I guess we all know that a Calico cat is not a breed of cat but a description of the coat color. "Calico" is a North American term. In the UK the Calico cat is called "Tortoiseshell and White".
As the UK name suggests the coat is a mixture of tortoiseshell fur (black and orange) and white. The white is caused by the white spotting gene or Piebald gene. This gene causes the mitted or gloved cats (Snowshoe and some Ragdolls) and the van cats (Turkish Van).
Calico cat photo copyright Jean Francois Chenier under CC
We also know that due to genetics, Calico cats are virtually always female. This is because the gene that determines red (orange) coloration is carried on the X chromosome and a cat has to be XX (female) for the orange gene to take effect (I think that's correct - tell me if I am wrong please).
Japanese people like the Calico color. This is shown in their love of Bicolor and Calico Japanese Bobtail cats. They call this color pattern mike-cats.
The genetics at work are all concerned with the coat color. As far as I can see there is no further effect (beyond coat color) that determines the character of the cat. I conclude that Calico cats have no specific character associated with the coat color.
The association between the color of the fur and character of the cat is similar to our perception that red-headed people (and particularly females) have a specific and associated character e.g. fiery and volatile. This is due to their "difference" (in the way they look). People tend to be frightened of different people and attack them. They do this by making slightly derogatory remarks (this is my theory, anyway). It is untrue that red-headed people are generally fiery. If they are sometimes like that, perhaps they are being irritated by being thought of as being fiery by other people! One point though does come to mind about the behavior of a calico cat. We know that females of the species act differently to the male. As calico cats are nearly always female it could be argued that their behavior is different to the average. Just a thought.
There is a tendency then for humans to assign a character to an appearance. This is the same for people's perception of cats generally. Some people hate cats because they think they "sneer" at them when it is in fact the person's own prejudice coloring the perception. The same distorted perception is found with black cats. They were thought of as witch's cats and there are still numerous superstitions surrounding black cats (good luck, bad luck you name it).
Photo at top of post and bottom of post are copyright and by fofurasfelinas published under:
- Cat Fanciers