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Calico Cats – Tricolor Beauties

Calico Cat Overview

Calico cats are very beautiful cats that have a unique print of spotted colors all over their bodies. These cats are only found to be female for the most part, and it is very rare to find a male Calico cat. They do not really belong to a particular breed of cats; they are only different in color compared to any other cat.

Also known as a tri-color cat for this color combination, the word Calico is representative of the fur which is of a multi color pattern, rather than the breed. So, the breeds of the cats whose fur standards allow calico coloration are Manx, American shorthair, British short hair, Siamese, Persian and Turkish Van.

Another cat that has the same mixed spotted pattern that they Calico cat has, is known as the Tortoiseshell cats. In order for a cat to be identified as a Calico cat, there are three colors that they have on their fur. Those three colors include black, white and orange. There are usually patches of these colors all over their backs and their faces. The colors kind of mix in or connect with each other rather than being spread out like spots.

The reason that Calico cats are mainly female is because the color of their fur is all based upon their genetics.

The chromosomes of the female Calico cat are two “X” chromosomes, and they male cat only has one “X” chromosome along with one “Y” chromosome. The “X” chromosome is where the orange and black color would come from as far as genetics. The color white comes from some other genes that the cat might have.

Since the female has two “X” chromosomes, this would explain the reason why her coat would have orange, black, and white colors. In the male, one “X” chromosome will only get him one of either color such as a fully black coat, or an orange coat. This would be the reason why the majority of Calico cats would be female rather than male.

However, some male cats carry a genetic that causes them to have “XXY” chromosomes in a rare case which can cause them to have the Calico features. Since the “XXY” chromosomes of the male cat or abnormal, this would cause the cat to be sterile and unable to reproduce with a female cat.

Relation to Tortoise

Calico kittens are closely related to Tortoiseshell kittens. Both types have the same gene that turns off one X chromosome, but Calicos have the extra white spotting gene.

Historical Migration

As Calico cats are not a breed, but a color prototype on the fur which occurs in a non extrapolative manner, there is no true chronological background with reference to Calico cats.

Calico the Cat of Maryland State

The Calico cat was named as the state cat of Maryland because their colors resemble the Baltimore Orion which would be the state bird of Maryland. There is another type of Calico cat that is also known as the Muted Calico because instead of the three colors being orange, black, and white, they are white, blue, and cream.

Calico Cat Temperament

Calico cats are very unique and independent; therefore they make wonderful pets; great for people that need any easy pet to take care of since independent cats are not high maintenance. Most cats are independent, but at some point they still need lots of loving and caressing.

Some owners of cats might make the mistake of assuming that their cat does not need as much love and petting as other cats or animals because of their independence. This is a wrong determination though, because all pets need lots of love and care; even the ones that don’t seem to have the need to be loved on or petted much.

Calico Cat Personality

Since Calico cats are not a breed, but are rather acknowledged by their exceptional color amalgamation and pattern, they do not have specific expected genetic character traits. In general, the personality and social magnetism of any cat, including a Calico, is determined by a number of factors, including genetic outlook and early contact with and exercise by humans.

If you are adopting or purchasing a Calico cat, you can get to know about its genetic disposition by meeting its mother and father. Or, you can fritter time with the kitten to acquire a sense of its unique personality before choosing it as a pet. Whatever kitten or cat you choose as a pet, proper training and loving care will help to make sure that the cat grows up to be a social, well-behaved animal.

Breeding and Producing Multiple Calico Kittens

If you are fascinated in breeding your own Calico cat, there are ways to augment the odds of producing one, but there is no sure-fire assurance that your efforts will pay off. To create a Calico kitten, one or both of its parents must have an “O” gene, which is carried by the “X” chromosome and changes black pigment into reddish pigment. If you breed two red cats, they create a red cat.

You must breed a non-red female cat with a red male cat to have a probability at producing a Calico. Additionally, you can breed a Calico female with a non-red or red male to possibly turn out a Calico. If the kittens produced are female, you may have a possibility that one or several of them will be Calico when the kittens are born.

Currently, the main issues concerning Calico kittens are their upbringing and cloning. With regards to cloning, it is said that it is impossible to produce same patterns in Calico cats by cloning methods.

Difference Between Calico or Tortoiseshell

Calico Cats originally got their name from Calico, the cloth (which, by the way gets its name from Calcutta – from where the cloth was supposed to originate.) Just to make sure, we looked up Calico in the dictionary. First we checked Oxford (an English dictionary) , and discovered it defined Calico as an uncolored, unprinted cloth. So then we checked Webster’s (an American dictionary) where Calico is defined as a printed multicolor cloth – and multicolor is what best describes Calico Cats.

So when you see a cat which has a lot of white with patches of orange and black, that is a Calico Cat. But some people call cats with coloration “Tortoiseshells” (or Torties for short.) Is there a difference?

Not really. The gene that causes a cat to be a Tortoiseshell is the same one that causes the orange and black of a Calico. But, for those who want to make a distinction between the two terms, a Calico has an additional gene for white. A Tortoiseshell cat is predominantly a mixture of orange and black hair.

But it doesn’t really matter. Many people use one term – either Calico or Tortoiseshell – for both types of coloring.

Are all Calicos Female?

Almost all. About 1 in 3000 Calico kittens are male – which makes male Calicos pretty rare. The reason is the two genes required to make a Calico are both carried on the x chromosome, and they must be separate x chromosomes. And it is two x chromosomes that make a cat female. Normally males have only one x chromosome and a y chromosome. Very rarely, a male will have two x and one y, but this is abnormal. So, while it will mean a male Calico, it will also mean sterility.

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