The science behind the sterility of male calico cats?

It is easy to tell if a cat is Calico or not. What distinct calico cats this the color of their fur. Calico cats come in black, white, and orange. The orange is a result of a rare gene mutation. Calico is not to be confused with Tortie, Taddy, or a somehow similar tortoiseshell cat. 

This article will explain what a Calico cat is and how they come about. We will discuss the reason why male Calico cats are rare. 

So is it true that male calico cats are sterile? Stick around and find out.

Why are male calico cats sterile?

Did you know that almost all calico cats are female? And, the male Calico cats cannot breed? You would be lucky if you didn’t know any of this and many fun facts about calico cats. This article will detail what you expect if you want to pet a calico cat. You will get to differentiate different types of cats confused with a Calico.

First of all, how do calico cats come to exist? It is assumed that Calico cats were first discovered in Egypt, although there is no objective evidence to support that statement. How calico cats come to exist is through a gene mutation in the X chromosome that affects the fur’s color. 

Most calico cats have white, black, and orange color patches. However, there is a variation of white, grey, and brown. 

Since the mutation affects the X chromosomes present in female cats, most calicos are female. However, on rare occasions, a disorder known as Klinefelter’s syndrome is present in the male making the male have two X chromosomes and a Y chromosome. 

Due to the genetic make of calico cats, they cannot be used to breed. Find out why below.

Are all Male Calico Cats Sterile?

Unfortunately, if you have a calico male and you want to use him to continue a generation of calico cats, it is not possible. This is because the abnormal gene mutation in male calico cats results in the cat’s testicles being weak and sterile.

Although it is rumored that at least 1 in 10,000 male calico cats is fertile, the majority are sterile. Here is how it happens.

When the parent’s mate (In this case am talking about cats) each contributes one chromosome, the female contributes one of her X chromosomes. In contrast, the male contributes either the X or the Y. If the Y chromosome is the one that gets used to produce the offspring, it will be a male. 

On rare occasions, the Y chromosome may attach itself to the two X chromosomes from the females, making it have XXY genetic make. As a result, the offspring automatically becomes a male. Due to this abnormal genetic makeup, the male Calico cat is weak, sterile, and mainly develops health conditions. 

It is important to remember that Calico is not a breed of cat. They are just normal cats with unique fur colorations. Most female calico cats are perfectly healthy. They can therefore be taken care of as normal cats. However, male Calico cats should be given extra consideration. Read on to find out how you can provide proper care 

Neutering calico cats

Calico male cats might be sterile, but they are still boys. The syndrome might cause the calico cat to have behavioral issues. To reduce chances of annoying behavior from your cat, Neuter him. Neutering is helpful in the possibility of him developing prostate cancer. 

You should checkup with a veterinarian often. Calico male cats are prone to developing health issues. And to ease the veterinary bills, you can check out this cat health insurance program. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are black cats calicos?

Calico cats have three color patches: orange, black and white. Although, different mutations cause different colored cats. Tortie calico is black and orange colored with no white color.

How long do calico cats live?

Depending on the car you are giving the cat, a calico can live up to 15years.

What type of breed is Calico?

Calico cats do not belong to any breed of cats. Any breed can get the gene mutation that results in calico cats.

Do female calicos breed?

Female calicos are not affected by the gene mutation. Therefore it is possible to breed your female Calico. However, there is no guarantee that the offspring will be calicos.


Male calico cats are attractive. However, they cannot be used to breed. This is because the gene mutation sterilizes the testicles of the male calicos. 

Even though male calico cats are sterile, proper care will increase your cat’s life expectancy. Neutering is one of the essential care that your cat should receive. You should schedule regular checkups with a veterinarian. And one cat lover to another, having cat health insurance is a smart move.

Amelia Kteylor

Amelia Kteylor, DVM, attended the University of Georgia. She is a cat expert with 20 years of experiences in field. She has a passion as a writer and editor for pet publishing industry too. Amelia contributes to numerous pet magazines in the areas of pet health and groom. Further, she volunteered in cat rescue centers in her leisure time.

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