You see a lot of photos here of calico cats—most predominantly, lately, photos of Olivia. Isn’t she a beautiful specimen of a calico? Sophie, who most people would immediately identify as a tortie (tortoiseshell) is technically a calico. Despite the seemingly all-over black and orange mottled pattern of a tortie, Sophie has one white toe and a patch of white on her tummy. If she were lost and I needed to give a description of her, I would identify her as a tortie, but that white patch, it seems, qualifies her as a calico.
What is the technical description of a calico? This may depend on where the calico lives. Here, a calico cat is basically a domestic cat of any breed with a tri-color coat. The calico cat is typically 25 percent to 75 percent white with large orange and black patches; however, the calico cat can have any three colors in its pattern—most often brown, grey, black with some shade of orange. A calico with a tabby pattern is called a caliby
Outside North American, the calico might be defined as tortoiseshell and white or brindle or tricolor. The Dutch call them lapjeskats. Calicos with dilute shades of color are sometimes referred to as calamanco or clouded tiger.
Calico cats are thought to bring good luck. In fact, Japanese fishermen used to take a calico cat on their fishing voyages to ward of harsh storms and ghosts.
Most of us are familiar with the Japanese good luck cat, known as the Beckoning Cat or Maneki-neko. This cat dates back to the 1870s. I have one, do you?
Experts say that 99.9 percent of calico cats are female and that you cannot breed for a calico. Sure, you might get one or more randomly. Olivia (our striking calico kitten) had two black-and-white brothers in her litter. Smokey, a grey cat with white and the model for Rags in my Klepto Cat Mysteries, had a calico sister. Their mother was a Ragdoll, the father was (according to a cat DNA expert I reached out to) probably orange. Smokey had another grey brother and two siblings with Ragdoll markings.
Hey, did you know that if you have a wart, you can rub the tail of a calico cat over it and it will disappear? Old wives tale? Maybe.
Read more interesting data about the calico here: https://www.thesprucepets.com/calico-cats-photo-gallery-4031810 (Later in the week I’ll discuss the temperament and personality of a calico cat.)