Calico cat personality
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Calico cat personality

Calico color in cats: a miracle of nature or a genetic mutation?

Calico design is one of the most amazing and unusual colors in cats. Calico coloration is very common among mestizos and among many breeds of cats - it is even enshrined in global standards. Variations in the colors of stripes and spots of a similar color, as well as their patterns on the coat, are unique and unrepeatable, just like human fingerprints.

Calico is a genetic trait that is inherited and is determined by a certain combination of chromosomes.

Depending on the size, shape, and localization of color spots, various types of Calico colors can be defined. There are wide varieties of calico designs (the predominant is the one with white spots), some rare variations (a certain combination of spots and stripes), and the standard tabby pattern is formed only by spots. Nature is amazing in its manifestation, and it has also created countless color variations that aren't officially recognized by breed standards.

a couple of cats standing next to each other
a couple of cats standing next to each other

Calico - it's all about the genes

An interesting detail is the origin of the Calico fur design. The truth is that this color is inherent mainly in females, which happens because of the peculiarities of the chromosome set of males and females. Now, this leads us to a lesson on the subtleties of genetic mechanisms.

The standard set of female chromosomes is XX, while, in males, it looks like XY. Y is an exclusively male chromosome that does not carry the genes responsible for color.

The genes responsible for the inheritance of a particular color can only be found in the X chromosome. In simple terms, it includes two genes - dominant and recessive. An example is a dominant gene responsible for black (B) and a repressed gene for chocolate (b), in which case it will look like "B-b." Accordingly, a set of two X + X chromosomes in a cat is an opportunity to "let through" those same three or more colors (as well as their variants), which is impossible for a male with a single X chromosome.

The claim that Calico males do not exist in nature is a myth

Male felines with a similar fur design are not uncommon. But what lies at the base of this phenomenon? The explanation resides in the existence of an additional X chromosome in the male's karyotype.

Such an anomaly was named Klinefelter's syndrome and is caused by a deficiency of a hormone called testosterone. Such cats are sterile physically and behaviorally may be similar to females. Plus, cryptorchidism is also possible. In any case, these cats aren't able too to breed and must be neutered.

a close up of a cat's face with a blurry background
a close up of a cat's face with a blurry background

Calico cat personality

Undoubtedly, it's not the design of the fur that dictates the behavioral traits of a cat. Nevertheless, long-term observations have led to the conclusion that no matter the breed, almost every cat with a similar spotted color has a number of common features in character and behavior:

  • Compliance and friendliness. Such cats are incredibly friendly and docile. The owners have noted that they could always negotiate with the pet, resolving all misunderstandings from the start.

  • Pride and independence. Felines with a Calico design, despite their close friendship with people, are distinguished by independence and pride. They know exactly what they want, nothing, and no one will force them to do anything without their desire.

  • Perseverance, bordering incredible stubbornness, is also a common trait that is inherent in most felines with a Calico fur design. They are so stubborn that they can even persuade a person.

  • Tray training. There is one more feature that unites all "turtles" - despite the fact that felines are quite smart and savvy, it's extremely difficult to accustom them to the litter. Individuals with a Calico fur design may simply not agree with the place that the owner has chosen for them. It's useless to argue with these stubborn animals. It's easier to relocate the litter to a spot chosen by the feline.

Still, at their core, Calico felines are very sweet, friendly pets that are unlikely to cause any inconvenience to the owners and households.

a cat sitting on top of a black chair
a cat sitting on top of a black chair

Signs and superstitions

Felines were, since the beginning of their friendship with man, always linked to mystery and magic. These animals were known to be guides to the world of the dead and were frequently accused of being servants of magicians and sorceresses. Thus, it's not at all unexpected that such unique, rare animals with a Calico fur design color are considered magical. There are a lot of superstitions in many places around the globe, but they all have one thing in common - a feline with a Calico fur design is a symbol of good luck:

England. In this country, it's not customary to give off a Calico feline just like that - it represents a symbol of good luck and happiness. For such a cat, one must definitely give at least a trifle, thus paying for further luck, peace, and love in the house. If a kitten with an unusual color comes to one's house, he is also supposed to pay for happiness. At the intersection of 4 roads, the person needs to place some coins: the amount does not matter.

Russia. In this country, any cat, regardless of breed and fur color, brings happiness and peace to a house. In ancient Russia, cats guarded the homes against evil spirits, sheltering them from enemies. It was especially good if the cat's fur color matched the owner's hair color. Then, peace, comfort, and love always reigned in that home, and luck favored the household. In this regard, Calico cats were acknowledged as universal. There are a lot of shades combined in the design of their fur, so they will match the hair of any color.

Japan. In this country, all felines are respected and loved, and cats with a Calico fur design are treated with a lot of honor. Near the entrance to each house, you can find figurines with their image as a good luck token. As pets, the Japanese prefer to have bobtails with Calico fur design because it is they who guard the home and shelter it from evil spirits and bad thoughts.

Arab countries. In the East, felines have a special status. As pets, they are more popular than dogs. Calico cats are believed to shelter from adversity, fires, and theft.

America. In most countries, Calico felines are the symbol of good luck. In America, they are linked to money and wealth. There is a belief in this country - if a Calico-fur feline finds your house, it means that you can soon expect sudden enrichment. American Calico cats are very popular in the USA.

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