If you’ve ever felt love from a calico cat, you may already know how rare these beautiful beings are. Interestingly, it seems the exact percentage of calicos in the cat population is unknown.
What we do know is that calicos can be any breed of cat with a tri-color coat of white, orange and black. A variation of this tri-color coat – gray, cream, and white – is a muted calico (or dilute calico).
99.9% of all calicos are female. The rarest of all calicos is a male. Only 1 in every 3000 calicos are born male. The rare genetics that create this tri-color coat also cause male calicos to be sterile. This is why calicos cannot breed.
Because calicos are so rare, they are considered lucky all over the world. In America, they’re nicknamed Money Cats. This is because they are thought to bring good fortune in financial matters. In Japan, calicos became an official symbol of good luck in 1870. Japanese sailors would travel with calicos to ensure a safe journey. The talisman, maneki neko, is almost always a calico cat and is on display in homes, shops, restaurants – anywhere she can bring good fortune.
Calico cats are the official cat of Maryland.
Many people think tortoiseshell kitties anc calicos are the same. They are similar in many ways – torties are predominantly female with a tri-colored coat too. The distinguishing factor is that calico coats are between 25-75% solid white with orange and black patches, while the main undercoat of tories is black.
While earning the love of any feline – with any kind of coat – makes us humans very lucky, calicos have made being lucky an official way of life in our experience.