Did you know that the skin under your cat’s coat is a lighter color of their fur?! In cat’s, coat color is a sex-linked trait – it has to do with the gender of the cat, according to mnn.com. Flashback to high school genetics: males have one X, and one Y chromosome and females have two X chromosomes.
Because the gene that controls orange and black fur is on the X chromosome – both males and female cats can have orange or black fur. Since females have two X chromosomes, they can also be tortoiseshell, tabby, or calico. A tortoiseshell cat has orange and black patched fur. Calico cats are tortoiseshell that has patches of white fur (unpigmented skin).
For a male cat to be calico, he has to have an extra X chromosome (he will have 2 X’s and one Y) – quite a rare thing. In humans, having an extra X chromosome is called Klinefelter Syndrome, cats with this syndrome are sterile. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri conducted a study and found that 1 out of every 3,000 calico cats is male!
Dr. Smith from Central Texas Cat Hospital has only seen 2 male calicoes during his 54-year career! Here is Frank – a calico, Scottish fold!
Dr. Smith said he is one in a million!