Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Rare Are Calico Cats? Uniqueness & Interesting Facts

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

calico cat jumped from the tree

How Rare Are Calico Cats? Uniqueness & Interesting Facts

Calico cats are adorable, gorgeous, and loving. However, you first need to know that calico cats are not a specific cat breed. Instead, “calico” is a color pattern, not a breed. Calico cats are rarer than many other colors in cat breeds, and a male calico cat is even rarer. To know how rare calico cats are, you must first understand what a calico cat is and what makes a cat a calico.

We’ll answer these questions and more below, so join us.


What Is a Calico Cat?

As a pet lover, you’ve already heard of calico cats, but you might not completely understand what one is. A calico cat is a color pattern that appears in almost all cat species.

These cats are born tri-colored. The color of their base coat is white, which can account for 25% to 75% of the cat’s body. The remaining colors are in patches over the cat’s entire body and are orange and black. This exact color pattern is what makes calico cats a rare occurrence. But what about male calico cats? Well, those are even rarer in the animal world.

Calico Cat
Image Credit: dmgreen44, Pixabay

3 cat divider

How Rare Is a Male Calico Cat?

If you have a calico cat or have ever seen one, nine times out of 10, the cat is a female. Male calico cats are extremely rare because of genetics.

  • X chromosomes are the reason that some cats are calicos
  • XX chromosomes are needed in order for a kitten to be a calico
  • Cats that have XX chromosomes are born as females
  • Male cats have XY chromosomes, which makes it almost impossible for them to be born with the calico coloring

This isn’t to say that there are no male calico cats out there, just that it is extremely rare, and they usually have quite a few health issues. Males can contract a disease called Klinefelter Syndrome, which makes them sterile, so males can’t breed either.

However, not all males will have health issues, but the probability is high that they will. If you have a male calico cat, they can live a long, happy life, and you’ll want to treasure him for the special kitty he is.

Calico Cat Posing
Image Credit By: loicp90, pixabay

yarn ball divider

Can You Breed Calico Cats and Get Calico Cats?

No, unfortunately, you can’t breed calico cats and get calico kittens. That’s the short answer, as the coloring is completely random. Again, this is where genetics comes in.

  • X chromosomes are where the black and orange fur come from
  • A cat needs the X chromosome for the black fur and an X chromosome for the orange color
  • A cat that has these two chromosomes combined can produce a kitten that is a calico

cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Calico cats are rare, but it’s because they have a color pattern that can spring up across almost any cat breed. Male calico cats are extremely rare due to the genetics we discussed above. If you spot a calico cat, you’re probably seeing a female.

These are adorable, loving creatures and would make anyone a good pet, and if you have a male calico cat, then you should consider yourself blessed. In fact, these cats are considered to be good luck in many countries. Whether your calico is a male or a female, they will give you plenty of love and affection if you love them and treat them with care, and that’s what every pet parent wants, regardless of the color, breed, or sex of the cats they love.

Featured Image Credit: Zachariah Smith, Unsplash

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.