10 Fun Facts About Calico Cats

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Calico cats are very popular and come in all different colors.

If you are thinking about getting one, there are a lot of fun facts to learn.

The more you learn about these cats, the easier it will be to make a decision.

1. There is no Calico Breed

Despite what many people believe, the term “Calico” actually refers to the pattern of the cat and not one specific breed. Most of these cats are mostly white with some black and reddish brown/orange patches.

There are lots of cat show cat breeds that are considered to be calicos, including the Japanese Bobtail, British Shorthair, and American Shorthair.

Only eleven cat breeds can be considered calicos by strict official standards. These cats include the Manx, British Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail, Arabian Mau, Persian, Exotic Shorthair, the Turkish Van, Siberian, Norwegian Forest Cat, American Shorthair, and Angora.

2. The Calico is the Official Cat of Maryland

You probably didn’t even know that states have their own official cats. Well, most of them don’t. Maryland adopted the Calico as their official state cat back in 2001. They also have an official insect, the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.

3. Calicos can Supposedly get rid of Warts

If Irish folktales are to be believed, you can get rid of warts by simply touching the affected area to the tail of the cat. While this might not exactly be based in science, it is definitely a fun thing to know.

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4. A Calico Once Saved an Entire Family

A calico cat once saved an entire family of people who sleeping while their house was catching fire. The cat scratched tenaciously at the doors to warn its owners. Every single person in the house made it out unscathed thanks to the heroic feline.

5. A Majority of Calicos are Female

Most Calicos are female, as the X chromosome is tied to orange and black colors in these animals. It is possible for these cats to be male as well, but they are female more often than not. In fact, it is estimated that around just 1 in every 3,000 of these cats is male.

The male calicos that do exist are usually sterile, which means that they aren’t much good to a breeder at all. There was a time when people in North America believed that these cats would go for a lot of money, until they discovered that they are sterile. A lot of people were disappointed to say the least.

6. They Have Lots of Different Names

Some Calicos are known as a “tortoiseshell” while others are called “brindle”. The name of the cat usually reflects the color of its coat, as this is the defining characteristic of these felines. Dilute calicos have gold, silver and gray coats.


7. They are a Symbol of Luck

Seeing a Calico is widely considered to be a sign of good things to come for the Japanese. This is kind of like the opposite of how Americans see a black cat crossing their path. It is why you will often see representations of them in stores across Japan. 

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There was a time when Japanese sailors would keep these accords aboard because they believed them to be omen. The rough seas and rigorous conditions they faced on a daily basis made them desperate for any bit good luck they could get.

In fact, a calico cat was unofficially named Station Master of a railway in Kinowawa, Japan. We’re guessing that this is the first time and only time this title has been bestowed on a cat, and it’s a pretty safe assumption.

The Chinese also believe that this cat is a symbol of good luck. This belief has existed since the late 1800s and is still going strong today in Asian culture.

8. There is a Famous Calico

Pudge is a Calico cat that was made world famous by Instagram. With other 600,000 followers, this kitty definitely gets a lot of attention. Over 1,000 photos of this cat have been shared with the internet, and they are absolutely in love with it.

There is also a well-known poem about a dog and a calico cat by Eugene Filed. This poem is called The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat. It was written in the 1800s and is classified as a limerick.

The popular meme feline called Grumpy Cat was a Siamese, but one of her parents was a calico. 

9. They Come from Egypt

It is very likely that Calicos originated from ancient Egypt. Cats were revered and even worshipped by this civilization. Many experts agree that the lineage of these cats goes back a very long way. They most likely made their way to Spain at some point, and eventually becoming popular all over North America as well as Asia.

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10. Artists Love Calicos

There have been a number of well-known painters throughout history that have used the Calico as their subject. This includes Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin and Francois Boucher.

Everyone knows the classic musical “Cats”, which features human thespians in cat costumes. It is one of the most well-liked and recreated productions in the entire world.


  • The term “calico” does not refer to any particular breed, but rather a pattern with three colors (usually orange, black and white).
  • The Japanese and Chinese have long believed these cats to be symbols of good luck/fortune.
  • The calico became the official state cat of Maryland back in 2001.
  • There have been quite a few famous Calicos throughout history, including Instagram star Pudge.
  • A calico cat once saved an entire family of people who were sleeping in their bedrooms as their house went ablaze.
  • It is believed that the origin of these cats can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt.
  • An overwhelming majority of calicos are females. About one in one thousand are male.
  • There are eleven different breeds that are officially recognized as calicos by the Cat Fanciers Association.
  • Numerous artists throughout history have been inspired by these cats.
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