There’s no doubt that you’ve pet or at the very least seen an (also known as a ginger cat) at one point in your life. This is partially because orange cats are among the most popular coloring of cats that are used in movies and TV shows. And for good reason- orange cats are super playful and talkative. Some people consider orange cats to be some of the most friendly types of cats out there.
There are many different breeds out there, which is why we’ll take a look at some of them in this article. Before we do that, let’s take a look at some of the facts behind orange cats- like the different color patterns of orange cats and just exactly why there are cats that are orange in color!
4 Different Patterns
One unique fact about orange cats is that they are all tabbies. The term actually refers to the pattern of a ‘s – not its ! cats, specifically, are striped with colors of orange and white. This brings us to the different variations in the patterns. There are four different types of patterns, which are all present in different breeds of orange cats! These four types are the , the , spotted , and ticked .
A is a that has an agouti base coloring with darker swirls, spots, and lines of color on them. The term agouti derives from the gene that gives classic is a that has a cream/whitish base color with swirls, spots, and lines of the rich orange coloring. You may also notice that with classic cats, there is a pattern that resembles the letter “M” on their foreheads. The picture below is an example of an orange with the signature “M” on their forehead. cats their signature – it essentially means a band of color on your . A
The Mackerel Tabby
A mackerel tabby, also known as a tiger cat by some, is a cat whose coat pattern resembles that of a tiger. Mackerel tabby cats have a lighter colored base to them with stripes that are perpendicular to their spines. The mackerel tabby cat is what most people think of when they hear the phrase tabby cat. For orange cats specifically, a mackerel tabby consists of a cat with a lighter orange/cream colored base and dark, rich orange colored stripes.
The Spotted Tabby
Spotted tabby cats are just how they sound- spotted! These tabby cats have a coat similar to that of a mackerel tabby, except with spots/splotches instead of stripes. Spotted tabbies are even distinctly related to mackerel tabbies! The spotted tabby coat pattern features a lighter colored base color with darker splotches or spots of color all over the cat. For orange spotted tabbies, the coat appears usually in one of two colorways. Either the cat has a cream colored base color with light orange spots, or a light orange base color with darker orange spots.
The Ticked Tabby
Ticked tabby cats may at first appear as though they don’t have any stripes on their bodies at all except maybe some on their legs/tail and the classic “M” marking on their head. Maybe you’ve even seen one and don’t think they’re tabby cats at first. However, ticked tabby cats are tabbies! Ticked tabbies have very faint bands of lighter or darker coloring throughout their coat thanks to the agouti gene briefly mentioned earlier. Orange ticked tabby cats have lighter colored coats with little stripes or splotches of darker coloring throughout. The striping on their legs is also a dark orange color.
By now, hopefully you have a better understanding of just how different orange cats can look. Read on to find out why orange cats are in fact orange/red in color! Hint: It’s a really interesting gene they have!
Why Are Orange Cats Orange?
Orange cats are really unique and special cats. It’s suggested that they’re amongst the most friendly and playful cats, and statistics even show that up to 80% of orange cats are males. So chances are, if you’ve got an , it’s a (although it is entirely possible to have a that has ). Why is this, though? Why are they mostly male, and how do they get their signature orange color?
There is a wide range of the colors orange that orange cats can be. They can be more of a cream color, a dark, rich red-orange color, or right in the middle at a classic orange color. This is all due to a particular pigment that orange cats have which is called pheomelanin. The more pigment that is present in the , the more “red” the will appear!
This directly correlates to why most of the population is male. The pheomelanin that orange cats possess is found on the X chromosome. only need one copy of that chromosome in order to be colored orange, because chromosomes are XY. Female cats, on the other hand, would need two copies of the chromosome, because their genetic makeup calls for an XX variation in order to be a female. Thus, it is far more likely for an to be male, just because of their chromosomal makeup!
Phew! That was a mouthful. Now we’ll dive into the world of orange cats and different breeds.
The Abyssinian Cat
Abyssinian cats are some of the oldest breeds of in the world. If you’ve ever seen any cave paintings or sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats, you may see some similarities between Abyssinian cats and the cats in the paintings/sculptures. That’s because it is thought that Abyssinian cats were the of that were present all the way back in ancient Egypt!
Abyssinian cats have a tickled the . with a long, muscular body. They also have relatively thin tails, large ears, and almond shaped eyes. These cats come in many colorways, including orange/red, blue, fawn, and cinnamon. Their shorter coats allow for their grooming need to be kept lower. They’re also incredibly social creatures, making a great option for those who work from home, have kids, or have time to spend with
Exotic Shorthair Cats
Exotic Shorthair Cats are truly an interesting breed of cat. They are some of the newer breeds of cats, with organizations such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association sourcing them back as early as the 1960s. Breeders of the American Shorthair cat wanted to improve and add new colorings to the American Shorthair genetic makeup, so they started to breed them with Persian cats to try and illicit different colors of the American Shorthair. What the breeders discovered, however, is that the offspring from the two didn’t fully look like just an American Shorthair. This eventually was brought to Jane Martinke’s (a Cat Fanciers’ Association judge) attention in 1966, which is when she officially recognized the Exotic Shorthair as its own breed so that American Shorthairs could still exist separately.
The appearance of the Exotic Shorthair cat is a mix between Persians as well as American Shorthairs. They have large, oval-shaped heads with full cheeks. Their ears are smaller in size and round, matching the shape of their heads. Exotic Shorthair eyes are large and round as well, resembling that of a Persian. There are many colors that exotic shorthairs can be, including white, blue, lilac, black, and orange/red. Exotic Shorthair cats are fairly low maintenance, requiring only the occasional grooming and feeding of course. These cats are great for people who spend a lot of time working or who can not devote multiple hours a day to a cat.
