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.
Huxley the Pit Bull is recovering from
surgery after officers found him curled up
in the middle of a busy highway.
From the feisty Chihuahua to the
lap-loving Shih Tzu, get to know all the
breeds who belong in the Toy group.
Make your next hotel trip with your pup go
smoothly by planning ahead, choosing
the right room and minding your…
Don’t blame yourself for your pet’s cancer
diagnosis — chances are it was caused
by events you couldn’t have…
Dr. Andy Roark loves seeing cats at his
clinic. Unfortunately, some cats at his
clinic do not love it. Here's how…
Don't be surprised to find the tailless Manx accelerating through the house, making sharp turns and quick stops.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.