Calico Cats

Calico Cats - Everything You Wanted To Know

Are you ready to learn everything there is to know about the calico cat? We have spent a lot of time on this article to provide you with everything you could ever want to know about calico cats.

Calico, refers to the colors of a cat’s fur and not the breed of a cat. Calico cats are 99% female and are comprised of black, orange, and white fur. Only 1 in 3000 calico cats are male and usually have Klinefelter Syndrome which means they have an extra X chromosome (XXY)

These tri-colored cats are amongst the most popular cats in the world, which is why people have so many questions about them.

Are Calico Cats Rare?

No, calico cats, in general, are not very rare, they’re usually all females though. Male calico cats, on the other hand, are extremely rare with a 0.034%(1 in 3000) occurrence in all calico cats born.

What Kind Of Personality Does A Calico Cat Have?

Calico cats are usually very independent, loyal, and lovable. Having said this, we believe that the personality of a cat is more dependent on how you raise them, their gender, and whether or not they’ve been spayed. A cat’s personality being connected with the color of its fur has never been conclusively documented.

What determines the personality of your cat is more about how you treat them throughout their life. Any cat that’s been teased and constantly handled from a young age will definitely be temperamental, to say the least. The calico cat that I had for around 15 years was always calm and loveable.

Are Calico Cats Mean?

There’s no real evidence that reveals that calico cats are more mean or aggressive compared to other colors of cats. Although many people do believe that calico cats are more feisty but also lovable in general.

Can A Calico Cat Have A Calico Kitten?

Yes, calico cats can have calico kittens, as long as the kitten has two X chromosomes meaning they’ll most likely be female. Calico cats can produce a variety of differently colored cats and are not limited to the calico color exclusively. It’s common for a calico mother to give birth to solid orange or black males and sometimes calico females.

Are Calico Cats Expensive?

Not particularly, you’ll find that most domestic cat breeds are similarly priced including calico colored ones. Some people try to sell male calico cats at a high price promoting the fact that they’re so rare. The sad truth is that male calico cats will almost certainly suffer from health-related issues due to genetic defects we’ll cover later in the article. We would not suggest paying any high price for a male calico cat as you’ll probably land up spending a lot more money on medical bills and be left heartbroken when he doesn’t reach the full 15-year life expectancy of an average calico cat.

Why Does My Calico Cat Bite Me?

A cat of any color and bread will sometimes bite you when you’re petting them a lot and they feel overly stimulated. That’s not to say they aren’t enjoying the attention but they probably just feel a bit overwhelmed with the sensation and need some sort of an outlet(biting) to try and release the excitement. When my cats reach this point of excitement I usually calm down with the petting to save my hands from being attacked.Calico Cats - Everything You Wanted To Know

It’s also possible that your calico cat just wants some peace and quiet. If this is the case, the longer you pet her, the more vicious and irritated she’s going to get. It makes me think of how different cats are from dogs, sometimes cats just want to be left alone, hardly ever the case with a dog.

Some people believe that calico cats are more aggressive than other cats in general. However, there isn’t any clear evidence confirming this assumption.

Which Two Cats Can Produce A Calico Cat?

Calico cats are born randomly, as long as they have two X chromosomes, one with the orange color gene and the other with the black color gene, they’re eligible for being calico. A black female and orange male will normally produce a calico female kitten and solid black male kittens. An orange female and black male cat will normally produce calico females and solid orange male kittens.

Which Breeds Of Cats Can Be Calico?

Since calico refers to the colors of a cat rather than the breed, there are many breeds that can be calico, namely:

  • Manx Cat
  • American Shorthair
  • Maine Coon
  • British Shorthair
  • Persian
  • Arabian Mau
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Siberian
  • Turkish Van
  • Turkish Angora
  • Norwegian Forest Cat

What’s The Difference Between A Calico, Tabby, And Tortoiseshell Cat?

