Click here to learn more.
A. Not true in either case. But male calicos are rare: Only one out of every 3,000 calico cats is male, according to a study by the
College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri.
The gene that governs how the orange color in cats displays is on the X chromosome. Any
cat, male or female, can be orange, but in males the color is nearly always expressed in the tabby (striped) pattern, sometimes called a ginger tom. Females can be orange tabby, calico or tortoiseshell. (The last two are genetically similar, except the calico has patches of white, orange and brown or black, and the tortie’s colors are orange and brown or black swirled together.)
Because the orange is divided among tabbies, torties or calicoes in females, there are fewer of each type. And because orange is almost always associated with tabby in males, it seems as if there are more orange males than orange females. That’s probably the case, but no one's counting.
Here’s where it really gets interesting. Female cats have two X chromosomes, while male
cats have an X and a Y chromosome. For a cat to be a calico or tortoiseshell, the animal must have two X chromosomes, which means the kitty is going to be female the vast majority of the time. When the calico pattern exists in a male, it’s because the cat has three sex chromosomes: two X, one Y (male).
The XXY combination is a genetic rarity that occasionally shows up in cats (people, too). And if both X chromosomes carry the calico blueprint, you’re looking at one rare
cat: a male calico.
Such XXY animals are called Klinefelter males, after the doctor who first described the condition. If you have a male calico and think you can make money breeding him, you probably won’t. Though lovely, the cats are usually sterile.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
An adorable black and white cat parked
himself right in the way of one of the
holes on a mini-golf course.
Vets performed a two-hour surgery to try to
save the leg of a Maltese struck
by a stolen van during a police chase.
You may be more familiar with the black-and-white variety of panda, but the red panda
had the name first.
Nocturne: Creatures of the Night, by Traer
Scott, showcases night-loving animals like
owls, moths and raccoons.
At this point in your dog's life, he's likely
beginning to show the signs of his age
and is not as active or…
With 40,000 animals poached each year
for the ivory trade, it might not be long
before elephants disappear…
When she's not curled in your lap, the affectionate and elegant Birman will gladly play fetch or chase a ball.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.