All You Need To Know About Calico Cats

First of all, a Calico cat is not a specific cat breed as many people may think, but it refers to a possible pattern in a cat breed.
All You Need To Know About Calico Cats

If your feline friend is a calico, then you already know how lucky you are. If you don’t have one, worry not, as this article will introduce you to them.

First of all, a Calico cat is not a specific cat breed as many people may think, but it refers to a possible pattern in a cat breed. Therefore this coat pattern may be present in some crossbred cats, but it’s also common in purebred felines.

A Calico cat has between 20-75% of white fur that is mixed with black and orange patches of color. 

The shades of orange and black colors may vary from light to darker. Every calico must have this tri-color coat, but what other types of Calico cats do we have?

To learn more, keep reading and find out why these cats are so popular among cat lovers!

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What Are The Types Of Calico Cats?

Calico cats are very special, and what’s most interesting is that this calico coloration is a result of a genetic mutation. However, breeders cannot aim for a litter of calicos as they cannot be bred, the pattern happens naturally.

So, check out these types of Calico cats and learn something new about these cats with fascinating coats!

#1 Classic Calico Cat

A classic or traditional Calico cat is a tri-color cat that includes white, orange, and black patches. Usually, cats with calico coats will have white faces, legs, and chests with black and orange patches on their forehead, backs, and ears.

It’s quite important to differentiate Calico from torbie and tortie cats. At first, they may appear to be very similar. 

The main difference is that tortoiseshell cats have a bi-color pattern that includes black and orange colors and variations of these two colors. Furthermore, torbie cats refer to the pattern of tortoiseshell markings with tabby stripes.

As far as their personality is concerned, it usually depends on the specific breed of cat; however, they’re often described as extremely gentle, lovely, and affectionate felines.

#2 Patched Tabby Calico Cat

A Patched Tabby is another type of Calico cat with the tabby pattern. 

Cats with this type of calico pattern will often have brown stripes, that is, the tabby pattern, on their forehead (with a distinctive M-shaped marking), on their backs, legs, tails, and each side of the body, along with orange patches. 

Usually, patched tabby Calico cats have white paws and chests and are often called caliby cats.

#3 Dilute Calico Cat

Dilute Calico cats are very interesting for their unusual appearance. Just like a classic Calico cat, their pattern consists of three fur colors but diluted.

That means that instead of black patches, a diluted Calico cat will have smoke gray or blue patches, and instead of orange ones, it will have cream-colored patches.

These diluted colors happen due to a recessive gene. So, both cat parents must possess this recessive gene to produce such a coloration. 

However, the parents don’t necessarily have to be Diluted Calico cats themselves; they only need to possess the recessive gene.

This type of Calico cat is very interesting and popular for its unusual appearance, and in some countries, they’re called Clouded Tigers because their colors seem clouded and faded.

#4 Long-haired Calico Cat

Calico cats may have long or short hair. So, all of these previously mentioned types of Calico cats can also be long-haired. 

However, this type of Calico cat is more common in long-haired cat breeds that can have these specific patterns, such as Maine Coons.

Maine Coons are famous for their size and lovely personalities, which is why they’re often called gentle giants. Many cat owners claim that calico Maine Coons are even more affectionate than others.

#5 Short-haired Calico Cat

Short-haired Calico cats are the most common type, and even though there are purebred cats with this specific pattern, it’s most common in Domestic Shorthair cats. This type of cat refers to the average mixed cat of unknown ancestry. 

So, if you’re looking for a short-haired Calico cat, you can check in adoption or rescue centers, as that’s the place where you’ll be most likely to find a domestic cat with this pattern.

#6 Male Calico Cat

The main reason why a male calico cat is on this list is because they’re extremely rare.

In general, Calico cats are usually females because both sex and coat color are determined by the X chromosome. Male cats have one X and one Y chromosome. 

If it happens that a male cat has this calico pattern, it’s because the male has XXY chromosome, which is a genetic rarity called Klinefelter Syndrome.

Unfortunately, due to this syndrome, rare male calico cats are sterile, meaning that they cannot reproduce. In addition, they’re prone to more health problems and abnormalities that can affect their health condition and shorten their lifespan.

So, if you have a male calico or you at least see one, then you should consider yourself very lucky!

More Interesting Facts About Calico Cats

After introducing you to the different types of Calico cats, now it’s time to find out what’s special about Calico cats.


