In 99.9% of females, the calico cat has a coat with a characteristic coloration of three colors: white, orange and black. The patterns are random and can be born from parents of different shades. Learn more about this condition in the following article.
Calico cat: what to know
Believe it or not, 1 in 3,000 tricolor cats is male and only 1 in 10,000 is fertile. This means that they are almost always female and that they have cells with two X chromosomes. The orange color in felines is due to a gene located on the X chromosome . The only way that there are black and white tones in the coat is that it contains two X chromosomes (or what is the same, that it is female).
Now, the X chromosome that derives in tricolor hair can come from both the mother and the father (males have XY chromosomes). Orange and black colors are present on the X chromosome, and white is found on the S gene, which can vary between more or less light areas.
Females have two X chromosomes, so they can pass on black and orange to their offspring. Men with only one X chromosome can inherit either black or orange, but not both. It is worth mentioning that the Y chromosome is not associated with any particular color, it is only responsible for determining sex.
In addition, genes can be dominant (greater influence or strength) or recessive (they are hidden from a dominant). In the case of the calico cat, the “combination” would be one dominant orange gene and one recessive orange gene.
When can a male be calico?
Genetic abnormality: presence of more than two sex chromosomes. If you have XXY it will be tricolor and at the same time sterile.
Somatic Mutation: He is an orange male cat with black spots similar to moles on people.
Chimeras: when the cat comes from eggs fertilized by different sperm.
Hermaphroditism: in the case of female specimens that during fetal development had a hormonal imbalance. You should keep in mind that a male calico suffers from Klinefelter’s Syndrome, and that not only makes them sterile, but also causes various health problems, including genital deformity, brain damage, or organ failure. They do not usually live long, and if they do, they need too much care and treatment
Legends about these cats
Due to the rarity of its coat since ancient times (there are traces of tricolor cats in Ancient Egypt ), they have wanted to grant magical powers to the calico cat. For example, Japanese sailors carried one on their ships to ward off storms and ward off ghosts. The main legend regarding this fur comes from the year 1100 in the monasteries of Tibet, where there were constant misunderstandings and disagreements. Everyone felt a deep discomfort because they could not live together in harmony.
The three monks of the most important temples began fasting to find the wisdom and enlightenment necessary to solve the problem. The next day, at the door of the Monastery, a tricolor cat appeared with her three kittens, all of them calico females like her. This was received as a sign from heaven and they dedicated themselves to taking care of them.
At the next meeting, the priests came to the conclusion that the colors of the kittens were symbols: black and white represented Yin and Yang (the opposing forces), and orange was the hearth and home. Therefore, they had to overcome the differences. The newborns were also loaded with meaning: they are the new, the change, and the union.
On the other hand, in Ireland, it is believed that if you rub a Calico Cats tail on a wart during the month of May, it will fall off in minutes. And, in addition, the so famous “lucky cat” or Maneki-Neko of Japan is based on a calico. It is widely used in stores and homes to attract fortune. The figure has one hand raised as a signal of appeal.
Calico cats in popular culture
On the Asian continent, especially in Japan in medieval times, short-tailed tricolor cats were believed to bring good luck. This thought has led to the superstition that having a tricolor cat in your home drives away evil spirits and bad energies.
Currently, calico cats are embodied in different expressions of Japanese art, for example, in paintings, sculptures, calendars, caricatures, etc., as well as the famous “maneki neko” figure, the cat with the raised paw that we can find with often in oriental shops or restaurants. This figure represents the short-tailed tricolor cat, and is used to obtain good fortune.
Finally, it does not matter if your kitten is calico or tricolor or not, cats themselves bring good fortune and good vibes to your home, they are good life companions. It doesn’t matter if they are male or female, sterile or fertile, cats are beautiful, and should be loved and respected, especially if through the centuries they have been associated with mystery.
Calico cats are considered lucky cats
In some parts of the world, like Japan, calico kittens are thought to bring you good luck. Even beckoning cats, or “lucky cats,” are traditionally calico. And in places like the US and UK, some people believe that male calico will bring good luck because they are so rare. But we like to think that any cat’s love is accepted
Calico cats are certainly beautiful and interesting. If you are like so many others who have seen a unique calico and decided to add one to your family, consider adopting one at your local animal shelter, as there are many calicos out there looking for a forever home. Also, percale kittens are different from tortoiseshell kittens. While tortoises can have orange and black on their fur, calicos are usually mostly white and will have patches of color throughout their fur.