Can Calico Cats Have Stripes – A Mystery Unveiled!


Calico cats, with their stunning combination of red, black, and white fur, are undeniably eye-catching. They also appear to have a strong sense of pride in their unique coat. However, is it possible for calicos to have more than just a patchwork of colors?

Is it possible for calico cats to have stripes? Indeed, calico cats can exhibit stripes. While the typical pattern consists of patches of color, if either the mother, father, or both of a calico cat are tabbies, striping may occur.

Calico cats are often a fascinating category that may not always fall into the category of Domestic Short Hair or Long Hair. They are quite the cat and are distinguished by irregularly shaped patches of color. However, there are instances when the shape of the colors deviates. Continue reading to uncover the outcome when a tabby cat is introduced.

Are Striped Calicos Still Calicos?

Calico cats are usually composed of twenty-five to seventy percent white fur, while the remaining fur is a combination of black and red. In order to be classified as a calico, the cat must have three distinct colors. For example, a cat that is orange and white does not qualify as a calico since it only has two colors.

A calibby is the term used to describe a striped calico, which is a combination of a tabby and a calico. Instead of having only random patches of color, the calico will have a coat with stripes or spots. The presence of stripes or spots adds an additional element to the calico’s appearance. However, even with the inclusion of stripes, the calico will maintain its three colors and continue to be referred to as a calico.

To learn more about various coat patterns, check out this article!

Different Types of Calicos

Calicos come in four distinct varieties. These include

  1. Standard
  2. Calibby
  3. Tortoiseshell
  4. Dilute

1. Standard

This is the familiar and beloved patchwork fur pattern that is commonly associated with calico cats. When encountering a calico, this is essentially the appearance you can expect to see.

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2. Calibby

A calico cat, also known as a calibby, possesses both stripes and spots.

3. Tortoiseshell

Calico cats have a coat that includes black, red, and white colors, similar to standard calicos. However, the main difference lies in the base coat. While standard calicos have a white base coat, tortoiseshell cats have a black base coat. Unlike standard calicos with distinct red and white patches, tortoiseshells have a more blended appearance, with a mix of red and black along with some white. Although this may be a topic of debate among tortoiseshell cat owners, they are still considered tri-colored, which classifies them as calicos.

It is crucial for cat owners to comprehend the distinction between tabby and tortoiseshell patterns. You can find additional information about the comparison of Tortoiseshell and tabby cats here.

4. Dilute

Dilute calicos possess a lighter coloration. They are sometimes referred to as clouded tigers or calimancos. Although they may appear similar to plain grey cats, they have a smoky grey hue with a hint of strawberry-blond. While not as vibrant as standard calicos, their appearance is still stunning.

Do the Calico Colors Make it a Breed?

No, calico cats are not a specific breed (although they may behave as if they are), but they can be found in various breeds. There are several recognized purebred cat breeds that can have the calico coloring. These breeds that can have the calico coloring include:

  • Maine Coon
  • Persian
  • Exotic Short Hair
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Domestic Shorthair
  • Domestic Longhair
  • Turkish Angora
  • Munchkin
  • Turkish Van
  • American Curl
  • Manx
  • And More…

While certain cat breeds embrace the distinctive calico pattern and colors, there are breeds that do not accept calico coloration.

They include:

  • Russian Blues
  • Siamese cats (as well as other breeds with point coloration)

Producing a calico would be challenging for these breeds due to their solid colors lacking orange. The Siamese cats are cream and black, while the Russian Blue cats are grey without any orange.

How Does the Unique Calico Coloration Develop?

Calico cats are uncommon and considered a genetic anomaly due to their unique chromosome makeup. Female cats have two “X” chromosomes, which results in an excess of protein. To compensate, one of the chromosomes is deactivated. When the chromosome controlling black fur is deactivated, red fur may appear instead. Conversely, deactivating a chromosome responsible for white fur can result in the emergence of black fur. This process, known as dosage compensation, occurs randomly, leading to the distinctive patterns found in each calico cat’s fur. Just like snowflakes, no two calico cats have identical appearances.

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You might have observed that the instance was for a female. However, what about the color determination in male calicos? It is incorrect to assume that all calicos are female. While 99.9% of calicos are female, one out of every three thousand calicos is male.

A male cat that is not calico has chromosomes labeled as “XY”. However, a male calico cat has a variation in their chromosomes, which are labeled as “XXY”. Consequently, the “XX” chromosomes of the male calico cat will still undergo dosage compensation.

Do the Colors Effect Personality?

The impact of colors on personality is a significant question when it comes to calico cats. These cats are known for their strong personalities, which some might describe as excessive. While the red color in their fur is often associated with their fiery temperament, there could be other factors that contribute to their lively personalities. Many calico cats are often labeled as

  • Feisty
  • Aggressive
  • Loving
  • Loyal
  • Independent
  • Sassy

In addition to being female cats, why are calicos often known for their difficult personalities? While not fully supported by scientific evidence, there is a potential medical explanation for their challenging behavior, which may be linked to genetics rather than their color.

Several studies have explored the connection between personality traits and color. A survey conducted by the University of California-Davis, which involved over a thousand cat owners, included inquiries about cat behavior. The survey revealed that female cats with sex-linked coloration were more likely to exhibit aggression.

This indicates that coloration connected to the “X” chromosome was correlated with negative behavior. Calico cats are the prime example of sex-linked coloration. This doesn’t imply that all calico cats will attack the veterinarian or your neighbor’s dog, but it does demonstrate a tendency towards mischievousness.

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For new cat owners, it is crucial to consider coat patterns and personality variations. Knowing how these factors are connected can assist in choosing the right cat to join your family. Find additional information on coat patterns and behavior here.

Calico Coloration Revered For Luck

If you’re experiencing a stroke of bad luck, a calico cat might be just what you need. These cats have a reputation for bringing good fortune and are highly regarded in Asia and the Middle East.

Calicos were believed to be extremely fortunate, which is why Japanese sailors brought them on ships to ward off storms. Even if you’re not a calico owner, you’ve likely encountered one numerous times. Perhaps you’ve observed or possess a Japanese charm known as a Maneki neko, which typically features a calico cat sitting with one paw raised. These talismans are frequently found in stores, with a left paw raised to attract customers and a right paw raised to bring good luck.

Standard Calico or Calibby…They’re Beautiful

While not common, calico cats offer a wide range of vibrant color options. By incorporating stripes, a calibby cat combines the best of both worlds. Whether you prefer a traditional regal pattern or a more enigmatic diluted version, there is a calico cat that will suit your preferences. Although there is ongoing debate about their personality, one thing is certain – owning and caring for a calico cat will never be dull.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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