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Calico Cat Breeds

By Sonia Nair

Calico cats are one of the popular types of domestic cats that are much loved for their tricolor fur. If you search for the different cat breeds, then, calico will be missing from the list. In other words, calico cats are not specific breeds, like the Siamese or the Persian. A calico cat can be a Manx or a Turkish van or a Scottish Fold. This article will provide you with some information about what is a calico cat and calico cat breeds.
More about Calico Cats

As mentioned above, calico cats are not a specific breed, but are named for their coat color that resembles the calico cloth once imported to England from India.
A true calico cat must have three colors on the fur coat. These colors are white, black and red/orange. These colors appear on the fur coat in patches, with white in a higher concentration. Calico cats are often mistaken fortortoiseshell cats, for the coat color and in some regions, these names are used interchangeably. However as per experts, the colors on calico cats appear as distinct patches, whereas the coat color of tortoiseshell cats is a mixture or blend of the three colors with a minimum amount of white. You may also come across diluted versions of calico cats with fawn, cream, chocolate and gray patches, instead of the conventional color of these cats. These cats are otherwise known as calimanco, clouded tiger, tricolor cat, mi-ke (Japanese) and lapjeskat (Dutch).

Calico Cat Genetics

Another interesting fact about calico cats is that most of these felines are females. This is due to the genetics of this cat. The genes responsible for this color combination is carried by X chromosomes. While the genetic code for color black is carried by one X chromosome, the red/orange color code is carried by another X chromosome. White color is carried by an entirely different gene. So a cat needs two such X chromosomes to get this color combination and two X chromosomes are possible in females only. So, almost all calico cats are females and in some rare cases, calico males are also found, but, they are found to be sterile with an unusual genetic composition - XXY. Even the names for calico cats are meant for females. As these cats are not a specific breed, calico cats personality will be based on the breed of individual cats.

Calico Cat Breeds

By now, you know that there is no separate breed of calico cats and these cats can belong to other cat breeds. However calico cats can belong to the sixteen cat breeds among the 41 officially recognized cat breeds. The following is the list of those cat breeds that can produce calicos.
  • Persian
  • Maine Coon
  • Norwegian Forest
  • Turkish Angora
  • Manx
  • Exotic
  • Selkirk Rex
  • American Bobtail
  • American Wirehair
  • American Curl
  • American Longhair
  • American Shorthair
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Cornish Rex
  • Devon Rex
These are the sixteen officially recognized cat breeds that can come up with calico cats. Now, you have a basic idea regarding some interesting facts about calico cats. While, there is no guarantee that breeding any of the above said cats will result in calico cats. It happens once in a while, when an embryo acquires the specific genes for this color combination and develop to a calico cat.

Researches regarding calico cats are still underway and as of now, they are one of the popular type of domestic cat with a spectacular tricolor fur coat. In some regions, these cats are believed to bring good luck to the owner. So, if you are interested in these cats, you can also adopt one. There are numerous cute calico cat names and you may choose the best for you pet.

 

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