The exact origin of Calico cats is unknown; however, it is believed that they were first noticed in Egypt and were later spread along the Mediterranean by merchants. 

Merchants brought these cats with them to protect their supplies from rats and rodents, which is probably how they ended up in Spain, Italy, France, and all over the world.

According to researchers, this pattern, specifically the orange and black patches, are caused by X-chromosome inactivation, meaning that one X-chromosome becomes inactivated. 

If that inactivated chromosome carries the gene for the white fur patches, another color will be activated instead.

Appearance & Personality

As calico refers to the pattern of the cat’s coat and not to the cat breed; the size, type of coat, and personality traits all depend on the specific breed of cat. 

Despite that, many Calico cat owners claim that they are more affectionate and friendlier than other cats of the same breed. They’re described as highly intelligent cats who are great pets for families with children or other pets.

Moreover, their coat is described as very soft and doesn’t shed a lot. I, myself, have a patched tabby calico cat, and she has extremely soft and silky fur, especially when compared to my other cats.

Here’s the list of some cat breeds that may have this calico pattern:

🐾 Maine Coon

🐾 Sphynx

🐾 American Shorthair

🐾 British Shorthair

🐾 Norwegian Forest cat

🐾 Persian

🐾 American Bobtail

🐾 Japanese Bobtail

🐾 Manx

🐾 Turkish Van

🐾 Exotic Shorthair

🐾 Scottish Fold

🐾 Siberian cat

🐾 Turkish Angora

Health & Care

Just as with the appearance and personality, the health condition of a Calico cat will also depend on the specific breed they belong to. However, every male calico cat is susceptible to certain health issues due to Klinefelter’s Syndrome. 

So, male calico cats are always sterile, and they may experience various health issues, including cognitive issues, behavioral problems, obesity, and similar.

As far as their coat and other care are concerned, they don’t need a lot of grooming as they don’t shed a lot. Still, long-haired Calicos will require more grooming and brushing than short-haired ones. 

Because of their low shedding and lower production of the Feld d 1 protein that causes allergies, it’s considered that Calico cats are safe for allergy sufferers.

They’re energetic but not too much, which means that you should provide them with some basic toys and cat tools to keep them entertained when bored, but in their free time, they’re often busy cuddling with their owners.

Calico cats need top-quality cat food based on the specific breed they belong to. For example, you need to be careful if the breed you have is prone to obesity, or for example, if you have a Persian cat, you may require special food for Persian felines due to their long-haired coat and nutritional needs.

The Meaning Of Calico Cats In Different Cultures

Calico cats are very popular, and that can be seen in different cultures.

• In the United States and the UK, Calico cats are often called lucky cats and are considered to be a symbol of fortune.

• In Japan, Calico cats represent good fortune. Japanese sailors would bring these cats onto ships to bring them good luck and a safe trip. 

Moreover, in Japan, the waving cat statue Maneki-Neko or the money cat is based on a Calico. Therefore, many business owners put this statue at the entrance to their store to bring them food fortune.

• Ireland is popular for folktales about Calico cats. One of the Irish tales says that if you rub a calico cat’s tail against a wart, the wart will disappear.

Amazing Calico Cat Facts

• Calico doesn’t refer to the specific breed of cat but to a possible pattern that is common for some cat breeds.

• The size and the personality of calico cats depend on the specific breed of cat that they belong to.

• Every cat with a calico coloration has a unique pattern.

• Usually, calico cats are females due to the X-chromosome.

• Male calico cats are rare and are always sterile, meaning that calicos cannot be bred, but this pattern happens naturally.

• These cats were named after a cotton fabric that was imported from India to North America.

• Calico cats are the state cat of Maryland because they have the same colorations as the state bird – the Baltimore oriole.

Final Thoughts

This article provides you with important information about Calico cats and their types.

The Calico cat is a tri-color cat, but the name calico doesn’t refer to the specific breed but to a specific pattern that is possible for several cat breeds.

There are several types of Calico cats, and these cats don’t have any special characteristics because their appearance and personality depend on the specific breed of cat they belong to.

It’s important to mention that calico cats are usually females; male calicos are extremely rare. They are sterile and prone to different health issues.

Calico cats, although just a coat pattern, are very popular in many cultures and are often considered as a symbol of good luck. So, if you have a Calico cat or you’re looking for one, I hope that it will bring you a lot of joy and good fortune!