Why Do Orange Cats Tend to Be Males?

February 15, 2019
Orange cats are usually males

Calico or tricolor cats tend to have three colors: orange, black and white, in several patterns and degrees. Genetics determine a cat’s color. Many cat fans ask why females are the only calicos and why orange cats tend to be males.

In order to consider a cat to be tricolor, it must have a combination of three different colors. One color is orange, or its variations in cinnamon, beige, cream, etc. Another color is black, including shades of blue, gray, chocolate, and white, which is an absence of color.

The chromosomes in orange cats

Baby playing with an orange cat.

Cats have two gender chromosomes, which are X (feminine) and Y (masculine). Each parent contributes a gender chromosome which determines the color and other attributes of the litter.

In their genes, the females only produce the X chromosomes in their ovaries. In their sperm, the males have the ability to produce the X as well as the Y chromosome.

According to this, the males decide the gender of the offspring. Therefore, if they contribute one Y chromosome, the kitten will be a male. If they contribute one X chromosome it’ll be a female.

Also, feline genetic responsibility is shared. Therefore, when genes of the mother link up with those of the father, they produce multiple possible combinations in the same litter.

Orange colored cats

The genes in the orange colored cat are designated as “O” (orange) genes. The gene that creates the orange-colored fur only comes from the X (female) chromosome.

According to these genetic combinations, a male cat should be able to have orange tones. In fact, this is frequent. However, it’s very uncommon for a male to be tricolor. Only one of three thousand cats will be a tricolor male.

Legends of tricolor cats

There have been many different legends proliferating the idea that a tricolor or calico cat brings good luck.

There’s one legend that says that Buddhist temples housed monks that weren’t getting along. After three days of meditation, the monks found a tricolor cat at the door with her kittens. Because they were so happy when they saw the calico cat, it calmed their hostilities.

So they concluded that the black and white colors of the cat represented yin and yang. To add to this, they felt that the orange color represented the earth and nature. Since only females are creators of life, they would be the cats with this combination of colors.

There are cases where it was common for Japanese sailors to take calico cats along with them in their ships to ward off storms and evil spirits.

The tiger or tabby cat

The tiger or tabby cat is one of the oldest and most common among felines. Today, there are many breeds that we admire that possess the coat of the orange cat and the tabby. Due to these unusual genes, the tabby has a beautiful coat.

The fur of a tabby is characterized by different levels of pigmentation. Uniquely, there are cases in which the agouti (a single hair that has alternating colors) gene combines with other genes that determine color. As a result, tabbies will have gray, orange, or brown stripes.

Color variations

Tiger or tabby cat relaxing on the floor.

  • Marbled or grained: In these felines, the stripes are wide, originating in a type of swirl across the coat of the cat.
  • Tabby or tiger: This cat has spots of color on each hair. Because of this, there isn’t a defined pattern in the extremities or the face where you can see a clear form.
  • Spotted: This cat has spots instead of lines which are spread across the length of the body.
  • Striped or mottled: The most common type of tabby, with stripes or bands that can be spread throughout the body, from the spine to the abdomen.
  • Silver tabby: Its base color is silver with variations of black.
  • Golden tabby: The base color is golden or orange. The majority of orange cats are tabbies. Breeders today are doing experiments in order to create an orange tone.

In conclusion, the feline breed often determines the behavior of the cat. Lovers of the tabby breed claim that tabbies are happy, very sensitive and are easy to have as pets.