50 Calico Cat Facts That Are Purrr-fect

Calico cats are very rare.

Welcome to the mystical universe of the legendary calico cat.

A calico cat is a domesticated cat with tri-colored fur, meaning it has three colors on its fur. For comprehensive calico cat information and the facts you need about these beautiful animals, look no further, we can help you out with all the information you need to know.

Many different breeds of cats can be calico, meaning there are many different calico cats breeds, rather than a single breed called 'Calico'. Calico cats are very rare and are considered lucky in many cultures around the world.

Here you will find out about the most rare calico cat (the male calico cat) and why the male calico cat is so few and far between. You may also discover why calicos are considered good luck and why the Japanese maneki neko money cats are in fact calico cats. Finally, find out how to take care of calico coats, and what calicos need nutrition-wise to keep their calico multicolor coat healthy and shiny.

We have all the calico cat information and facts that you might need. Many types of housecat can have the calico genetic mutation, meaning calicos can pop up anywhere through random chance!

If you enjoy reading all about the fascinating world of calico cats, why not check out our cool ladybug facts and our brilliant bear facts for more?

Calico Cat Health Facts

Here are some calico cat facts about health and wellbeing. Find out how to take care of the calico coat and keep a calico cat fit and healthy.

1. The average lifespan of a calico cat is between 12 and 15 years.

2.  While indoor cats live quite a long life, outdoor calicos have a lower lifespan of between seven and nine years.

3. Male calico cats have much shorter life expectancies that female calicos because many of them have Klinefelter's Syndrome, a genetic condition where a cat is born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome, which can cause all sorts of health problems, including diabetes.

4.  Male calico cats are sterile, so can't breed.

5. A calico kitten can be cared for in the same way as you'd care for most non-calico cats. Unless you have one of the rare male calicos with Klinefelter's Syndrome, your cat won't have any more health problems than a cat without a calico pattern.

6. Calico pattern cats need yearly vet check ups like any other cat.

7. A cat's white, orange and black color calico fur can be kept in tip-top condition by giving it a high protein diet and supplementing with an essential fatty acid supplement.

8. Owners have to make sure their cat is well hydrated as dehydration can cause a cat's calico coat to appear dull and dry.

9. It is a good idea to get a female calico cat spayed so that she doesn't have too many kittens, which can be a strain on her body and decrease her life expectancy.

10. You can't intentionally breed calicos so a cat having many litters is unlikely to have any more chance of having a kitten with calico colors than a non-calico cat.

11. Indoor cats need a scratching post to keep their claws in good condition. Cats have a natural urge to scratch, it's what they do outdoors in the wild, so a scratching post enables them to mark their territory without destroying all the furniture! If you have an indoor calico with no scratching post, they will probably scratch up your armchairs and sofas instead.

12. You should always get your calico cat vaccinated and take out insurance so that you can pay the vet's bills should your pet fall sick.

13. If you have an outdoor cat, make sure to keep a look out for fleas. If you do find any, you can use anti-flea medication to rid your cat of the pesky pests and keep them itch-free.

Calicos are normally orange, black and white.

Calico Cat Genetic Facts

Here are some awesome genetic facts about calico cats. Discover facts about the genetic makeup of calicos and why there are more female calico cats than male calico cats with these cool facts!

14. Just one in 3,000 calico cats are male.

15. 99.8% of calico cats are female.

16. Cats get their color from the X chromosome. Female cats have two X chromosomes, receiving an X chromosome from each of their parents. Male cats get one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, which makes them an XY. There have to be two X chromosomes in order for the cat to be a calico, so hardly any male cats are born calico.

17. Sometimes, however, a cat can have an extra X chromosome. Very rarely, a cat inherits two X chromosomes and an XXY cat is born, resulting in a male calico. Most male cats are XY and this is the reason why male calico cats are almost always sterile and suffer a variety of health problems, their coloring is as a result of a genetic mutation. This means that a female calico and a male calico can't mate and have a calico kitten together.

18. Calico cats have one X (orange/yellow) chromosome and another X (brown/black) chromosome. One of these two chromosomes inactivates in every cell some time during the development of the embryo. This is a totally random process known as lyonization, and this is what makes calico cats all look so very unique.

19. Even though male calicos are so rare, the rare male calico isn't usually any more expensive than any other moggy. While female calico kittens often cost more than non-calicos, the calico male can't produce offspring, and so they are not valuable from a breeding perspective.

20. There is an even rarer type of calico called the dilute calico. Dilute calico cats have blue, gray and light brown patches and larger patches of white or cream. Normal calicos have orange, black and white patches. A dilute calico kitten is usually much more expensive than ordinary calico kittens.

Calicos are nearly always female.

Calico Cat Fun Facts

Here are some fun and fascinating facts you need to know about the amazing calico cat of many colors. Did you know that calico cats are thought to bring good luck? Read on for some fun interesting trivia facts about calico cats.

21. Calico refers to the orange, black and white pattern on their fur which resembles a type of printed fabric called 'calico'.

22. Calico cats are the official cat of Maryland! On 1 October 2001, the US state of Maryland made the calico cat their official state cat.

23. The Baltimore Oriole, (the Maryland state bird) and the state insect both have the same colors as the official state cat. They are all white, orange and black .

24. Calico cats are considered lucky and are symbols of good luck around the world. In the US they are nicknamed 'Money Cats', as they are thought to bring good fortune in financial matters.

