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what breeds are Calico cats?

jiorji
December 10th, 2005, 08:53 PM
I know a Calico isn't really a breed. What breed is it associated from?

My vet said "Chat d'Espagne"...having a hard time finding the English name on that. It's obviously not a Spanish cat as that breed doesn't seem to exist. Or my google searches have lied to me :mad: hehe

anyone know?

Prin
December 10th, 2005, 09:48 PM
I don't think Calico is a breed- I think it's a color.... I think it can be from any breed. It results from "Barr Bodies", where in females one X chromosome of each cell shuts off early in development. Usually the two X's are the same color, but in cases where one X has the alleles (genes) for orange and the other has black, when one shuts off (becomes a Barr body), the other one produces the color.

If the X that carries the black color is shut off, an orange patch will be formed. If the orange is shut off, the black is left and a black patch will form.

It's the same process in torties.

raingirl
December 10th, 2005, 09:56 PM
Here is a link in Wikipedia on cat breeds. Aparently they are the opposite of dogs, in that the idea of breeding a cat for certain characteristics is faily new (last 200 years).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_breeds

there is a list of cat breeds there.

I beleive one link I found was a reference to a domestic cat that was the first calico in america, came in on the mayflower. I guess people domesticated cats a long time after dogs! I think calico just was probably a natural genetic mutation of regular domestic cats, nothing breed related.

jiorji
December 10th, 2005, 10:25 PM
I don't think Calico is a breed- I think it's a color.... I think it can be from any breed. It results from "Barr Bodies", where in females one X chromosome of each cell shuts off early in development. Usually the two X's are the same color, but in cases where one X has the alleles (genes) for orange and the other has black, when one shuts off (becomes a Barr body), the other one produces the color.




yeah i knew that but does this happen to ALL breeds or to specific ones?
the confusion...

LM1313
December 10th, 2005, 10:26 PM
It is amazing, isn't it, how similar all the cat breeds are compared to the dog breeds? Yes, there are differences, but never anything as dramatic as a chihuahua compared to a Great Dane. :p

Yes, cats were one of the last animals domesticated. There was no need to domesticate cats until humans had settled down to agriculture (as opposed to being nomadic) and needed cats to deal with mice and rats. Whereas dogs/wolves would've been useful much earlier, for help with hunting.

I've got a kitty color question too . . . what's the difference between a tortishelle and a calico? Do torties not have white?

~LM~

jiorji
December 10th, 2005, 10:39 PM
well I was looking up cat pictures and saw a Calico Persian...so i guess they can be of any breed mixes.

LM1313 this is what i found on a site:

"With a calico, there is a significant amount of white, and the two colors are broken up into distinct patches. This has to do with the interaction of white spotting.

With a tortoiseshell, the three colors are blended and don't form distinct patches. A tortoiseshell may have significant portions of white as well, but the remaining colors are blended (this particular pattern is called a tortoiseshell and white). "

Prin
December 11th, 2005, 01:13 AM
Torties aren't orange and black- they're more of a black and brown/tan pattern. Aren't they?

cpietra16
December 11th, 2005, 07:12 AM
How come you never see a male calico? At least I never have.

chico2
December 11th, 2005, 07:15 AM
Jiorji,Your calico kitty is really beautiful,amazing colours!
I had a tortie girl once and I would describe them as almost brindle.

jiorji
December 11th, 2005, 07:35 AM
How come you never see a male calico? At least I never have.

only females can carry that chromosome pattern.

pitbulliest
December 11th, 2005, 08:20 AM
I was under the impression that "calico" is a color style, and "tortoiseshell" is a breed....like American Tortoiseshell"...???

Gawd, I'm clueless when it comes to felines! lol

LM1313
December 11th, 2005, 11:02 AM
"With a calico, there is a significant amount of white, and the two colors are broken up into distinct patches. This has to do with the interaction of white spotting.

With a tortoiseshell, the three colors are blended and don't form distinct patches. A tortoiseshell may have significant portions of white as well, but the remaining colors are blended (this particular pattern is called a tortoiseshell and white). "

Okay, I get it now! It's not in splotches, it's mixed together. That makes sense. :) We used to have the sweetest tortishelle cat and I never quite understood why she wasn't called a calico. :pawprint:

~LM~

Prin
December 12th, 2005, 08:27 PM
How come you never see a male calico? At least I never have.
You can rarely see it in males, but to get the calico or tortie patterns you need 2 X chromosomes (each carries a different color). Males are usually XY, but once in a while you can have an infertile male that is XXY, and can be calico or tortie.

