Tricolor cat. Know all the color patterns

The tricolor cat are cats with a beautiful physical, basically represented by three different colored spots on its coat (black, white and orange).

They have become quite well known, due to the fact that they have a very special color pattern and no two are alike.

Do you want to find out what the origin is and its different patterns, in its tricolor coat? Keep reading the article and we will tell you other interesting facts about their colors, their genetics and why tricolor cats are almost entirely female.

Origin of tricolor cats

Although the origin of tricolor cats is associated with a genetic condition that will be explained later in the article, we want to tell you first, a legend that explains how these majestic tricolor kittens emerged hundreds of years ago.

Legend has it that hundreds of years ago in a monastery in Tibet during the 12th century, there was a constant discussion between the monks of the monastery.

They could not agree on their theological beliefs. So they made the decision to fast for a few days.

At the end of the fast, and without reaching an agreement, a tricolor cat appeared at the door of the monastery with her young also with these colors.

The monks adopted these kittens, as they considered them as an offering. And from then on they only had mind and heart to focus on taking care of them.

Thus forgetting the misunderstandings and arguments they had between them. And that was how one of them reflected on the well-being that the cats had caused in the monastery and commented to the others that the tricolor pattern of the fur of those cats had a divine meaning .

According to him, black and white represented yin and yang, a sign of two opposite parts, and that the sandy orange color represented the color of the earth, where human beings live.

In such a way that this represented, that human beings could be tolerant with their differences and instead of arguing they could unite their thoughts, to live in harmony.

In addition, since all kittens were female, it represented that females could give life. Therefore this was a sign of change, regeneration and not to continue in permanence.

Thanks to this legend, there is the concept that tricolor cats are a sign of harmony and tolerance in homes. For they bring this spirit with them.

Genetics of Three Color Cats

Genetics are responsible for the appearance of this tricolor pattern in any breed of cat , but let’s see how it works:

When the egg is fertilized, both the female and the male provide 19 chromosomes each, for a total of 38 chromosomes, which will be the beginning of the genetic information of the new offspring in gestation.

Of these 19 chromosomes, the female provides an X chromosome and the male an X or a Y chromosome. These chromosomes are responsible for defining the sex of the offspring. If the combination XX turns out, it will be female and if it turns out XY, a male will be born.
The orange color of the coat is associated with the X chromosome, and it is for this reason that the tricolor pattern occurs in females. Well, having 2 XX chromosomes, two different colors can result, such as orange and black. Unlike the male that may be black or orange only.

Colors of tricolor cats

The colors that make up the coat of tricolor cats are orange or reddish, black and white.

Which are the result of genetic inheritance.
The variations in the appearance of the 3 colors of their fur define 3 different styles of tricolor cats. Among which are:


The three-color Carey style cats have the 3 distinctive colors with the particularity that they are presented with a mixed aspect within which white has a very low presentation, it is even almost invisible. They also hide a beautiful legend


The Calico style tricolor cats have the colors orange, black and white but these are clearly differentiated and separated, that is, the colors do not mix with each other.

Tricolor tabby

The tricolor tabby style cat has all 3 colors present, but these show a tabby style especially in the orange patches.

Why is the tricolor pattern associated with females?

The tricolor pattern is a unique feature of females. As the orange color is associated with the X chromosome, females (XX) are the only ones who can inherit two different colors (orange and black).

In contrast, males (XY) only have one X chromosome, which would define whether it is black or orange, but never both colors.

There is a slim chance that a tricolor male cat will be born, specifically 1 in 3,000 tricolor cats born. And if this is the case, the cat will most likely be infertile. 99.96% of tricolor cats are female.

However, the fact that a male tricolor cat was born would refer to a genetic anomaly that would consist of the contribution of more than two chromosomes (if during the fertilization of the ovum, the mother or the father contribute an extra chromosome).

In this case, a tricolor male cat (XXY) would be born, which may or may not inherit the tricolor pattern, but would be born sterile.

Some curiosities that maybe you did not know about the tricolor cat

  1. For centuries they were a representation of protection for Japanese culture, as they used to be carried out to sea on boats. in order to protect themselves from storms.
  2. According to a genetic study that was carried out on tricolor cats, they found that their genes came from cats that inhabited port areas of Europe. Of which its previous origin was Egypt.
  3. There is a belief that they can cure warts that appear on human skin. Well, according to Irish mythology, during the month of May, when the cat’s tail touches the wart, it will end up with it.
  4. They are cats with very sweet and affectionate personalities. They have also been loved by various cultures around the world, including Japanese and European.
  5. The tricolor cats are the official state cat of Meryland . One of the 50 states that make up the United States of America.

In Japan, tricolor cats  are a representation of good luck. They were even the inspiration to create the famous Japanese doll that makes signs.

Because they have the same colors as the flag. It is also a state that is very aware of the adoption and care of cats.

We hope that after reading this article you have learned a lot about tricolor cats or calico.

And if you found this article interesting, you can purr it on your social networks or share with the community of cat lovers your experience in the comments, if you have and share life with a tricolor cat . Purrs!

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