Calico is not a breed of cat. The word “Calico” actually refers to the cat’s coat coloring. 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, black and orange), but in the Tortoiseshell cat these colors are swirled together instead of in patches.
Calico cats can be found in many breeds including:
- American Shorthair
- American Curl
- Japanese Bobtail
- Oriental Shorthair
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
- British Shorthair
- Turkish Van
- Scottish Fold
- Exotic Shorthair
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 – most Calicos 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. That almost always means that Calico cats are female. It should be noted that about one 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.
One in every 3,000 male Calico cats is born sterile.
Here’s something you may not have known about the Calico cat. You can’t breed Calicos. The Calico hair color happens by chance – they are not a genetically engineered breed.
Calico Personality, Temperament, and Traits
There are scientifically documented studies about behavior and personality in specific cat breeds. But 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 they engage in different behavior. However, a few characteristics have been attributed to the Calico cat.
The Cat Breeds Encyclopedia attributes some unique characteristics to the Calico personality. They are said to have sweet, endearing personalities. The Calico cat is said to be warm-hearted, affectionate, intelligent and good with children.
The Calico personality is also thought to be quirky. They are said to have a sassy but loving personality.
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.
Ultimately, the Calico personality will be determined by a variety of factors including breed, experience and environment.
Fun Facts about Calico Cats and the Calico Personality
Here are some fun facts about Calico cats.
- Because of their rarity, Calico cats are considered “lucky” by many around the world. The Calico cat is thought to bring good 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.
- 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.
To Learn more about cat personality, go to What You Need to Know About Cat Personality.