These are all names given to distinguish different colors and color patterns in cats. Here are the descriptions of these colors and patterns:


  • Calico cats are tri-colored domesticated cats comprised of black, white, and orange fur coats.
  • Calicos are normally 25% to 75% white with black and orange patches over the rest of the coat.
  • The colors of the calico cat are randomly distributed throughout the cat’s coat and don’t follow a certain pattern unless they’re a calibby variation. (Tabby pattern with calico colors)
  • The calibby variation has the same colors as a calico but presents them in the form of tabby stripes.
  • Sometimes the colors of a calico cat will be lighter than normal and are referred to as “dilute calico” (Light orange, charcoal, and cream)
  • Calico cats are 99.96% female and 0.034% male.
  • Male calico cats usually sterile and have health defects due to Klinefelter Syndrome.


  • Tortoiseshell cats are predominantly black and orange but sometimes have a small amount of white fur as well.
  • Tortoiseshell cats can also be calico as long as they’re comprised of white, black, and orange fur. If they’re only black and orange they’re technically tortoiseshell only, as calico cats are defined by three colors and not only two.
  • The tortoiseshell cat also doesn’t have a certain color pattern and is randomly marked with orange and black patches of fur.
  • Tortoiseshell cats are also 99.96% female.
  • Klinefelter Syndrome is also extremely common in male tortoiseshell cats.


  • What makes a cat a “tabby cat” is the pattern of the colors of their coat and not the colors themselves.
  • A tabby cat has an M shape on its forehead.
  • It usually has stripes around the eyes, face, and legs.
  • Tabby cats can be male or female with no tendency to either sex.

How Long Do Calico Cats Live For?

Female calico cats will live to around 15 years of age which is the average life expectancy of most domestic cats. Male calico cats have shorter lifespans due to the fact that they often suffer from Klinefelter Syndrome due to having XXY chromosomes. All cats normally have only two chromosomes, XX for females and XY for males. Male calico cats need two X chromosomes to get their three colors as the X chromosome contains the color gene but they also have to have the Y chromosome to make them a male. This can cause developmental issues, bone mineral deficiency, and increased body fat which all lead to other health problems in general.

On average, a male calico cat will always live a shorter life compared to his female counterpart, although the amount of time he lives will depend on the severity of health defects he may have.

Do Calico Cats Need To Be Spayed?

Yes, if you don’t want them to reproduce that is. Most calico cats are females that can produce kittens of various colors depending on the type of cat they mate with. In the rare occurrence that you have a male calico cat, it’s highly likely that he’s sterile but not completely impossible. There’s also a high chance of other health defects manifesting in a male calico cat. Female calico cats are usually perfectly healthy to reproduce if you don’t spay them.

The Calico Cat Is The Official Cat Of Maryland

On the 1st of October 2001, the calico cat was declared the official cat of Maryland. This is because it shares its coloring with the state insect and the state bird which are the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly and the Baltimore oriole.

Widespread Calico Cat Beliefs

Because there are so many beliefs about calico cats, we’ve rounded up only the most popular ones here.

Calico cats bring luck and good fortune

Calico cats are commonly referred to as money cats in America due to the fact that they are believed to bring good luck and fortune to their owners.

The German word for a calico cat is Glückskatze (Lucky Cat)

There’s a belief in Ireland that calicos can heal warts

We can’t think of any science to back this one up but according to old Irish folklore, rubbing a calico tail up against a wart can help remove it.

The origins of calico cats are traced back to Egypt

Researchers have concluded that calico cats moved along the trade routes of Europe and Northern Africa. The orange color gene can be traced back to Egypt specifically.

Calico cats were preferred as ship cats

This is because cats were believed to bring good luck to the voyage and protect against bad weather and misfortune in general. With the calico cat being the most popular cat in terms of luck, it’s no wonder why they’ve traveled all over the world.

More Calico Cat Facts

Calico is often seen on the national cat of Japan

Calico colors are often seen in the national cat of Japan, the Japanese bobtail. They also believe that these types of cats bring good luck.

A calico cat prevented a railway station from closing down

A train station in Kinokawa was scheduled to be closed down due to budget cuts in 2007. This is when a calico cat was appointed Station Master and would greet passengers as they came and went. This soon became quite the spectacle and increased the business of the station by 17% thus preventing it from closing down.

They have different names around the world

  • Calico is the name people use in North America.
  • “Tortoiseshell and white” is what most of the rest of the world calls them.
  • In Japan, they are called mi-ke, or triple-fur.
  • The Dutch call them lapjeskat (Patches cat)
  • In Germany, they call them Glückskatze (Luck Cat)