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.

6 Different Types of Calico Cats (With Pictures)

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 29, 2024 by Nicole Cosgrove

calico cat outside looking at camera

6 Different Types of Calico Cats (With Pictures)

Calico cats are some of the most beautiful cats in the world. Calico does not refer to a specific breed of cat, but instead to a color pattern. Calicos are between 25% and 75% white with a mix of orange and black. These colors may be lighter or darker on some cats than others, but all three—white, black, and orange—must be present for the cat to be considered a Calico.

Calico patterns are a happy accident of genetics; breeders cannot specifically aim for a litter of Calicos. Some of the breeds with standards that allow for calico coloration include American Shorthair, Turkish Van, Maine Coon, and Japanese Bobtail.


The 6 Types of Calico Cats

1. Traditional

Calico Cat lounging outside
Image Credit: loicp90, Pixabay

The Traditional Calico cat breeds are tri-color cats, with white, black, and orange patches. They are also called Tortie-and-White cats, since they look similar to a Tortoiseshell, except white. They typically have white faces, chests, and legs. Calicos usually have black or orange foreheads, ears, and backs.

Their legs may be either white or colored. Their spots may be more one color than the other, but they must have some combination of the two.

2. Dilute Calico

dilute calico cat lying outside on shelf
Image credit: Michelle Raponi, Pixabay

Dilute Calicos are much like other Calicos but with diluted colors. Rather than the black patches of a regular calico, theirs can vary from smoke to blue. Instead of orange spots, they have tan or cream-colored ones. In some countries, Dilute Calicos are referred to as Clouded Tigers.

These faded colors are due to a recessive gene; both parents must possess the gene to produce a Dilute Calico. Since it’s a recessive gene, however, one or both parents may not be Dilute Calico themselves.

3. Patched Tabby Calicos

outdoor tabby cat relaxing outside on deck eyes closed
Image by: AllMyRoots, Shutterstock

Calico cats may also display Tabby characteristics. Usually, this presents as an M-shaped marking on their foreheads. A calico may also have stripes in brown and black patches on their backs, sides, legs, and tails. Patched Tabbies often have white paws and can be either longhaired or shorthaired.

4. Male Calicos

Male Calicos
Image Credit By: SayaPhotos, Pixabay

Male Calicos are exceedingly rare types of Calico cats. Sex and color are both determined by the X chromosome, so Calicos are typically female. All male Calicos cat breeds have XXY chromosomes, a genetic rarity called Klinefelter Syndrome. This causes males to be sterile, and they may carry other genetic abnormalities that can shorten their lives.

5. Shorthaired Calicos

Shorthaired Calico
Image Credit By: Pxhere

The most common type of Calico and shorthaired cat is the Domestic Shorthair. Domestic Shorthair is the official name for the average house cat. These cats of mixed or unknown ancestry account for at least 90% of the cats in America. Despite their uncertain lineage, Calico Domestic Shorthairs can be entered into cat shows with “Household Pet” divisions.

6. Longhaired Calicos

Longhaired Calico Cat
Image Credit By: Pxhere

Most longhaired Calicos you’ll see are Maine Coons. This is simply because Maine Coons, or American Forest Cats, are the most popular longhaired cats. They’re known for their fluffy coats, squirrel-like tails, and sweet personalities. Calicos generally have gentle, loving temperaments, but calico Maine Coons are even more affectionate and friendly than others.

3 cat divider


Despite the diversity in their patterns and breeds, one thing all Calico cats have in common is a warm personality. Calicos have a reputation for being sweet and friendly. Whether selecting a pedigreed show cat or making friends with a stray in an alley, you’ll usually find that Calicos are among the most pleasant of cats.

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit By: Jeandru Pretorius, Pexels

Get Catster in your inbox!

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


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.