Calico kittens are those that have a coat that combines the colors white, orange and black. Although some people believe that it is a breed, these cats, for the most part, are common specimens with a genetic alteration that manifests in their mantle.
Another misconception about these kittens is that only females can present this color. Although they are rare to see, it is also possible to find some males.
Either they attract attention or they scare. That happens to calico kittens, very particular specimens for the type of spots they have on their hair.
The Uniqueness of These Tricolor Calico Kittens
The first thing to know is that copies of this type are not a particular variety. Since the conjunction of the three colors is independent of the breed. Calico kittens present the three basic shades of feline hair: white, black and orange.
It is also common to wear a reddish spot on the eyes, which usually have amber or copper hue. The design of each individual’s fur is unique and unrepeatable.
The origin of this intricate drawing is related to its genetic inheritance. Cats have two sex chromosomes: the X, provided by the mother, and the Y, by the father. If after the conception the combination results in “XX”, the new individual will be female and if it is “XY”, male.
Now, the black and orange coloration is only transmitted through the female chromosome. So a male – who has only one X – cannot have both colors.
White, meanwhile, is not linked to sex and may or may not appear. Therefore, the most common is that the Calico is female, having orange and black by genetic inheritance. In addition to the white fruit of chance.
It is also possible, although difficult, to find three-colored males: the statistic ensures that 3000 females are born for each male Calico kitten.
These specimens have three sex chromosomes (“XXY”) instead of two, an anomaly is known as Klinefelter Syndrome and causes sterility. Thus, having two X chromosomes, these male cats can have black and orange in their mantle.
How Many Types of Calico Breeds Exist?
Although the combinations and coloration of tricolor cats vary from individual to individual, a general classification can be made based on more or less stable patterns:
- Calico Kittens: the white color is predominant, especially in the chest, belly, and legs. Its mantle is dotted with black and orange spots distributed in a disorderly manner. It is common for black to tend towards a dark grayish color.
- Carey Kittens: black and orange colors are present asymmetrically on the mantle. There is a predominance of dark tones, although diluted in color away from pure black and with very little white in general.
- Tricolor Tabby Kittens: they have a coat reminiscent of that of tigers. The three colors are presented in a fairly pure form, with striped or stained patterns.
Typologies apart, all are good companions, affectionate and faithful. This, together with its incredible fur, makes them stand out among the favorites of cat lovers.
Also, read this post about Ragdoll Kittens, another amazing breed of cats.
Calico Kittens Curiosities
Since time immemorial, these cats are usually related to good luck. In Ireland, it was considered that having a tricolor cat at home drove away evil spirits, while Japanese sailors never set sail without a Calico cat on board to ensure good weather during the voyage.
A beautiful legend tries to explain the origin of these minions. Centuries ago, the Sun, bored of always staying high, decided to go down to Earth.
Therefore, he asked the Moon to take his place so that humans did not notice his absence. Having done this, he chose to visit the animal he considered most perfect and discreet: a black cat.
But in his feline form, the star king became as curious as they and it took him longer to return to his place more than he had promised. The Moon, tired of covering her back, returned to the night sky without warning.
Such was the surprise of the Sun when he saw that the Moon was retreating, that he fled quickly from the cat’s body, leaving behind some sun rays that combined with the original dark fur.
Beyond the myths surrounding these beautiful kittens, there is something of no doubt. Their presence gives households a positive energy that is reflected in the well-being of all family members.