25. In 1870, Japan made the calico cat an official symbol of good luck.

26. Japanese sailors used to bring calico cats onboard as lucky ship cats to prevent misfortune at sea.

27. The Maneki-neko lucky Japanese bobtail cat figurine is a calico cat often seen in Japanese restaurants, shops and homes.

28. Calico cats have many different names around the world. In Germany they are called 'Glückskatze', which means "lucky cat". The Japanese name 'Mike Neko' means "triple fur" and the Dutch name for calicos is 'Lapjeskat', or "patches cat".

29. Another reason they are considered lucky is that they can't be intentionally bred. Calico isn't a cat breed, so a calico cat only comes into being by chance, as a genetic anomaly. Their rarity contributes to their mystical quality.

30. One of the craziest calico cat facts has to be the belief that they cure warts. Yes, one widespread belief about calico cats is that touching a wart with a calico cat's tail will cure the wart!

31. Calico cats are thought to have originated in Egypt.

32. Rumpleteazer from the musical 'Cats' is a calico cat. In the stage musical and film adaptation, Rumpleteazer is a cat burglar! She is also fun loving, sly, carefree and mischievous. She is one of the Jellicle cats.

33. The 19th century poet Eugene Field's children's narrative poem 'The Duel', also known as 'The Gingham Dog And The Calico Cat', is a poem about a calico cat and a dog who fight each other to the death, eventually eating each other!

34. Field based his calico cat on the iconic Ithaca Kitty stuffed toy, which used to be a popular cuddly toy in the US at the start of the 20th century.

35. The poem even inspired Chet Atkins, the celebrated jazz musician, who recorded an album in 1993, with 'The Gingham Dog And The Calico Cat' as its title track.

Calico Cat Breed Facts

Here are some cool facts about calico cat breeds. There can be calico cats in several different breeds of cats, meaning you can get a calico British Blue, a calico American Shorthair, and many other types of calico. Find out all about these breeds below.

36. The affectionate American Shorthair cat can be calico. American Shorthair cats are very playful and make great pets. They are believed to have come to America on the Mayflower with the Pioneers, and have now established themselves in the USA as the native North American shorthair cat.

37. The popular semi-long haired Maine Coon cat from North Eastern America can also be a calico cat. Maine Coons are an ancient breed of cat thought to have originally come over on the first ships to sail to America. After mating with shorthaired cats in America the offspring appeared with semi-long hair fur and raccoon-like bushy tails.  

38. Maine Coons have evolved to survive in Maine's cold weather so their semi-long fur serves them well. Originally farm cats, they are more often found as house cats these days.

39. The British shorthair or British Blue, is a pedigree British breed of cat. It usually has a thick grey blue coat and orange eyes. This breed of cat was the inspiration for John Tenniel, the illustrator for the original print of 'Alice In Wonderland', who based his drawings of the Cheshire Cat on the British shorthair.

40. The Norwegian Forest Northern European cat has adapted to very cold climates and has a long, waterproof outer coat and insulating wooly undercoat. It is very good at climbing and is thought to have been brought to Norway in around 1000 AD by the Vikings.

41. How clued-up are you on the subject of tortoiseshell calico cat facts? You might be more familiar with the name tortoiseshell than calico. Well, people often use the labels tortoiseshell and calico interchangeably. Tortoiseshell is also a coat color characteristic rather than a breed.

42. Tortoiseshells are usually tri color, and usually have a red, black and white color pattern. Tortoiseshell cats have very little white fur on them, whereas, tri color cats that are mostly white with a few patches of black and orange fur are referred to as having a calico coat.

43. Tabby cats have a distinctive M shaped forehead marking, stripes near the eyes and across the cheeks, along the back and round the legs and tail. They also have swirly, stripy, flecked or spotted patterns on their bodies.

44. Like tortoiseshell cats, tabby cats aren't a particular breed. Tabby is simply a coat color pattern. One of the many interesting facts about tabbies is that the orange tabby is almost almost male, in fact, 80% of orange tabby cats are boys. Orange female cats are pretty rare.

Calico Cat Personality Facts

Learn all about the calico cat's personality and what you should know about them before choosing one to come and live with you. Although very similar to other domesticated house cats, calicos do have some characteristics that are unique to them. Find out more about these characterful cats below.

45.  Some say there is no particular personality trait shared by calico cats, as they aren't a specific breed. There are calico cats in many different breeds.

46. However, like tortoiseshells, they are often described as having a personality trait known as "tortitude", which makes them very independent and sassy. They can also be very loyal and affectionate cats. If you get one of these white, black and orange calico cats, they are very likely to make a great companion.

47. Calico cats are said to have quirky personalities.

48. Calico cats can be more feisty and more vocal than other types of cat.

49. Sometimes owners of female cats with this genetic color pattern report higher levels of aggression than cats whose colors aren't determined in the same way.

50. Having a calico, tabby or tortoiseshell cat of many colors doesn't, however, mean that your cat will be scratching and biting you all the time, simply that it may be a bit more of a diva than cats with non-calico colors.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully curated lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our calico cat facts then why not take a look at fascinating chihuahua facts, or our super shark facts?


Written By

Emily Munden

Emily has lived in London for ten years, and still loves discovering new places to explore in the capital with her two little brothers. She loves all things lifestyle and fashion, she is a fashion designer and artist, as well as working with arts charities to facilitate workshops and outreach on crafts, fashion, and design for children with special needs and children with difficult home lives who might otherwise not have access, from toddlers to teenagers. Emily is also a trained life coach and loves talking and writing about general wellness, mindfulness and healthy relationships.

Share this article




Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.