Are all calico cats female?

Closeup of a calico cat

Although the majority of calico cats are female, most people are unaware that calico refers to a color pattern rather than a cat breed. Let's go a little more into what a calico cat is, which breeds can have calico colors, and why there aren't many male calico cats.

What Is a Calico Cat?

Calico cats are famous among cat enthusiasts due to their beautiful coats. Calico is not a feline breed, unlike Siamese or Persian cats. Calicos can be Persians, Maine coons, Manxes, and other breeds. must have three distinct hues in their coat: black, white, and orange. These three hues occur in patches on the coat, with white being the most prominent. get their name from the color of their coat, which mimics calico cloth, which was previously carried from India to Europe.

Calico cats are sometimes confused with tortoiseshell cats, and the labels are interchangeable in some areas. Calicos have distinct patches with a lot of white, whereas tortoises have mixed or blended colors with little to no white. Instead of the classic vivid white, orange, and black, calicos can have dilute coats with fawn, cream, chocolate, and gray spots.

What Breeds of Cats Can Be Calico?

Does this indicate that any cat may be calico, as calico is a color pattern rather than a breed? Calico cats can be produced by a variety of breeds, although not all. If you have your heart set on having one of these tricolored beauties, here are a few of the most popular calico breeds:

  • Persian
  • Maine coon
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Turkish Angora
  • Manx
  • Exotic
  • Selkirk Rex
  • American bobtail
  • American wirehair
  • American curl
  • American longhair
  • American shorthair
  • Japanese bobtail
  • Cornish Rex
  • Devon Rex
  • Sphynx

Why Are So Many Calico Cats Female?

It's a fact that almost all calico cats are female because of the unique chromosomal makeup that determines the color variations in their coats.

Male and female cats are determined by the sex chromosomes (X and Y). Each cat has a pair of sex chromosomes with the letters XX (female) and XY (male) as potential combinations (male). The coding gene for the black and orange hues of a calico's coat is also found on the X chromosome.

Calico cats have two X chromosomes, which means they have two color-coded chromosomes. She will only be calico if she receives one orange-coded X and one black-coded X.

For example, a cat inherits from her mother an X chromosome that codes for black hair and from her father an X chromosome that codes for orange fur. Females, on the other hand, have two X chromosomes, whereas men only have one. One X chromosome can overcome the other during development, allowing either black or orange to be the dominant hue in a given location. This color development happens in each individual cell, with one X chromosome turned off while the other remains active. Calico cats have orange and black coloring due to their different dominant X chromosomes.

But, where do the white patches come from? To make things even more complicated, calico cats must also inherit a gene unrelated to the X and Y chromosomes that codes for white fur.

Male cats cannot be calico because they have one X chromosome with coding for black or orange and one Y chromosome with no color genes. They can only convey one of two colors: black or orange.

How Do Male Calico Cats Occur?

A genetic abnormality known as Klinefelter's Syndrome and chimerism are two exceptions to the female-only calico rule. When a man receives an extra X chromosome from either his father or mother, he has Klinefelter's Syndrome, making his genetic composition XXY. Chimerism occurs when two embryos unite early in their development, resulting in two sets of DNA.

Both of these mutations are rare. These unicorn cats are almost always sterile, so they cannot be used to breed more calico patterns.

Male calico cats are frequently significantly less healthy than their female counterparts since they are born due to a genetic abnormality. Male calicos may have long and healthy lives with the right care, but they require special attention.

If you want to bring a calico cat into your life, she'll almost certainly be a female. You could get lucky and come across a unicorn cat—a male calico. You'll appreciate your new cat's companionship no matter what color he or she is.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.