Calico cats are domestic cats with a spotted or parti-colored coat that is predominantly white, with patches of two other colors (often the two other colors are orange tabby and black). Outside of North America the pattern is more usually called tortoiseshell-and-white. In the province of Quebec, they are sometimes called chatte d'Espagne (French for '(female) cat of Spain'). Other names include tricolor cat, mi-ke (Japanese for 'triple fur') and lapjeskat (Dutch for 'patches cat'); calicoes with diluted coloration have been called calimanco or clouded tiger. Occasionally, the tri-color calico coloration is combined with a tabby patterning. This calico patched tabby is called a caliby.
"Calico" refers only to a color pattern on the fur, not to a breed. It is absent from lists of breeds. Among the breeds whose standards allow calico coloration are the Manx, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Persian, Japanese Bobtail, Exotic Shorthair and Turkish Van.
Because genetic determination of some coat colors in cats is linked to the X chromosome, calicoes are nearly always female. Because of the genetics involved, calico males generally have impaired vitality and are almost always sterile.
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Famous quotes related to calico cat:
“The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;”
—Eugene Field (18501895)