Calico cats

You may have seen these cats around; their coats are a combination of black, orange and white, arranged in blocks of colour.

Generally speaking, calico cats are female. It’s a genetic thing!


Coat color in cats is a sex-linked trait, a physical characteristic (coat color) related to gender. Female mammalian animals have two X chromosomes (XX), males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (XY). The genetic coding for displaying black or orange color is found on the X chromosome. The coding for white is a completely separate gene. For a male cat to display the calico colours, he’d need to have an extra X chromosome. (Pay attention at the back of the class!)

By the way, they are not a separate breed of cat, and it can be tricky to try to breed for these colours. Calico cats are not to be confused with tortoiseshell cats. The latter has little or no white in their coat colour, and the colours tend to be blended or swirled together.


Many people consider calico cats will bring good luck to their home, especially if they happen to ‘adopt’ their owners! Some people call them “money cats”.

Puschka, my Grand-cat!!
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