Panel Pets

Cat Info: Why Are Calico Cats Virtually At all times Feminine?

Table of Contents

Pookie the calico cat

(Image Credit score: Writer’s Instagram @maggieeclancy)

Once I adopted a calico kitten, Pookie, a number of years in the past, I didn’t assume twice about the truth that she’s feminine. I wished to get a feminine cat, and Pookie was lovable and match with my persona, in order that was that.

As I talked to fellow calico homeowners, I observed each single considered one of their calico cats was additionally feminine. This was stunning to me – was there actually no such factor as a male calico cat?

Based on the Humane Society, just one in about three thousand calico cats is male. However why are male calicoes so uncommon? I did some investigating to search out out why calico cats are nearly at all times feminine.

What Is A Calico Cat?

To start out this investigation, it’s vital to level out that calico is a coloration sample of a cat, not a breed. This eliminates a breed particular purpose for a feminine majority of calicos.

In truth, any breed of cat may be born with calico fur, though it’s rarer for purebreds like say, Russian Blues. To ensure that a cat to be thought of “calico,” three colours should be current within the coat: white, black, and orange. There may be room for variation in coloration, with cream, grays, and ginger.

What provides a calico cat this stunning fur sample? The reply lies throughout the cat’s chromosomes.

Chromosomes And Calicoes

calico cat in log

(Image Credit score: Getty Pictures)

Similar to with people, feminine cats have two X-chromosomes, one from the mom and one from the daddy, whereas male cats have an X-chromosome (from the mom) and a Y-chromosome (from the daddy).

In brief, feminine cats have two X-chromosomes and male cats have one X-chromosome and one Y-chromosome.

In cats, the X-chromosome is the decider on a majority of the cat’s fur coloration. Since a male cat solely has one X-chromosome from his mom, his fur coloration is dictated by that gene.

When a feminine cat is in fetal growth, considered one of her two X-chromosomes is randomly deactivated, which is named X-inactivation, for every cell. It is very important keep in mind that these deactivations are random and should not the identical for every cell. For instance, one cell could shut off the X-chromosome that reads “orange fur,” whereas one other cell could shut off the X-chromosome that reads “black fur.”

These random deactivations create both a tortoise shell sample or calico sample for the cat’s fur. White fur is decided with a separate gene and will speckle all through the coat.

Since white fur shouldn’t be dictated by chromosomes, because of this you’ll be able to see male cats with duo-colored coats, equivalent to a tuxedo cat, however not a calico.

How Do Male Calicoes Exist At All?

Given that a cat wants two X-chromosomes with a view to have a calico coat, how can one out of three thousand calico cats be male?

A male cat can have tri-colored fur if he inherits an additional X-chromosome, making his genetic make-up XXY versus XY. This cat is sort of at all times male, regardless of the additional X-chromosome.

In case you spot a male calico, it’s extremely doubtless that this cat is sterile, or unable to breed. Out of the 1 in three,000 calicoes that’s male, just one in 1,000 of these is definitely virile.

Breeders nonetheless are likely to shrink back from these fertile male calicoes, as there are potential well being points that may come up of their offspring as a result of further chromosome.

So the subsequent time you meet a calico, you could wish to ask what her title is. And if it’s an all orange cat? Chances are high he’s male.

Have you ever ever met a male calico, the unicorn of cats? Tell us within the feedback under!


  • Adam Johanson

    Adam Johanson is an animal lover and a blogger at Panelpets. He writes regularly regarding pets and how to take care of them, as well as general news stories about animals. When he isn't writing, Adam can usually be found playing with his two dogs or cuddling his cat.