Carey cats are those that have a coat that combines the colors white, orange and black. Although some people believe that it is a breed, these cats, for the most part, are common specimens with a genetic alteration that is manifested in their coat.
Another misconception about these kitties is that only females can present this coloration . Although they are rare to see, it is also possible to find some males. Continue reading this SoyUnGato article to learn everything about Carey or Calico cats.
You may also be interested: Are tricolor cats always female?
The peculiarities of these tricolor felines
The first thing to know is that specimens of this type are not a particular variety, since the conjunction of the three colors is independent of the breed. Carey cats have the three basic hair tones of felines: white, black and orange. It is also common for them to have a reddish spot over their eyes , which usually have an amber or copper hue. The design of each individual’s coat is unique and unrepeatable.
The origin of this intricate drawing is related to its genetic inheritance. Cats have two sex chromosomes: the X, provided by the mother, and the Y, by the father. If after conception the combination results in “XX” , the new individual will be female and if it is “XY”, male.
Now, the black and orange coloration is only transmitted through the female chromosome, so a male – who has only one X – cannot present both colors. White, for its part, is not linked to sex and may or may not appear. Therefore, the most common is that the Calico are female, having orange and black by genetic inheritance, in addition to the white fruit of chance.
It is also possible, although difficult, to find tricolor males: statistics assure that 3,000 females are born for every male Hawksbill cat . These specimens have three sex chromosomes (“XXY”) instead of two, an abnormality known as Klinefelter Syndrome and causes sterility. Thus, by having two X chromosomes, these male cats can have black and orange in their coat.
How many types of Carey cats are there?
Although the combinations and coloration of tricolor cats vary from individual to individual, a general classification can be made based on more or less stable patterns:
- Carey cats:black and orange colors are present asymmetrically on the coat. A predominance of dark tones is observed, although diluted in colorations far from pure black and with very little white in general.
- Calico cats:the white color is predominant, especially in the area of the chest, belly and legs. Its coat is dotted with black and orange spots distributed in a disorderly way. It is common for black to tend towards a dark grayish color.
- Tricolor Tabby Cats: Theyhave a coat reminiscent of that of tigers. All three colors are presented in a fairly pure form, with striped or spotted patterns.
Typologies aside, they are all good companions, loving and faithful. This, together with their incredible fur, makes them stand out among the favorites of cat lovers.
Curiosities of the Carey cats
Since time immemorial, these cats have been associated with good luck. In Ireland having a tricolor cat in the home was considered to ward off evil spirits , while Japanese sailors never set sail without a tortoiseshell cat on board to ensure good weather during the voyage.
A beautiful legend tries to explain the origin of these kittens. Centuries ago, the Sun, bored of always staying high, decided to come down to Earth. Therefore, he asked the Moon to take his place so that humans would not notice his absence. This done, he chose to visit us the animal that he considered the most perfect and discreet: a black cat.
But in his feline form, the star king became as curious as they were and took longer to return to his place than he had promised. The Moon, tired of covering his back, returned to the night sky without warning him. Such was the surprise of the Sun when it saw the Moon retreat, that it quickly fled from the cat’s body, leaving behind some solar rays that were combined with the original dark fur .
Beyond the myths that surround these precious kittens, there is something that is beyond doubt: their presence endows homes with a positive energy that is reflected in the well-being of all family members.