Beetlecat
December 12th, 2005, 08:55 PM
I was under the impression that "calico" is a color style, and "tortoiseshell" is a breed....like American Tortoiseshell"...???


I don't think 'American Tortoiseshell' is a registered breed but I assume it would be possible to have a breed of tortoiseshell or calico cats, which could be called whatever someone wanted to register them as.

calico and tortoiseshell are both colour patterns, but they are more prevelent in certain breeds and relatively existant in others such as siamese and burmese and ocicat, although it can still show up.

And then there are differences in how different breeds and cats express the calio pattern. Such as Turkish Vans who are pure white with orange on the head.

Of course, that is all due to what genetics the breeds have been slelected and bred for. So I would expect there to be many more calico patterened cats belonging to breed standards that do not select against the spotting genes.

Male calico can be born who are fertile, but they are (as far as I know) only chimeras (genetically two different animals) so they would not breed true.

Prin
December 12th, 2005, 09:31 PM
Male calico can be born who are fertile, but they are (as far as I know) only chimeras (genetically two different animals) so they would not breed true.
Really? That's interesting. Theoretically the extra X chromosome would completely stop the formation of germ cells (sperm) and reproductive organs, but theories and reality differ in a lot of ways...

mona_b
December 12th, 2005, 10:21 PM
It is definately just a colour....:)

And not all Calicos colours look the same.

I have enclosed a pic of my Calico Phoenix.Mind you she is a longhaired.And she is very petite.She even has a petite tail..LOL

My sister has a tortie named Muffin.

Here is a pic and some infor on Torites.

http://www.vegasthecat.com/about.html

Lucky Rescue
December 12th, 2005, 11:38 PM
What a pretty cat Mona! Long haired calicos are just exquisite!

To be a calico, a cat must have 3 colours - white, orange and black. Only two, it's a bi-colour and not a calico. These colours can also be pale, and are called "dilute". Torties can be dilute as well.

It's very complicated, but the extra chromosome that the very rare male calicos (I think they are found once in around 3500 births) have normally renders them sterile.

Here is a dilute calico who is blue, buff and white instead of black, red and white.

shannonRN
December 13th, 2005, 03:23 AM
My my my this thread is so interesting and such a genetics lesson to boot!

I've been slowly learning a little more here and there about cat breeds and colorings. I've never had anything other than the shelter staple "DSH" and I was very surprised when we met Lucy that she was a 'dilute tortie.' Had never heard of it! So now we have one of each--a regular tortie and a dilute--and I am fascinated by their markings. They both have tiger stripes that stand out in different places--Ruby on her cheeks and Lucy on her tail and cheeks to a lesser degree--and Ruby has polka dotted paws that are the coolest. Unfortunately the detail gets lost when you have to downsize and compress to post on websites, but I'm putting up pics anyways because I love my kitties!

http://dana.dogster.com/pix/cats/01/229801/229801_1133516206.jpg
http://dana.dogster.com/pix/cats/07/229807/229807_1133518626.jpg

mona_b
December 13th, 2005, 07:44 AM
Thank you LR....:)

I love the "dilute" colouring.

jiorji,shannon,beautiful kitties you have there....;)

Well this is what a Calico looks like shaved...LOL

She was NOT impressed.

CyberKitten
December 13th, 2005, 09:40 AM
She is indeed a cute dilute calico. Calico is a colouring and not a breed. Here is an interetsing tidbit from the state of Maryland where the calico is the state cat (a wonderful idea- every jurisdiction needs a kitty!!!):

"Calico is not a breed of cat, but an unusual coloring occurring across many breeds, including Domestic Short-hair, Persian, and Manx. Virtually all calico cats are female; a male calico is a genetic anomaly and usually sterile. Producing calico kittens through selective breeding also is nearly impossible due to unpredictable actions of genes and chromosomes when cells multiply in a feline fetus. "

"A calico cat must be a tri-color, with its three colors in distinct patches, not mixed as in a tortoiseshell cat. Some breed standards specify what percentage of the body must be white; others allow tabby striping in the color patches. To be a true tri-color, a calico cat's colors must be: white; red or cream; and black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, or fawn. The variations in color from red and black are caused by a gene which dilutes, or lightens up the basic color, and produces a dilute calico cat, most commonly with a coat of white, cream, and blue."

