Calico cats are very special type of cats. Just like any other cat they are beautiful in their own way, with their own history, legends and traits. In this article we prepared for you 18 interesting calico cat facts. From where did they originated from, their lifespan, believes about them to the facts that are only specific for them. Read and find out everything you need to know about them and more. Hope you enjoy!
Calico cat facts: #1 Where does calico name comes from
Calico cats got their name from a type of fabric that comes from India. This fabric is also called calico. They have this name because their patterns or colors are similar to that cloth. Latter, this fabric was imported to England and today it has small floral patterned prints.
Calico cat facts: #2 Different names in different cultures
Some of the cultures call calico cats by different name. In Netherlands, they are called lapjeskat and that means “patches cat”. Another example is Japan culture. They call calico cats mi-ke. In their language this means “triple fur”.
Calico cat facts: #3 Calico cats are believed to be migrated from Egypt
Because of the fact that calico cats are not a breed it is uncertain where do they come from. Nevertheless, many scientists believe that they originated from Egypt. Their patches are traced all the way back from migration of domesticated cats along trade routes in Europe and Northern Africa. They have been found and observed along the Mediterranean port cities of Europe, mostly in Spain, France and Italy.
Calico cat facts: #4 Calico cats are not a breed
Just like tabby cats, calico cats are not a breed. This term is used for a special coat pattern. It’s a pattern with three colors. Because of that, calico cats can have both short and long hair. They can also be a small cat or a big one. Thus, many cat breeds can be calico cats. In other words, cats like Turkish Van, British Shorthair, American Shorthair, Exotic Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail, Persian Manx and many more, can have calico coat patterns.
Calico cat facts: #5 Calico cats and tortoiseshell cats are not the same
Many people also call calico cat as tortoiseshell cat. But, there is a difference between the two. We can differentiate them by the presence or absence of white color. In other words, the difference is in the coat pattern. Tortoiseshell pattern have only two colors and calico cats have three colors. They both have red and black color in their patter, but calico cats also have white coloring, while tortoiseshell doesn’t. It is important to mention that calico cats pattern can also include brown, cream, cinnamon and blue colors. Furthermore, calico cats have distinct color patches, while tortoiseshell color patches are blended together.
Calico cat facts: #6 Are all calico cats female?
Did you know that 99.99% of calico cats are female? But, that doesn’t mean that they are all female. Calico cats can be male too, but they are very rare. Behind this there is a scientific reason.The thing is that only X chromosome determines the color of the cat. And we all know that females have two X chromosomes. In addition, males Y chromosome does not have any color genes. That means that, because of only one X chromosome in males, males can have only one color and not multiple coloring. That is also a reason why most completely orange cats are males. It is important to mention that there is exception which can make male cat a calico cat. In this cases male calico cat has XXY chromosomes.
See also: 12 Interesting Facts about Cat Paws
Calico cat facts: #7 Klinefelter’s syndrome
A case where a male calico cats have XXY chromosomes is called Klinefelter’s syndrome. This term is actually used when humans have that combination of chromosomes, but people use it for cats to. When a cat (or human) have this syndrome it usually comes with being sterile. Basically, only one in 3000 female calico cats is male, and only one in 10000 of male calico cats is fertile. But, this is not the only problem. Ones who have Klinefelter’s syndrome usually have all sorts of health problems. They can have brain damage, genital deformities and even organ failures.
Calico cat facts: #8 Lucky charm
Did you know that Calico cats are considered as lucky charms and omen of good luck in many cultures? That is because of the fact that they are so rare. For example, many people belive that calico cats will bring fortune and happiness to families that have them. In England and United States they are considered especially lucky. You might even hear them calling calico cats as money cats. It is important to mention that this belief mostly goes for male cats because they are even rarer.
Furthermore, in the 1870’s, calico cats were declared an official symbol of fortune in Japan. You probably know about Maneki neko, a Japanese cat talisman. Maneki neko is almost always calico cat and it is thought that this charm brings fortune and wealth. If Maneki neko’s right paw is raised you will be lucky and the higher that paw is raised, the luckier you’ll be. Also, it is common for Japanese sailors to bring calico cats on their voyage. They believe that they will keep them safe from unfavorable seas.
