Although calicos are not a breed of cat, they are certainly popular for their signature coats. In fact, many cultures believe that their unique tri-color coats bring good luck and money.
However, calicos also have the reputation for being sassy, spunky, and unpredictable. So, if you are thinking of adding a calico cat to your family, you might be wondering how affectionate they actually are, and whether they make good pets. Keep reading to find out!
What exactly is a calico cat?
First and foremost, the calico is not a breed of cat. The name simply refers to the cat’s tri-color coat, which is white, orange, and black. About 25-75% of their fur is white, while the rest is a mixture of black and orange. Other color variations include brown, blue-black, cream, and reddish-orange.
Basically, then, a calico can be any domestic cat breed, including American Shorthair, Maine Coon, Persian, Siberian, or Norwegian Forest, among others.
Tortoiseshell cats, meanwhile, are often mistaken for calicos due to their similar orange and black-colored patches. Note that calicos are mostly white, while torties have mostly brownish fur with little to no white color at all.
Do calicos like to cuddle?
Now that you know that calicos can be any breed of cat, you might be wondering whether these tri-colored felines are cuddly and affectionate.
Well, every cat is different, so it might be difficult to tell whether or not a cat is cuddly based on his coat color alone. The likelihood that a cat will enjoy cuddles depends more on their temperament, breed, and how they were raised as a kitten.
The good news is that the majority of calico cats are known to have endearing and affectionate personalities. They will most likely seek your attention and enjoy a warm snuggle if you allow them to. Some calicos can be good lap cats, while others are happy and content just sitting beside their human companions.
You do need to keep in mind that not all calicos enjoy being held or picked up. And no – that does not mean your furry friend hates you; he simply feels disrespected when someone scoops him up. For a cat, this gesture might be construed as a form of restraint, such as when they are taken by a larger predator.
Another reason they might hate being picked up and held is due to a lack of proper socialization. This is why kittens should never be isolated, otherwise, they will not learn to trust and become accustomed to other people.
Do calico cats love their owners?
Every cat has its own unique quirks. While some can be calm and tolerant, others might be a bit mischievous and sassy. Whatever their personality, however, most cats will learn to love their owners if they are showered with love, tolerance, and care from the outset. Calicos, like cats of any other color, can be absolute sweethearts with loving personalities, and showering your companion with tender, loving care will likely guarantee you a lifelong BFF.
Keep in mind, though, that like any other cat, calicos can easily become jealous when a new pet or friend arrives in your home. They also tend to be envious of your phone if you spend too much time on it and neglect them for long periods. This jealousy can manifest through behavior such as swatting, hissing, growling, or invading your personal space.
Calico male vs female – which is more affectionate?
When choosing the gender of your pet, an array of questions might run through your head, including which one shows more affection for its owners. In reality, there is no clear answer as to whether gender, in general, affects a cat’s personality. As mentioned previously, every cat has its own unique traits, and factors such as the breed and how they were raised play a huge role in their social development.
For example, male Maine Coons are known to be more affectionate, while females possess a more independent streak. However, it is still possible for a female Maine Coon to be more affectionate if she was acclimatized to human touch and raised in a loving environment.
Neutering or spaying can also make cats more affectionate compared with those that have not undergone such procedures. Intact cats are quite serious about their territories, so they might show aggression if they feel their space has been invaded by another animal.
Destructive behavior may also be evident in intact cats, such as spraying and scratching household furniture, and they are also more likely to get involved in catfights as they roam the neighborhood in search of a mate.
Why most calico cats are female
A cat’s gender is determined by genetics – specifically, the pairing of chromosomes. Females are known to have an XX pair, while males have XY.
An X chromosome is responsible for the black or orange fur color, but not both. Hence, to be born calico, a kitten must inherit one X chromosome carrying the black color code, and another X chromosome with the orange color code. The white color, on the other hand, is produced through another gene called the piebald gene. Due to this required pairing, there is a far higher chance for female offspring to achieve the calico pattern.
Male cats can also become calico by having three chromosomes – a combination of two Xs and a Y. This is a genetic condition called the Klinefelter Syndrome, wherein a male offspring gets an extra X chromosome from one of the parents. However, just like in humans, this genetic combination is quite rare and happens only once in every 3000 male cats.
Common personality traits
Every calico cat has its own unique quirks, so it is difficult to predict exactly how anyone calico will behave. If you have decided to bring home a calico kitten, you will need to spend some time getting to know your cat to determine his true colors.
Many calico lovers do swear these cats have distinct personalities different from other, solid-colored cats. These common traits are listed below.
1. They can be stubborn
Calico cats are said to be fiery, strong-willed, temperamental, and a bit stubborn. A calico owner will likely never be surprised by such personality traits. This does not mean your kitty hates you – this is just how they are. However, since calicos can be any breed, some of them are also easy-going and calm. In other words, as we have already mentioned, their personalities vary significantly and can be influenced by their breed.
2. They are extremely loving
These colorful beauties are also known to be loving and sweet toward their humans. Like many other cats, they can also enjoy love and cuddles. So, if you are looking for a loving furry friend, a calico cat is certainly not out of the question.
3. They love their owners
Although some calicos can be quite fussy, these fur babies are also loyal to their favorite humans. If you treat them with love and respect, they are unlikely to resist your cuddles and kisses.
4. They have a cat attitude
If you are getting a calico cat, know that she will likely have a cat attitude – commonly known as cattitude. While some people believe that the genetics responsible for their coat colors might influence this behavior, it does not mean that calico cats cannot make wonderful companions. Just keep in mind that these kitties prefer to have their own way, so do not force them to cuddle if they do not want to. Let the cat approach you on her own terms and she will definitely be more welcoming to human touch.
5. They are spunky and sassy
Calico cats have a reputation for being sassy and independent. But, once you have earned their love and trust, these adorable tri-colors will still enjoy spending time on their owner’s lap.
How to make your calico more affectionate
If you want to raise your calico to be a sweet, affectionate cat, there are ways to train them in the right direction. Although their breed might influence their temperament, you can certainly help your kitty enjoy the company of other people and pets.
- Spend time being close to your calico – but do not force the cat to cuddle if she does not want to. Watch her body language; if it seems that she is in the mood for cuddles, take advantage of the moment and let her enjoy the warmth of your touch.
- Call her name frequently with a soft, gentle voice.
- Let her get used to being groomed and brushed.
- Engage with your cat as much as possible – a few minutes of playtime each day can help increase the emotional bond between you and your pet.
- Reward good behavior. Never scold, hurt or punish your cat for misbehaving.
- Pet her if she allows you to, but do not force her if she does not want to be held or picked up. Otherwise, she will associate human touch with discomfort and will never enjoy it in the future.
Is calico the right pet for you?
Contrary to what many people believe, calico cats are sweet and loyal souls. Many cat lovers who have raised a calico might testify to their feisty personalities, but this does not mean they do not make loving companions at home. Other pet lovers might even find their quirks fun and a bit exciting. So, if you think a calico will suit your lifestyle, there is no reason not to adopt one.
Image: istockphoto.com / Esin Deniz