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  • Jennifer herne

Orange Cats


(Photo: Cannolli and Reuben, two bonded brothers. Taken by Kenzi Ashmall)


We know Halloween is over but let's talk about orange. I don't mean pumpkins I mean orange cats. We have all seen them and they are all so pretty but let's face it, their color is quite obvious when you see an orange cat. Studies have shown that orange cats are the most popular cat color adopted at shelters! But did you know that orange cats are usually male? When I see an orange cat come into the clinic I can pretty much guarantee it's a boy, but usually male doesn't mean always a male. Here is the reason why, it's all in the genetics!


Different genetic combinations can affect the color, pattern, and length of a cat's fur. We all know that everyone gets a chromosome from their mom and one from their dad. Cats are no different, and they also get one chromosome from their mom and one from dad.


Here is how the color pattern works out: the gene that codes for orange fur is on the X chromosome. Since females have two Xs and males are XY, this means that a female orange cat must inherit two orange genes (one from each parent) whereas a male only needs one, which he gets from his mother. This orange gene can be found in calico cats and tortoiseshells too.


In other words, orange cats always come from mothers with an orange gene, but female orange cats also require a father with the same gene. That's why orange cats are usually male.


Do you have an orange cat? Is it a male or female? Post a picture to our Facebook page. We'd love to see it!

Meow!

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