Every type of furry feline offers something special and different. However, there is something about the Calico Cat that makes them specifically unique.
From their range of beautiful colors and patterns to their interesting personality or to the mystery as to why there are very few male calico cats around, there are many reasons to love calico cats. In case you need more proof, here are some interesting details and key facts about these beautiful and enigmatic creatures.
Calico Cat Striking Appearance, Traits, and Breeds
With a rich history and many intriguing characteristics, calico cats are not actually a specific breed of cat.
From coats of white, orange, and black, the word “calico” describes the trademark color pattern seen on all these colorful cats. Sometimes they’ll have either color and other times they’ll have both. Since their names are dependent on their color-blended coats, these cats can be any breed from British Shorthair to Norwegian Forest Cat.
While calico cats come from different ancestries, they all share the same three colors in their fur. The most common color combination is white, orange, and black; however, there are other varieties such as cream, blue/black, and reddish-brown.
As another beautiful breed of this colorful type of feline, tabby calico cats also feature orange, black, grey, or brown patches while still having their distinctive tabby stripes. Unfortunately, despite the common confusion as being a calico cat, tortoiseshell cats are not the same. Torties may be very similar to calicos, but they will only have two major colors, black and orange or a brown coat with streaks of colors and little or no white fur.
Symbolism of Calico Cats
Many people believe that calico cats are lucky charms, especially the rare male calicos, and can bring good fortune to their owners. Calicos are also known as money cats throughout the U.S. because of the rarity of the males.
Acknowledged as a little fur ball of luck, they were declared the official symbol of fortune in Japan as well as the Official State Cat of Maryland.
Dilute Calico Cat: Still Just as Cute
Differing from an intense shade of orange, white and black, the dilute calico cat features a less concentrated spectrum of colors and tends to have more white fur with some light orange or grey patches.
This particular type of calico cat is common and just means that instead of a bold black and orange coat, there is a blue and cream shade of color in its place.
Male Calico Cat: Why So Rare?
Out of the many calico cats living, most of them are female. Why?
It all has to do with their chromosomal makeup, which determines their color.
Like all mammals, male cats have the XY chromosome while female cats have the XX chromosome. The X chromosome is responsible for orange and black fur; therefore, female cats can have both colors because they have two X chromosomes.
Male cats, however, only have one X chromosome, so they can either be orange or black. They can’t have both. For a male cat to be calico, they would have to have three sex chromosomes, two X’s and one Y. Also known as Klinefelter Syndrome in humans.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Calico Cats
1. Maneki Neko is A Calico Cat
The popular Japanese statue features a raised paw and is often animated is a calico cat. These statues are on display in many Japanese or Chinese establishments such as restaurants or gift shops. Also known as the Lucky Cat or Beckoning Cat, Maneki Neko is a Japanese Calico Bobtail.
2. All Male Calico Cats are Sterile
Since male calico cats have Klinefelter’s syndrome that affects their chromosomal makeup, they are also sterile. Unfortunately, this also means that they are likely to have health issues that can range from organ failure to brain damage. Which is why most male calicos don’t live long.
3. They Originated from Egypt
Historians traced the unique patches on calico cats back to the trade routes in Northern Africa and Europe. Cats that featured the mutant orange gene found in calicos can be traced back to the port cities found along the Mediterranean Sea in Italy, Spain, and France, all originating from Egypt.
4. They Were Once Used for Protection from Evil
Many years ago, Japanese fishermen would keep calico cats on their ships to protect them during harsh storms. The fishermen would use them for protection from ghosts of their envious ancestors.
5. They Were Favored by European Painters
There are several famous works of art that feature calico cats. Back in the 18th century, the French painter, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin painted images of beautiful calicos playing with large slices of seafood.
All About Calico Kittens
If you are interested in getting a calico kitten, keep in mind that you will likely end up with a female. Since Calicos are not a breed, their personality depends on what type of cat they are. However, there are plenty of Calico owners who say that these cats are very sweet and loyal, yet they can also be extremely independent.
What is the Average Size of Calico Cats?
The size of a calico cat is another factor that depends on their breed. However, since they are typically tabby, American Shorthair, or bobtail cats as well as female, calico cats are usually small to medium-sized.
How to Find a Calico Cat: Male vs. Female
While it will be difficult to find a male calico cat, finding females isn’t too hard. If you are searching for a calico to own, it would be best to go your local shelter to find a calico cat to adopt.
Because calicos are not one specific breed, there is no need to go to a breeder or look for a ‘purebred calico’, since they don’t exist.
The price of a female calico cat wouldn’t be any different from the price of your average Tabby cat or American Shorthair. But since male calicos are so rare, owners have been known to sell them at a very high price, some as much as $1000 to $2000.
If you find a male calico cat for sale and are willing to pay the expensive price, keep in mind that these cats often have health issues. It would be a good idea to look over any vet records the previous owner has on hand before you agree to pay thousands of dollars for a pet that may already be ill.
What is the Life Span of a Calico Cat?
The average lifespan of cats can be as much as 15 years, or longer depending on the cat’s overall health and the environment they live in.
Female calicos are the same as any other cat; therefore, they have the same average lifespan.
Male calico cats have much shorter life spans because they are susceptible to various diseases such as cognitive impairments, diabetes, or reduced bone mineral content.
3 Tips to Owning a Calico Cat
1. Give Them Space
There are some calico owners who argue that these cats have unique personality traits, even though they get their name from their fur color, and not because they are a specific breed. Many have said that calico cats have a strong attitude and like to be independent. So, if you own a calico, try to give them their space.
2. Know the Responsibility of Owning a Male Calico Cat
If you are lucky enough to own a male calico cat, be sure to keep up with all his vet appointments. Male calicos are prone to ending up with serious diseases, but there are some who have lived long and happy lives all because of the love and dedication they received from their pet parents.
3. Don’t Believe the Stigma That All Cats Are Pricks
While it is possible to own several calico cats who all had a serious “cattitude”, there are also plenty of calicos that are pleasant, kind, and love a good cuddle. Don’t pass up on the chance to own one of these beautifully colored felines just because you are weary of what type of personality they may have.
Calico Cats are Unique and Lovable
Calico cats may be from various breeds, but they all have one thing in common.
While we may never know if they truly bring us good luck, or can protect us from evil spirits, all cat parents who have ever owned a calico can agree on one speculation about calicos, they are all magical.