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Calico Cats Profile

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Closeup portrait of female Calico cat [Rolf Kopfle]/[Photolibrary]/Getty Images

Calico Cats Come in a Number of Variations:

Calico cats comprise a garden of cat colors, either vibrant orange (technically known as "red"), white and black, or more subdued flaxen, blue-gray, and white. In feline genetics, the latter is known as "dilute calico." The various patterns of the calico patches are almost as ubiquitous as snowflakes. You'll never see two exactly alike.

Calicoes are almost all female, and the rare male is always sterile. (So much for the hopes of those thinking of breeding a rare line of cats.)

Calico Cats are the Most Colorful Cats:

Calicoes are rivaled only by tortoiseshell cats, who are genetically very similar. Indeed, it is often difficult to tell if an individual cat is a calico or a "tortie with white," The most common difference is that tortoiseshell colors (red and black) are interwoven throughout the coat, where calico cats have distinctive patches of solid color. Sometimes the distinction is even more blurred, when a calico may have some woven patches intermingled with the solid areas, as depicted by the first photo. I like to call these cats "calitorts" or could they be "torticals?"

Calico Cats Have Personality-Plus:

Calicoes share that personality trait of tortoiseshell cats commonly described as "tortitude." They are sassy, spunky, and very independent. On the other hand, calicoes are sweet, loving, and loyal cats. If you hunger for unconditional love, a calico cat will willingly and enthusiastically fulfill that need.

Cat Breeds Embracing Calico Cats

It would be easier to give a list of those breeds which do not accept calicoes than those that do. Calicoes are not allowed in pointed breeds, such as the Siamese or Himalayan, nor those which allow only solid colors, such as the Bombay, the Russian Blue,and the British Shorthair. You'll find colorful calico cats in the Persian, Manx, Maine Coon, and Scottish Fold breeds, to name a few. Some breed standards even allow tabby patches in their calicoes. Calico is the most popular color pattern in Japanese Bobtails.

Calico Cat Fame

A popular children's poem, written by Eugene Fields in the late 1800s, called "The Duel," featured "the gingham pup and the calico cat." In modern days, the State of Maryland officially named the calico cat as its "State Cat," in October of 2001. The calico shares the colors of Marylands State Bird, the Baltimore oriole and its State Insect, the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.

Cat Calendar Calico Cats

Your Calico Cats Photos You may upload and publish your calico cat stories to the Calico Cats Show and Tell Gallery by using this easy form, which allows up to two photos. Calico cats are featured as Cat Pictures of the Week in July, and the Cats of the Week for July will be selected from this gallery.
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