That crisp fall feeling is in the air here in Upstate NY. A time when we watch the Syracuse University Orangemen play football, and witness the beautiful leaves turn incredible colors. As the leaves turn from a bright green to shades of autumn, and we sip our pumpkin lattes, we think that learning more about orange cats would be perfect for this month and season. Let’s go orange!
How are orange cats unique?
We’ve all heard of Pareto’s Principle of 80/20, and orange cats are no exception: 80% are male, and only 20% are female. One of our hotel guests here at Rock The Cat Spa is a lovely little lady who has beautiful stripes and green eyes, and the rest of the marmalade crew are male.
How do genetics play into orange cat gender?
The simple genetic explanation is that females need XX chromosomes, while males need XY. The coat color for a cat is linked to genetics, and since males only need one X chromosome, they get their ginger coloring from their mama. Also, female cats with their XX genes have double the B gene that is found in the X chromosome, and this B gene causes red coloring in the fur called pheomelanin. This coloring is dominant, so since males only need one X, odds are higher to have an orange male instead of an orange female. Since the B gene carries the ginger shade, to have a female orange cat, she must have a fully orange father, and a mother who is a tortoise shell, calico, or ginger. Genetics can result in many different colors, but these particular genetic recipes are required for an orange kitty.
Orange cats are always tabbies!
Diving further into the gene pool, we also learn that you will never see a solid orange cat. Like never. Ever. Tabby cats have a dominant gene called the agouti gene, which is what determines the kitty’s coat, and can be recessive or dominant. A solid coat color comes only from two recessive genes working together to block stripes and markings. As we mentioned, since orange cats have the dominant agouti gene, they have stripes and can never be solid. The stripes can show up as different patterns, such as classic (swirls), ticked (light and dark bands), spotted, or mackerel (tiger stripes). Colors can range from light to dark with brown, black and cream accents. Always remember that not all tabby cats are orange, but all orange cats are tabbies. Tabby is not a breed, but the pattern of the cat’s coat.
What breeds can be orange?
While you may initially think of orange tabbies as Domestic Longhairs or Domestic Shorthairs, orange cats can be found in many breeds. At the Cat Spa, we know a stunning show cat who is a purebred Maine Coon. He has the fullest, fluffiest tail that we have ever seen; a real showstopper! We have also seen orange cat varieties with British Shorthairs, Scottish Folds and Persians, but the color may also be found in Rexes, Manx, Munchkin, Exotic Shorthair, Norwegian Forest Cat, and even more!
More Unique Characteristics
Orange cats tend to be taller and larger than most other cats, and have a variety of personalities; they are as unique as any human you will meet. You will love their gold or amber eyes, and they frequently have freckles on their nose and mouth!
Fall in love with an orange cat any season of the year, and you won’t regret it when you cozy up together.
(Today's photo features our orange friend Copper).
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