Did you know that we have an official state cat? Our favorite feline isn’t a breed … we actually chose the Calico as our mascot. A local Pasadena, MD vet discusses these cute kitties below.
Back in 2001, Marylanders chose calico kitties to be our spokescat. Why did Fluffy get this dubious distinction? The main reason was because her colors matched those of our beloved state bird, the Oriole. (Needless to say, the birds were not consulted about this.)
Calico cats can actually have a variety of colors: the only true requirement is that their coats must contain white. Other colors may include red, yellow, brown, cream, and black. Calicos are usually 25% to 75% white, with colored patches.
These pretty kitties actually have a few different monikers. You may also know them as piebald, money cats, or brindles. In Quebec, they are sometimes called chatte d’Espagne (female cat of Spain), while in Japan they are known as tobi mi-ke (triple fur). Calicos with diluted coloring may be called calimanco or clouded tiger.
Here’s an interesting tidbit about calicos: the vast majority of them—over 99 percent, in fact—are female. That means that only about 1 in 3000 of these cute kitties is a boy. Due to genetics, the ones that are male are sterile. This makes it almost impossible to breed calicos.
Because calicos are not technically a breed, there are no specific purrsonality traits associated with them. Just like any other furball, they can be friendly or reserved, playful or lazy, and quiet or talkative. (Of course, everyone with a cat thinks their feline pal is the best kitty ever, and none of them are wrong.)
Many breeds allow calicos. Some of the ones you may recognize are the Maine Coon, Turkish Van, American Shorthair, and Manx.
Calicos are actually considered good luck in some places. Japanese fisherman historically believed that they brought protection against storms and jealous ghosts, and often took them on fishing trips as lucky charms. (We suspect Fluffy didn’t mind getting paid in fish for the good vibes.) You may also find statues of calico cats at doors in many places.
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