as diabetes or reduced bone mineral content.


 Because calico refers to a coat pattern, many cat breeds can be calico. Some of the more common cat breeds that have this calico coat pattern are:

Maine Coon Cats

Maine Coon is the most popular calico cat. The Maine Coon is a cat breed with long fur and a laid-back personality and is a giant domestic cat. A Maine Coon male cat can weigh up to 15 pounds.

British Shorthair Cat

 It is a medium-sized cat with short fur. This cat breed is playful and friendly, yet independent.

 Japanese Bobtail Cat

 The Japanese calico cat is small and has a short coat. These cats are calm and make good pets for people who live alone.

 Manx Cat

 The calico Manx cat is a small to medium-sized tailless cat with a long coat. The Calico Manx is friendly and playful but can also be independent.

 Persian Cat

The Persian calico cat has long, thick fur. It is a round-faced cat with large eyes. They are calm cats and make excellent pets for people who live alone.

 American Cat

 The American calico cat is related to the British calico cat and is also medium in size with a long coat. 

 This cat breed is active and makes a good pet for families with young children. They are also friendly and playful but can be more demanding than the British shorthair.

Curious Facts About Calico Cat

  • 9% of calico cats are female. Males are pretty rare.
  • It is currently impossible to reproduce the fur patterns of calico cats. They are not genetically a breed.
  • You will never see two exactly alike.
  • All calico male cats are sterile. 
  • Because male cats suffer from Klinefelter’s syndrome, Calico cats have health issues, and most male Calico cats do not live long. 
  • Calico cats are declared The Official State Cats of Maryland due to their color. 
  • Calico cats have a reputation for being lucky cats.
  • Japanese sailors often had a calico cat to protect against misfortune at sea. 


  • The Spruce Pets
  • All About Cats
  • Wikipedia
  • Certa Pet
  •  Creative Calico Names 
  • The Catnip Times
Image credit: Pixabay. Unsplash Pexels

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