Orange cats have captured the hearts of many cat owners throughout the world. Whether you own an orange cat of your own, or if you don’t have one but have always been fascinated by those adorable ginger kittens, here are 11 interesting facts about these felines that you probably didn’t know.
1) All Orange Cats are Tabbies
No solidly orange cat exists. Even if an orange cat appears to be solid in color, it is actually still a tabby! There is a specific tabby pattern known as a “ticked tabby” where the tabby markings only appear on the cat’s forehead. The fur on the rest of the body, however, appears to be solid, although the coat may have a “flecked” appearance if you look closely enough.
2) Only One-Fifth of Orange Cats are Female
80% of all orange cats are actually male, so that male orange cats outnumber female orange cats 3 to 1. The reason for this is that the gene which makes a cat’s fur red is linked to the cat’s X chromosome. Male cats have two X chromosomes, while females only have one. This makes males more likely to receive the red gene.
Furthermore, orange cats can only receive their coloration from parents of the same sex, as the gene is only located on the X chromosome. This means that if the female parent is orange but the male parent is black, only the female kittens can be orange.
3) Orange Cats Aren’t a Breed
While some breeds of cats are more likely to be orange than other breeds, orange tabby cats themselves are not a separate breed. Orange coloration can occur in a variety of breeds, and tabby markings are a specific coat pattern that is possible in most cat breeds. Maine Coons are a long-haired breed that produces a lot of orange cats. There are, however, some cat breeds, such as Siamese cats, that cannot be orange.
4) Orange Cats Can be One of Five Tabby Patterns
While all orange cats are also tabby cats, this tabby pattern can show up in five different sub-patterns:
- Ticked Tabby: This tabby pattern makes the cat’s fur appear solid throughout most of the body. The hairs on a ticked tabby are “banded,” meaning that each individual strand of fur has multiple different colors on it. However, from a distance, the banded fur blends together, and it makes the cat appear solid in color. One way to tell a solid cat apart from a ticked tabby is by looking at the forehead. If you notice a distinctive “M” shape on a cat’s forehead, then it is a tabby.
- Classic Tabby: This is a popular tabby marking because it results in very pretty swirls throughout the cat’s body, usually with a distinctive “bullseye” marking on the flanks. This type of tabby pattern is also known as a swirled tabby.
- Mackerel Tabby: This is a very common tabby pattern which almost makes the cat in question look like a tiger. A mackerel tabby has one long stripe running down its back, as well as other stripes that spread out from the spine and circle the cat’s legs and tail.
- Spotted Tabby: This is a tabby pattern where the cat’s swirls are stripes that are broken up to make a spotted appearance.
- Patched Tabby: This is also known as a tortoiseshell tabby. This is where a cat has both black and orange coloration, so it gives the cat a patchy look. This kind of pattern is only possible in females.
5) They Love to Eat
While orange cats are not a specific breed, it has been noted through studies that fur coloration can affect a cat’s overall temperament. One such personality trait present in orange cats is that they love to eat! You may find your cat wreaking all sorts of mischief trying to get into the snack cupboard. Make sure you don’t overfeed your orange cat, as they can be prone to obesity because of their love of food.
6) They’re a Little Lazy
Another reason orange cats are prone to obesity is that they aren’t the most active of cats. In fact, most orange cats would much rather take a long cat-nap than go exploring. If you have an orange cat, you should encourage some active playtime at least once a day to make sure your cat is getting the exercise it needs!
7) They’re Talkative
Some cats aren’t particularly vocal, but it has been observed that most orange cats tend to be very talkative. You’ll never have to wonder about what your orange tabby is thinking, as it will certainly tell you through a series of loud and pointed meows. This is probably most frequent when your cat has decided it’s time for dinner!
8) They’re Clingy
Orange cats are sometimes also called “velcro cats” or “lap cats” because they love to spend time with their owners. You may find that your orange tends to follow you from room to room, and it will probably be difficult to remove your companion from your lap when you have to get work done! If you’re the kind of person who loves a cuddly cat, then an orange cat might be a good choice.
9) There is One Gene Responsible for Orange Cats
Fur coloration in cats is caused by specific genes. The gene responsible for black cats is called eumelanin, while the gene responsible for orange cats is known as pheomelanin. This gene can also be “diluted,” which means that a cat that is dark orange may give birth to lighter orange kittens. If this gene is further diluted, it can result in even paler colors such as cream. It may be surprising to learn that a wide range of these colors is actually caused by that single gene!
10) There are Lots of Famous Orange Tabbies
Probably the most famous orange cat out there is Garfield, but there are plenty of real-life orange cats that have earned fame for themselves, as well. Some of these famous felines include Winston Churchill’s cat, Jock, Orangey, who had a role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Stubbs, who served as the honorary mayor of a city in Alaska. Who knows, maybe your own orange cat could be famous someday, too!
11) The most common names for orange cats
Garfield, Aslan (like Hello Miau CFO), Marmalade, Butterscotch, Leo, and Pumpkin.