Lucky Charm? Fascinating Things You Should Know About Calico Cats

Dusty, our Calico cat

If you are cat lovers, chances are, you have already encountered a Calico-furred cat. A unique type of cat with a tri-color coat. 

Calico cat is not a breed. 

It just described its color pattern, which is similar to a tri-colored calico fabric. Calico cats may come from any breed.

Typically, Calico cats have white fur with large black and orange patches, however, there are Calico cats that are typically white with small patches of black and orange. 

Other Calico cats are having those cream or light gray patches over their white fur. 

Characteristics of a Calico cat

They should not be confused from Tortoiseshell cats. While Calico cats are identified as having tri-colored fur, Tortoiseshell cats are those type of cats with several color patches and almost entirely no white color.

Tortoiseshell cat

It is impossible to purposely breed a calico-colored cat. It's because this tri-color pattern is the result of genetics.

Calico cats (just like Tortoiseshell) are dominantly females. Their color pattern occurred due to recessive genes that interact with X chromosomes.

Our Dusty, a Calico cat

A cat with multi-color pattern like Calico and Tortoiseshell have two X chromosomes, since females have two X chromosomes, Calico and Tortoiseshell are usually females.

Male calico and tortoiseshell cats are extremely rare and if there are, they are most likely sterile and have health concerns.

Our rescue cat,   Bridget

Calico cats vary in attitude, depends on their breed. There are spunky, sassy, independent, mischievous, temperamental and distant calico cats like our Dusty and Charlie.

Our Mary is also a Calico cat

However, there are also warm, sweet and loving calico cats that are not distant like our two rescue: Mary and Bridget.

Variations of Calico cats

A calico cat is primarily white with large black and orange patches, but there are variations of this type of cat. 

A dilute calico cat has the same white base but the patches are cream, light orange and charcoal gray like our Mary girl.

There's also called a Calibby cat, a cross between a calico cat and a tabby cat. Same calico color but with addition of the tabby stripes.

Are Calico cats lucky charm?

In reality, there's no such thing as lucky charm among animals. There's no scientific evidence that could substantiate such belief.

Our calico cats

However, there are some cultures that continue to believe Calico cats are lucky charms and bring fortune due to its unique and rare color pattern.

In Japan for instance, Calico cats are the official symbol of fortune, they called it Maneki neko or the beckoning cat. 

Beckoning cats are those cat figurines we often saw in stores and other business establishments that seem gesturing welcome or wave. 

In ancient times, Calico cats, which thought to have originated from Egypt, were considered protection against ghosts and evil spirits.

In 2001, the state of Maryland in the United States declared Calico cat as its official state cat.

Our Calico cats

We have three rescues of this type of cat. Shan shan, who died in November 2019, Mary and Bridget. 

Our Charlie, a calico cat

Mary and Bridget are both my rescues. I found them in the bridge near our home when they were still kittens.

They were dumped near the creek probably because they're females. And made their way to the bridge. When I found them they were chilling in cold and hunger.

I'm hoping no humans will dump hapless animals again, streets are extremely dangerous for defenseless animals.

Our Calico cats have extreme behavior compared to our ginger and tabby cats. They seem like having their own world.

Dusty is the most distant, temperamental and doesn't like to be bothered. She hated to be petty and seems hated other cats, she is always angry 😄

Charlie doesn't want to be pet too. She is sassy, playful and energetic. She likes to sleep in my bed but doesn't want to be touched. Unlike Dusty, she likes to play and loves the company of other cats.

Mary is the most maarte among our cats. She doesn't like the outdoor atmosphere, she just stayed on top of a refrigerator or table. 

Mary in our coffee nook

I rescued Mary on December 8, 2018, the feast of Immaculate Conception, hence the name Mary.

She doesn't react when we will give her a bath unlike other cats and she loves to be touched. But she's far from being  malambing. She seems like having her own world. 


I named her Bridget because I found her in the bridge one midnight after coming home from my work. 

She has mild behavior, and different from the rest of calico cats in the house. Not stubborn, snob or temperamental.

It takes an amount of patience to understand the behavior of cats because unlike dogs, they tend to be more stubborn, prone to mischief, and won't obey orders from their owners.

Calico cats in general

Most cultures and superstitious belief influencing us to believe calico cats signify luck and money, but they're just like other cats with some extras.

Dusty in my working desk

To summarize, calico cats are:

  • Not a breed. They are just a type of domestic cats.
  • Mostly females. A male calico cat is extremely rare.
  • Having tri-color pattern, the result of genetics abnormalities.
  • Difficult to breed because their color coat is the result of accidental genetics formation.
  • Having extreme behavior. Some are temperamental and sassy, others are sweet and behave.

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