And this is a useful article. I had a wonderful calico - a polydactyl calico who gave birth to 4 glorious kittens, all polys. (She'd been a stray that adopted me and was pregnant well before she moved into my home).

http://absolutelycats.tripod.com/22Calico.html

Beetlecat
December 13th, 2005, 10:32 AM
Really? That's interesting. Theoretically the extra X chromosome would completely stop the formation of germ cells (sperm) and reproductive organs, but theories and reality differ in a lot of ways...

With chimeraism, the cat has the genetic information of two cats inside its cells. Both sets of genetics are not expressed but randomly 'turned on' and 'turned off' throughout the body.

If the '2nd' set of genetics is of a fertile non-calico male cat, and if it encompassess the genitals, then the cat will be a fertile male. But, the genes passed on will be of the non-calico colour type.

The '2nd' set of genes can also be female. So this would create a genetically female and male cat with either female or male or hermphroditic genitals.

Or you could end up with a cat that is (to give an example) calico on one side, and black on the other, with the two colours split right down the middle.

Chimeraism can also affect other animals, including humans. Some humans didn't know they were chimeras until given a gentic test where they found out children they had given birth to were not genetically theirs!

Sneaky
December 18th, 2005, 01:38 PM
For a male cat to be calico, he must carry the gene for
calicoism on both the X and the Y.
In order for this to happen, his mother must be calico,
and his father must also have the recessive calico gene.
Only if both parents, the mother and the father carry the gene
will it be passed on.
I have never heard of male calicos being infertile before.
However, considering a male cat would be recieving a double
recessive gene on a homozygote, then it is possible some health
difficulties, including sterilization may occur.
A lot of time Male calicos will be a "Dilute" Calico color,
or lack one of the colors due to gene swapping and are not
considered calico.

Prin
December 18th, 2005, 04:56 PM
That's the thing, Sneakypete, the color genes are on the X chromosomes only, not on the Y. So males have to be XXY. The Y chromosome has next to nothing important in it.

shannonRN
December 18th, 2005, 09:29 PM
The Y chromosome has next to nothing important in it.

Tell me about it!












Just a joke folks. I love XY's :)

Prin
December 19th, 2005, 12:40 AM
LOL I didn't see that coming.:o

jiorji
December 19th, 2005, 12:45 AM
Thank you LR....:)

jiorji,shannon,beautiful kitties you have there....;)

She was NOT impressed.

Thank you.

and no she doesn't look too happy. I think the tongue sticking out is giving away her mood. hehe

Snooky'sMom
December 27th, 2005, 02:34 PM
I know Calicos are not a breed but I was interested in this thread because I have a Calico too. I have had other Calico's in the past and found them to have some similiar temperments. For example:

They make wonderful mothers. Very protective and caring.

They tend to be excessive in their demand for affection.

They tend to be a bit timid.

And I just spoke with someone awhile ago that has a calico too and we were both taking note that both our Calicos loved plastic bags! Hey , I don't know if those things run in all Calico's but I'd sure love to hear further about the personality types.

jiorji
December 27th, 2005, 06:09 PM
And I just spoke with someone awhile ago that has a calico too and we were both taking note that both our Calicos loved plastic bags!

Mine too!!

and I used to think she was just doing that to get me to wake up early in the morning :evil:

joeysmama
December 27th, 2005, 09:31 PM
Oh these are all such beautiful cats. I had a GORGEOUS orange and black cat for about 12 years. Her name was Thomasina. (My MIL named her when she was a stray on their back porch. When I took her home I shortened it to Sina.) I guess she was tortoise? I never really thought about it.

My daughter was begging for a kittie the other day and I said no because one of my best friends is allergic. (She's really allergic--not the kind of person who says she's allergic when they really mean that they just don't like them.) And she has serious asthma and repiratory issues, so I don't want to make my home uncomfortable for her. Otherwise I'd have 2 cats. I just love them.

mona_b
December 27th, 2005, 09:57 PM
They tend to be excessive in their demand for affection.

