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 Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
From litter box location to sleeping schedules, here are some telltale signs that your kitty is in charge of your…
Mikkel Becker weighs the pros and cons of three different types of harnesses: back clip, front clip and tightening.
With Easter coming up this weekend, we jumped at the opportunity to celebrate the holiday's most iconic species.
Dr. Tony Buffington warns that giving your cat or dog too many treats promotes begging and can lead to obesity.
The Abyssinian, who wears a beautiful ticked coat, is an intelligent and athletic feline who stays in constant…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.