Calico cat facts: #9 Breeding
Calico cats are very hard to breed. We can actually call it a gamble. That is because of the fact that they are not a genetically engineered breed. Furthermore, a reason for that can be the fact of male calico cats being sterile, which is explained in before. You can try getting calico kittens by breeding black and orange cats or calico females. But, getting a calico kitten still remains to be a chance of luck. Now, we know why are they so rare and why are they considered as magical and lucky. In addition, because it is so hard to get a calico kitten, many cat breeders are avoiding the production of calico cats.
Calico cat facts: #10 Helpful for science
Firstly, calico cats are very helpful when it comes to research of physiological differences in mammals of opposite genders. This researches might lead to advance in sociology, psychiatry, psychology, medicine and biology. Also, scientists are struggling with calico cats cloning because of the X chromosomes’ random inactivation, an effect called x-linked inactivation. Thus, some scientist think that there is a possibility of this phenomenon to be more of an influence on the future of cloning. Furthermore, the way in which only one X chromosome is inactivated is also interesting. It could lead to the understanding of the process of epigenetic control, meaning the way changes in gene activity can be inherited without changing the DNA code.
Calico cat facts: #11 Calico cats lifespan
When getting a pet, many people are interested in how long can this animal live. This is one of the most common questions for calico cats too. If a calico cat is healthy and if you take good care of her, the average lifespan can be from 12 to 16 years. But, they can also outlive that. It is important to mention that this is not the case with most of the male calicoes. Because of their unique genetics that brings a lot of health issues they tend to live much shorter.
See also: Best Cat Toys for Indoor Cats
Calico cat facts: #12 Calico cats personality and temperament
No matter what some people might think, we can’t actually specify how calico cats behave. Like we said before, calico cats are not a breed and because of that their behavior depends on cat type. Some will say that they are sweet and cuddly, while others will say that they have an attitude or that they are even aggressive. Thus, we can say that stories about calico cats personality are subjective. The only thing that we can say about their personality is that there are some evidences that say how calico cats can’t see in complete darkness.
Calico cat facts: #13 Paintings
There are a lot of paintings with calico cats. Painters in the past loved them. We all already know that Japanese people really appreciate them. One of the Japanese painters, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, painted many of calico cats in 1800’s. European painters liked them too. One of the most famous is french painter Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin who really knew how to capture calico cats looks.
Calico cat facts: #14 Sign of the devil?
This is just another legend about calico cats. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft believed that calico cats are a sign of devil. It was all because he got nervous at an American embassy in Holland. Why? Apparently there was a calico cat near him that caused that. I personally think that he said that as a joke because in many future interviews he denied that fact. But, nevertheless, people believed it to be truth.
See also: Cat Wine made by Apollo Peak
Calico cat facts: #15 Maryland’s State Cat
This is one really interesting fact. The state of Maryland named calico cats as the official state cat. It all happened in October 2001. They were chosen because they share same colors like their official state bird, Baltimore oriole. Their state insect, Baltimore checkerspot butterfly, also has the same colors. You can even see that their baseball team, Baltimore Oriole’s, also have black, orange and white team colors.
Calico cat facts: #16 Calico cats can cure warts?
I’m pretty sure that this is just another legend but it is believed that calico cats can cure warts. This story comes from Irish people. They believe that if you rub the tail of calico cat on warts that they will disappear. And, it is only effective in the month of May.
Calico cat facts: #17 A calico cat saved a railway station in Japan from being closed down
It all happened in 2007 in the rural Kinokawa station in Japan. This station had budget issues. Because of that the plan was to close it down. But then here comes the calico cat, a rescuer. The town decided to bring a local stray calico cat to be a station master. Her name was Tama. Tama was greeting every passenger that passed by. Soon, she became very famous. Because of that, people of the town began to visit this station more frequently and that caused a 17% increase in traffic which saved the station from being closed.
Calico cat facts: #18 Another calico cat saviour
There is another calico cat hero. This story is very famous and there is a reason for it. In this tale calico cat saved many lives. One house was burning and calico cat started scratching all the doors in the house to alarm and wake up everyone in it. Because of that all the people and animals were saved from dying.
Do you have a calico cat? What is he/she like? Did you find this facts interesting and do you believe in all these stories about them? Leave a comment below and let us know. Also, comment if you have any other interesting fact that we didn’t know.