Calico cat sitting down staring into camera.

Colorful, unique, and oozing with “catitude,” calico cats are spectacularly marked with a tri-color blend of black, white, and shades of caramel. Calicos can have long or short coats, and they’re almost always female. They can’t be bred, which makes these fabulous felines extra special to cat lovers everywhere.  

At Shiloh Veterinary Hospital, we love delivering full-service veterinary care to cats of all colors! Whether you’ve got a calico cat of your own, or you’re just curious about these beauties, our team has some fascinating feline factoids to help explain the wonders of calico cats.

Why are Calico Cats So Popular?

Cat lovers agree that all felines are fabulous, but here are some reasons why calico cats are extra special:

Calicos are good luck! 

In many cultures, calico cats are considered lucky charms. In Japan, calicos are the official symbol of good fortune, and Japanese anglers used to keep calicos on board their boats to “guarantee” that the fish would bite.

They’re practically magical.

Again we turn to Japan, where calicos were once believed to protect ships from the ghosts of angry ancestors.

They can’t be bred.

The calico coloration is a full-on fluke of nature, and like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike! 

They’re basically royalty in Maryland.

Calicos were chosen to be the official state cat of Maryland because their tri-colored coats echo the coloring of the state bird: the Baltimore Oriole.

They have an aura of ancient mystique.

Calico cats are said to have originated in ancient Egypt, where people worshiped them for their beauty.

Why are 99% of Calico Cats Female?

Without diving too deep into the biological nitty-gritty, the tri-color pattern of a calico requires two “X” chromosomes. Male cats can’t be calicos because males need an “XY” pair of chromosomes in order to be male. The only way for a male cat to be born a calico is if he has an extra “X” chromosome (XXY). Because the XXY chromosome combination is rare, male calicos can have certain health conditions and are usually sterile.

Rare Cat Breeds

Calico cats aren’t actually a breed at all, but rather, a happy accident! You can find the calico coloration among popular breeds like Maine Coons, American Shorthairs, Persians, mixed breeds, and others. However, there are some rare cat breeds where you will not find a calico cat. Pure, solid-color breeds like Russian Blues, Siamese, and Bombay cats cannot produce the calico color configuration. 

Good Health is What Matters Most 

All cats of all colors, sizes, ages, and genders deserve a lifetime of love, proper nutrition, and quality veterinary care that emphasizes wellness and prevention. Our team absolutely loves getting to know all the cool cats in our community. Please contact us to schedule your cat’s visit, or if you have any questions about our services.