The Scottish Fold
The Scottish fold was believed to first be spotted by a gentleman named William Ross, on a rural farm in Scotland. After gaining permission from the original owners, Ross was able to have one of the kittens and breed them with one of his own barn cats. The interesting thing about the kitten is that she had ears that weren’t standing up; instead, they were folded. After breeding her with his barn cats, generations of this new, folded-ear kitten started to be noticed by the masses.
Scottish Folds are even more unique in that there is only a chance, not a guarantee, that their ears will be folded. When a Scottish fold is born, its ears are straight up. It takes a few weeks time to tell whether or not their ears will either remain straight or fold over. It is because of this why Scottish folds are so rare and sought after. Besides their ears, they have a medium build and shorter legs and tails. They are very laid back cats and get along well with other animals. There are many different colors that Scottish Folds can be, including white, black, silver, blue, brown, cameo, cream, and orange.
The Persian Cat is another breed that is one of the oldest in the world. According to the Persian Breed Council, there is evidence of the Persian dating back nearly 4,000 years ago. They became more popular in the 1800s when traveling diplomats brought kittens home to their families after being in places like Persia (which is now Iran). Their name purely represents their origin. They became even more popular around the late 1800s and early 1900s when cat shows started having a desire for longhaired cats (which Persians fit purrfectly!).
The most physically notable feature of a Persian cat is its cute, squished face. They have smaller heads, round ears, and big chubby cheeks. They are medium in size and have long hair that requires regular grooming and washing. Persians love attention but do not always require it of their owners. Their fur can be different colors such as white, blue, black, brown, cream, and red/orange.
The Munchkin cat’s history is very short, dating back to only 1983. One afternoon, a lady saw two cats run under a truck after being chased by a dog and discovered that they both had abnormally short legs. She kept one of the cats and soon discovered she was pregnant after the cat gave birth to four kittens. Two of the kittens had short legs, one of which was given to Kay LaFrance, who later created the standard for the Munchkin cat.
The name “Munchkin” in Munchkin cat is derived from its short, little legs. Breeders tried to recreate the munchkin by breeding them, however, noticed that it didn’t always result in short legs. A Munchkin Cat’s short legs can ultimately be attributed to a random, genetic mutation. The other physical characteristics of the munchkin cat are normally proportionate to that of a common housecat. Munchkin cats can vary in color to pretty much any color imaginable, including a rich orange color or lighter orange color. They are very playful animals who love attention but unfortunately may have health complications due to how short their legs are.
Maine Coon Cats
The origination of the Maine Coon is confusing at best. There is not a singular correct origin story of the Maine Coon, but here’s what we do know about its history. The Maine Coon started becoming popular and more widespread by the mid to late 1800s. They were especially popular in the Northeastern part of the United States, because of their ability to withstand cold temperatures and their ability to catch mice. Soon after cat shows were on the rise, so was the public’s love for the great beauty of the Maine Coon.
The Maine Coon is undoubtedly one of the largest breeds of cats existing today. Smaller Maine Coons can still even weigh up to 9 pounds! They have a lot of long, thick fur that requires very regular upkeep, and they are not shy about shedding. Because of their fur, they are robust animals that can withstand harsh winter climates. They like to play but aren’t overly needy, so they make great pets for any type of family. They can be found in many colorways, including the most popular colors of blue, black, white, and cream. However, there are Maine Coons that are orange too!
The American Shorthair
The American Shorthair’s origins can be traced back to Europe in the late 1800s when they were used as mouse cats. They were eventually brought to the United States, with the first official record of it dating back to 1904. Many people confuse the American Shorthair with the domestic shorthair, but there is a difference. While the American Shorthair is an official breed recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, a domestic shorthair isn’t an official breed, but is just what a domestic household cat is usually referred to as.
American Shorthair cats are muscular cats, due to the fact that they were originally used to hunt mice. They have more broad chests and very strong legs/jaws. Their fur is of course short, which makes it easy to manage. There are more than 80 recognized colors that an American Shorthair can be, and of course, orange is one of the more common colors!
The Bengal Cat doesn’t have a specific place as to where it originates from. Some of the first sightings and reports of the Bengal are noted as being a result of breeding an Asian Leopard cat with an Egyptian Maus in the late 1800s. In 1924, there was a Belgian scientific journal that briefly discussed a cat breed now known as the Bengal. Finally, as of 2016, the Cat Fanciers’ Association officially recognized the Bengal as a breed.
Bengals are known for their classic spotted appearance. They are larger than normal housecats because of how muscular they are known to be. In general, they are low maintenance cats that don’t require a lot of upkeep. There aren’t many color combinations that Bengals have, just because of their unique spotting. Cashmere and rosette are amongst the most common colors, while orange is less common in Bengal cats.
The Devon Rex
The Devon Rex is an adorable little cat that is thought to have originated from a natural and random genetic mutation. It is a relatively new breed of cat, with origins starting in the 1950s. Since then, the Devon Rex has been bred over and over in order to prevent the mutation from going away.
Devon Rex cats are some of the most unique looking cats out there. The first thing you’ll probably notice about them is that they have curly hair instead of straight. This, paired with a small head, large ears, and large eyes makes for a very cute cat that is almost unlike any seen before. The Cat Fanciers’ Association reports that a wide variety of colors and coat patterns is possible for this cat, including orange tabby as one of them.
We hope you had fun exploring the world of orange cats! There are so many breeds, personalities, and coat patterns that orange cats can be, so there is sure to be an orange cat out there for everyone. Have a purrfect day!