LOL...Sorry but I had to laugh at that.

My Miss Phoenix has one heck of an attitude....She will love you one minute,then bite you the next.BUT when SHE wants some lovin,she is a big baby.And with her,she has a very weird meow...LOL

It's like 3 short low meows instead of a long one....Hope that made sence.LOL

And she HATES Tron.Heck she even hated Yukon.And she even hates other cats.She had a hissy fit when we brought Casper over for xmas when he was 6 months old.She has been the only cat for 4 years.I dread when the time comes and something happens to my dad.We will be brining her here to stay.BUT my daughter said if she has moved out by that time(:rolleyes:) she will take Phoenix.

Phoenix is not a bag kitty,she's a box kitty....LOL..She just loves laying and playing in boxes.:rolleyes: ....Winnie is our bag kitty.....She takes them and drags them all over the place.....:rolleyes:

Than you joeysmama..........:)

amber416
December 27th, 2005, 11:03 PM
All of the kitties are so pretty :) This thread is really interesting. I absolutely adore calicos and i have certainly found them to have unique personalities. My Tinkerbell is very moody...one minute she wants you to cuddle her (in fact, she will insist upon it) and the next she is biting. She can be very timid, she hates visitors, hates the dog, and will tolerate the other cats, but she definitely acts like she feels superior to them and will not hesitate to put them in their place. She is quite the character....all diva.

Snooky'sMom
December 28th, 2005, 06:18 AM
I kinda wondered. I've had a couple of Calico's and have found similairaties in them both. Guess I was wrong. But they DO all seem to have ATTITUDE.

AMBER416 my cat is all diva too. I can only have one female cat in the house while I have her. She's scared of new male cats but with new females she will chase them right off.

chico2
December 28th, 2005, 06:35 AM
Calicos are without a doubt beautiful,but I think what you describe as Calico-traits,could apply to any cats.
In my experience female cats can a bit standoffish and unpredictable often bossy with other cats,but I am sure it does not apply to all females(cats that is:D ).The plasticbag,box-thing and cuddling could describe all my male cats..
They all have their own quirks,just like people and I believe the different breeds have more to do with their personalities than colour.IMO

mona_b
December 28th, 2005, 07:12 AM
I believe the different breeds have more to do with their personalities than colour.IMO

I totally agree.

When I compare Phoenix to Winnie,the personalities are totaly different.

Winnie(brown tabby) is totaly layed back.She is non aggressive,never even nips at you.She is very loving(yes on her terms lol)and with her,she doesn't really meow.Just a little squeeky noise comes out of her...LOL

BUT what I have noticed with both Phoenix and Winnie is,they seem more attached to the males.Phoenix is very close to my dad.Follows him everywhere,sleeps with him.And this I notice with Winnie and Hubby.She does the same.When Hubby goes to bed,all he says is "night night Winnie" and she bolts into the bedroom...Go figure...LOL

Now Casper,well he is just a big suck.VERY loving and he just can't get enough of it.He follows you like a little lost puppy dog.LOL

Spirit's Echo
December 31st, 2005, 01:34 PM
That is all they are. Calicos and Tortis are colors of cats. Not breeds. They can be in any litter of any breed that is not managed well and line breed well. Hense a backyard cat breeder. I have never heard of a male calico and all the people who posted about having had or known of one should have gotten a handsome fee for that animal. Tortis are always both sexes.

scuba0095
April 4th, 2006, 07:44 PM
hello

I would just like to add something to this MOST calicos and torties do have more "attitude" then other female cats of differant colors. They also tend to make the best mothers and mousers. Even my vet agreed in general calico females are usually more dominant fiesty then a tabby or solid colored cat but theirs always exceptions but in general yes they are. According to some people who have researched it they think it has to do with the "red" gene not sure how much myth is involved in that but there is a lot of truth to the "attitude" or sperority complex LOL

phoenix
April 4th, 2006, 09:12 PM
My Miss Phoenix has one heck of an attitude....She will love you one minute,then bite you the next.BUT when SHE wants some lovin,she is a big baby.

hehe maybe it's in the name not the colour...