What are Calico cats?
Calico cat is not a particular cat breed or cat that originates from a particular region.
Calico cats are just lovely tri-colored felines that truly stand out with their unique coat patterns which do not match any cat breed.
This unique coat color pattern is a blend of white, black, and orange or brown patches.
Another kind of cat with such a unique coat color is the tortoiseshell cat, not as beautiful or has 3 colors as the Calicos, but can have 2 or more colors, usually brown and black, and it can be any orange, yellow, cream, gold with patches of gray, blue or chocolate color.
How are Calico cats’ coats formed?
The morphology of the calico cat coat is fascinating. The way the 3 colors are mixed is a result of genetic dance.
Let’s create some illustrations to understand the genetic make-up of the calico cats.
First, the dominant colors of these cats are white, black, and orange or brown.
Let’s say the orange and black color genes are grouped as O, and others as o.
Then there’s this white spotting gene (S) that’s not so much about color as it is about where the colors get placed. It’s like the decorator of the cat world.
In female cats (XX), there’s a cool process where one of their X chromosomes decides to take a break and sits out, like a player on the bench. This X-inactivation party results in spots of different colors on their coats.
So, in a nutshell, here’s the deal with a girl calico cat (XX):
One X chromosome might carry the orange gene (X(O)), while the other rocks the non-orange gene (X(o)).
That white spotting gene (S) plays its part, creating the snazzy patches of color.
Thanks to X-inactivation, some cells show off the orange gene, while others flaunt the non-orange one, producing that distinctive tri-color masterpiece.
But here’s a fun twist in the tale – male calico cats (XY) are like the rare gems of the calico world.
They’re kind of like genetic rebels, usually the result of having an extra X chromosome (XXY). And because of this chromosomal shake-up, male calico cats often find themselves unable to pass on their cool calico genes.
Yep, they’re mostly unable to have little calico kittens of their own.
How Long Do Calico Cats Live?
Cat parents who would love to have a calico in their home often ask about their lifespan.
Just like other cat pets, every calico cat has her one-of-a-kind personality, and how long they live depends on their lineage, health, and care.
In short, calico cats may have a mix of colors, but their behavior and longevity are not tied to their coat.
Calico cats do not live longer or shorter than other cats and can live for between 12 to 20 years on average, just like other cats.
While both male and female calico cats have an average life of 15 years, male calico cats have shorter lives than the female cat.
However, with good care and nutrition, calico cats live better indoors than when exposed to predators and harm outside or in the wild.
Calico cats, both male and female, can be your social butterflies with their colorful coat. They thrive on playtime, need their share of love and attention,
Each calico cat you come across is always a unique work of art, both in their looks and character.
So, whether they love to chase toys, curl up for a snooze, or just be their fabulous selves, these tri-colored felines bring a touch of charm and a lot of love to your home.