Q: Are there any male calico cats left in the world?

April 5, 2008 | By Meredith | 3 answers | Expired: 2849 days ago


My dad has been telling me that there are no more male calico cats left in the world but I say otherwise! Can you tell me the answer?

Readers' Answers (3)

Apr 06, 2008

This Zootoo Pet Pulse story should answer your question.


RHODE ISLAND – A rare calico cat in Middletown, R.I. is catching the attention of vets and shelters across the nation because of its gender.

Max and his mother were brought to the Potter League for Animals in June. When employees discovered that Max was a male, they phoned local vets. As it turns out, a male calico is rare – only one is born in every 100,000.

A number of vets examined Max and they all had the same response – no one could recall ever seeing a male calico.

Calico is not a breed but rather a sex-linked color pattern. The tri-colored cats are orange, black and white. Variations can exist, which is why some calicos appear to have spots of grey or brown.

Typically, cats are born with two chromosomes. Max has the two that make him male but he also has an extra chromosome that gives him female characteristics.

Because of their unusual chromosome pair, most male calicos are sterile. In fact, only one in 12,000 male calicos can reproduce. Most do not survive more than a few months, due to genetic deficiencies.

Blood samples have been taken and will be used for genetic testing to see if Max has any health issues including whether or not he’s sterile.

Luckily for nine-year-old Max, he is happy and playful and shows no sign of illness.

As it turns out, there’s a human condition that’s very similar – Klinefelter syndrome. Males with Klinefelter syndrome are also born with an extra chromosome in each cell, also giving them female characteristics.

Male calico cats are more of a rarity than those with Klinefelter, which affects one in 500 to 1,000 human males.

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Apr 06, 2008

yep, male calicos (and tortoiseshells) exist, but they are super rare. the calico coat pattern can only come about with 2 X chromosomes, thus a male calico must actually have 2 X and 1 Y, which is very rare, and also rare to have a cat that has that and survives to adulthood. exciting. :D

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Marta J.

Apr 09, 2008

There will aways be calicos. Calicos are born to cats with 2x chromosomes. One of the chromosomes is called a white spotting gene. Almost all calicos are female. Males are very rare, because the male has to carry a xxy chromosome. There is also a color called muted calico. I have one cat of each color and of course they're female. I'm sure if you Google calico cat you'll find more info online.

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