All About the Calico Personality

All About the Calico Personality

A Calico cat stretches across a tiled floor.A Calico cat stretches across a tiled floor.
A Calico cat stretches across a tiled floor.A Calico cat stretches across a tiled floor.

Table of Contents:

  1. Personality, Temperament, and Traits of the Calico Cat
  2. Tortidude: The Calico Cat Personality
  3. Breeds of Calico Cats
  4. More Information on Calicos
  5. Fun Facts About Calico Cats

Calico is not a breed of cat. The word “Calico” actually refers to the cat’s tri color coat pattern. Calico cats have patches of three different colors in their coats – white, black and orange. The Calico cat is different from the Tortoiseshell cat. It has the same colors (white, orange, and black), but in the Tortoiseshell cat these colors are swirled together instead of in patches.

Personality, Temperament, and Traits of the Calico Cat

There are scientifically documented studies about behavior and personality in specific cat breeds. Since Calico cats can be found in many different cat breeds, the Calico personality will vary. Calico cats are very different from one another and, as such, will exhibit different behaviors. A few characteristics, however, are popularly attributed to the Calico cat.

The Cat Breeds Encyclopedia attributes some unique characteristics to the Calico’s personality. They are said, for example, to have sweet, endearing personalities. The Calico cat’s disposition is also considered warm-hearted, affectionate, and intelligent. Many Calico breeds get along well with children and other pets to0.

The Calico personality is also thought to be quirky. They are said to have a sassy but loving temperament, enjoying active play as much as purring in their owners’ laps.  Some Calico cats have even been credited with intelligent acts of bravery, like saving their human and animal families or their entire litter of kittens from a burning building.

Tortidude: The Calico Cat Personality

In addition to similar, distinctive color patters, Tortoiseshell cats and Calico cats are said to share a personality trait that’s sometimes known as “tortitude.” The quality means that both breeds are occasionally notable for their spunk and sassy attitudes.

Like other cats, both male and female Calicos may display destructive behaviors like biting and scratching throughout their kitten years. Generally, pet owners are encouraged to redirect these behaviors with toys like scratching posts and tactics like positive reinforcement rather than declawing their cats.

Ultimately, the Calico personality will be determined by a variety of factors including breed, experience, and environment. With a little effort, research, and veterinary support they’re potentially a great kitty for any household.

Breeds of Calico Cats

Common breeds of Calico cat include:

  • American Shorthair
  • American Curl
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Oriental Shorthair
  • Persian
  • Devon Rex
  • Cornish Rex
  • Munchkin
  • British Shorthair
  • Turkish Van
  • Sphynx
  • Manx
  • Scottish Fold
  • Siberian
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • LaPerm

In fact, it would probably be easier to list breeds that never wear the Calico cat’s adorable mix of colors. These include pointed cat breeds like the Siamese or solid color cats like the Russian Blue. Dilute calico cats have a similar color pattern to traditional, black and orange calicos, but their coats typically come in much less intense colors.

More Information on Calicos

The origin of the Calico cat is unknown, but most think that they originated in Egypt. From there they may have been brought down the Mediterranean to Italy, Spain and France. Today, Calico cats can be found all around the globe.

Here’s another interesting fact about Calico cats – female Calicos vastly outnumber male ones. In fact, nearly all Calico cats are female. Here’s why. Males have one X and one Y chromosome while females have two X chromosomes. In cats, the gene that determines fur color is located on the X sex chromosome. While both male and female cats can get the orange gene from just one chromosome, it requires two X chromosomes for a cat to be Calico or Tortoiseshell cat. That almost always means that Calico cats are female.

How rare are male Calico cats? Just 1 in every 3,000 Calico cats is male. These male Calico cats have an extra X chromosome (XXY), which differs from the usual XY chromosomes of the normal male and the XX chromosome pair found in a female cat.

Most of those male Calico cats is born sterile. You can’t breed Calicos. The Calico hair color happens by chance – they are not a genetically engineered breed.

Fun Facts About Calico Cats

Here are some fun facts about Calico cats.

  • Calicos are one of the subjects of “The Duel,” a popular children’s poem by Eugene Fields. The poem describes a fight between a “calico cat” and “gingham dog.”
  • Because of their rarity, Calico cats are considered lucky by many around the world. The Calico cat is thought to bring good luck and fortune to the homes and families that adopt them. They are also considered to be a little magical because of their three colors.
  • In the 1870s, Calico cats were named the official symbol of fortune in Japan. They’re sometimes called “money cats” here and elsewhere.
  • The Calico cat became the official cat of the state of Maryland in 2001. The Calico cat was chosen because the colors of its fur are similar to that of the Baltimore Oriole, which is the official state bird.
  • According to Irish folklore, if you have a wart that you want to get rid of, just rub it against a Calico cat’s tail.

Want to adopt a Calico cat? Find a shelter or cat and dog rescue organization near you.

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