Click here to learn more.
A. I can’t say I know of any peer-reviewed studies linking feline markings to personality traits, but I can sure tell you that a great many cat lovers — and I include veterinarians among them — hold a suspicion that there’s a connection between color and temperament, especially when it comes to cats with orange fur. Calicos and tortoiseshells are often thought to be a little more unpredictable than other cats, while orange tabbies are often thought to be friendlier.
These cats aren't breeds as defined by their markings: Orange coloring appears in many breeds and certainly isn't uncommon in the wonderfully mixed-up cats known to veterinarians as DSH (domestic shorthair) and DLH (domestic longhair).
Before I get to what might be going on with a calico's temperament, I want to point out that there really is something special about orange cats. While the genes that produce tuxedos, tabbies and pointed cats (among other marking patterns) are distributed without regard for gender, the gene that produces orange fur (and what’s called “dilute” orange, sort of a warm tan) is strongly linked to whether a cat is male or female. That’s because that gene is displayed only on the X, or female, chromosome.
As you no doubt remember from high school biology, males have one X and one Y chromosome, while females have two X chromosomes. While male and female cats can get the orange gene from just one chromosome, for a cat to be a calico (orange, white and black patches) or tortoiseshell (same colors, but swirled together) requires two X chromosomes, which almost always means these cats are female. (The “almost” is a nod to the fact that about one in every 3,000 calico cats is male. These boys have an extra X chromosome — XXY instead of the XY of a normal male — making them what’s called Klinefelter males. They may be rare, but the trait doesn't reproduce, so these cats should be neutered like any other.)
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.
Firefighters donned survival gear to pull
Bodie, a Labrador and Great Dane mix,
from a frigid lake in Burke,…
You know you love your pup but does he
love you back? Dr. Marty Becker says
you can tell by his body language.
Dr. Laurie Hess reveals what it takes to
care for these cuddly and spunky pets
who love to interact with their…
From canine dance classes to indoor
agility, these fun activities will keep you
and your pup entertained, rain or…
An expert explains which protein
sources are best for pets and how much
of it cats and dogs need to consume.
Thanks to his webbed feet, the Spanish
Water Dog has a knack for swimming,
boating and playing in water.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.