Calico Cat - What is it and How to Spot One?

Calico Cat - What is it and How to Spot One?

Author WCF Staff


There are many different terms regarding cats that might sound a bit confusing if you’re new to the fascinating feline kingdom. One of the terms that we were curious about and didn’t understand at first was a calico cat. What does “calico cat” mean, and how can I spot a calico cat? Is it a breed? These are just some of the questions we asked ourselves when we first heard the term. Here’s what stands behind the term “calico cat.”

What does calico cat mean?

Calico cat actually refers to the cat’s coat colors. Any cat breed can have a calico pattern. The only thing the cat needs to have is three distinctly different colors on its coat. Theoretically, any three colors can be present on the cat’s body. However, the most common colors on a calico cat are;

  • White
  • Black
  • Orange (red)

cat on a log

Diluted calico

To make things a bit more complicated, there are other things you might notice in a cat and wonder if it is actually a calico cat. Sometimes, calico cats come in diluted colors. That means the most common combination of black, white, and orange will get diluted and appear as other colors. Those colors are;

  • Grey (called blue)
  • White
  • Gold

Fun facts about calico cats

The calico coat pattern is stunning, and we are not the first ones that noticed that. Many cat owners, breeders, and lovers wanted to know more about calico cats. They started studying them and found different interesting facts unique to cats with the calico pattern. Here are our favorite calico cat fun facts.

calico cat laying

1. Calico cats are almost always females

This was a bit of a surprise the first time we heard it, but calico cats are mostly females. This coat pattern is connected to the X chromosome, which female kittens get from both parents. In rare cases, when a male cat gets a calico pattern, it can happen for two possible reasons - spontaneous mutation or Klinefelter syndrome. Male kittens that are born with calico coat patterns are usually sterile.

2. Dilute calico cats are usually more expensive

Cat owners are always looking for unique pets that will stand out from the crowd. The calico coat pattern is somewhat rare, and diluted calico is even rarer. That makes the diluted calico cats more expensive. As we already mentioned, diluted calicos usually have blue, gold, and white colors (dilutes of orange, white, and black).

cat resting

3. The State of Maryland is all about calico

The state of Maryland seems to love the calico pattern. In fact, they made the calico cat their official state cat. That means there isn’t a single breed they chose; they love the coat color and chose it to represent the whole state. Plus, their state insect is a calico butterfly, and their state bird is a calico Baltimore Oriole.

Calico cat breeds

As we already mentioned, “calico cat” doesn’t refer to any specific breed. There are different breeds whose standard includes the calico pattern. The interesting thing is that different cat registries register different breeds, so various standards allow this pattern. Here are our favorite cat breeds that come in calico patterns;

1. Maine Coon

The first breed we included is the calico Maine Coon. This is the largest cat breed, and no matter which color it comes in, it looks magnificent. However, there is simply something special about a Maine Coon with a calico pattern. It really fits them, and they have huge patches of vivid colors on their coats.

2. Persian

The calico Persian is one of the best cuddling partners in the feline kingdom. These cats have incredibly soft coats and a sweet temperament that makes them enjoy cuddling. They love spending time with their owners, and if you have a calico Persian, you can be sure you will have a fantastic cat. Their soft, fluffy coats simply look stunning in the calico pattern.

3. Manx

The third breed we decided to include is the amazing calico Manx. These cats have unique features that already give them an impressive appearance. However, if you add the calico pattern to the already fantastic looks, you end up with a gorgeous tailless calico cat. The Manx is a natural hunter, and it looks absolutely fabulous in calico.

How to care for a calico cat?

Many inexperienced cat owners think carrying for a calico cat is different from carrying for other cats. The short answer to the question, “How to care for a calico cat?” is - the same as any other cat. Your cat will need regular vet visits, grooming, high-quality nutrition, and an absolute abundance of love and affection. Basic care is the same; you only need to adapt to the cat’s overall health, temperament, and coat type.

calico cat looking up

Does the calico pattern influence the cat’s temperament?

Some owners claim cats with specific coat patterns or colors have unusual temperaments. However, the cat’s temperament is not influenced by its coat color or pattern. It is influenced by the cat’s breed, socialization, and training. Calico cats and non-calico cats can behave the way you’d want them to behave if you dedicate time to raising them, training them, and getting them used to different situations, pets, and strangers. Specific cat breeds might have different character traits, but the calico pattern will not influence the cat’s overall character.

In conclusion

Calico cat is a term that describes a cat with three coat colors; most commonly white, black, and orange. However, they can have different colors on their coats and can even have diluted colors. The coat pattern gives a cat a unique look, and all calico patterns are unique. They happen spontaneously, so it is impossible to find two exact patterns. If you have the chance to get a cat with these unique colors, we strongly advise you to take the opportunity and get the gorgeous cat and make them your companion.

World Cat Finder Team

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