Did you know that ginger cats technically aren’t a breed of cat? They’re actually a coloration of cat, which includes shades of orange, red, and cream colors. They’re also some of the most popular breeds around- and for good reason. They’re super playful, super sweet, and most of them are relatively easy to take care of and maintain. Today, we’ll give you everything you should know about ginger cats, including the coat patterns you see with orange cats, what breeds their coloring appears in most, some fun facts about the ginger cat, and how to best care for them.
All The Different Orange Cat Coat Patterns
One super interesting thing about the ginger cat is that they’re all tabby cats! The tabby coat pattern with respect to the ginger cat simply means that they’ve got some variation of white and orange striped fur. What’s even more interesting is that even though all orange cats are tabbies, not all tabbies are orange cats– the tabby pattern exists in more than just orange color variations! Let’s take a look at why ginger cats are their signature ginger color, and all the different types of coat patterns that exist in the tabby spectrum.
What Makes An Orange Cat Orange?
The same reason behind why orange cats are orange is the same reason why up to 80% of ginger cats are males– it all comes down to genetics. Specifically, the classic ginger color can be attributed to a pigment that exists in all cats called pheomelanin. Pheomelanin is actually the same pigment that explains why red hair people have their red hair! The more of this pigment that is present in the cat, the more orange the cat will appear to be!
Genetically, the pheomelanin pigment is found on a cat’s X chromosome. Because male cats have a chromosomal makeup of XY, they only need one copy of the pheomelanin pigment in order to be colored orange. Female cats on the other hand have an XX chromosomal makeup, so they’ll need two different copies of the pheomelanin pigment in order to be colored orange. That explains why any orange cat you’ve seen is likely to be male! Isn’t science just that cool? Now that you know why ginger cats have their signature color, let’s look at all the different coat patterns that ginger cats can have.
The Classic Tabby
The classic tabby coat pattern refers to any cat that has an agouti base coloring with darker spots, swirls, and lines of color on them. The term agouti is just a fancy way of describing the gene that gives the classic tabby coat its signature pattern. ‘Agouti’ itself essentially just means a band of coloring on your cat. In the context of an orange classic tabby coat pattern, you can expect to see a white or cream-colored based with spots, swirls, and lines of darker orange color. Another really unique and fun fact about orange tabby cats is that they all have a pattern that resembles the letter “M” on their forehead, no matter the coat pattern.
The Ticked Tabby
The ticked tabby coat pattern is one of the coolest coat patterns for a cat. At first, it may appear that there isn’t a coat pattern there at all- most look to have solid coloring on them! However, the ticked tabby pattern is indeed a pattern. Ticked tabby cats have very faint bands of lighter coloring paired with darker coloring all around their bodies. You may also notice striping on their legs, which also resembles a dark orange color when it comes to ginger ticked tabby cats.
The Spotted Tabby
Spotted tabby cats have a pattern that looks exactly how they sound. The spotted tabby coat pattern exists when a cat has a lighter colored base coat paired with dark spots and splotches of color on top of it. With respect to orange cats, the base color is usually a white or cream color. The spots and splotches of darker color usually appear to be an orange or dark orange color.
The Mackerel Tabby
The mackerel tabby coat pattern is a really unique coat pattern. Sometimes referred to as a tiger cat, mackerel tabby cats have a light colored base paired with stripes of darker color that’s perpendicular to their spines. In fact for many people, when they think of an orange cat, the first image that pops into their head is that of an orange mackerel tabby cat because they’re so common! Orange mackerel tabby cats have a light orange or cream colored base coat paired with dark orange colored stripes. Now that we’ve explored all the different coat patterns that ginger cats can have, let’s take a look at some different breeds that they can be!
Breeds of Orange Cats
Now, we’ll take a look at 5 of the most common breeds of orange cats.
The Abyssinian cat breed is one of the oldest breeds of cats in the world. They date all the way back to ancient Egyptian times, with the first records of the cat being featured in many different ancient paintings and sculptures. The coat pattern that the Abyssinian cat has is the tickled coat pattern. They also have long, muscular bodies with thin tails, larger ears, and almond shaped eyes. In addition to the orange color they can also come in fawn, cinnamon, and blue variations. Because their coats are so short, they don’t need to be groomed as much. They’re also very social creatures, making them great options for those who either work from home or have children.
The Scottish Fold
The Scottish fold was believed to first be spotted by a man who goes by the name of William Ross, on a rural farm in Scotland. He gained permission from the original owners and adopted one of the kittens. After letting the kitten grow up, he bred 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 over. After breeding her with more of 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 not a 100% chance that they will be born with folded ears. 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. The fact that not all Scottish Fold cats have folded ears makes them a popular breed among cat lovers. Besides their ears, they have a medium build with 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 of course orange.
The Maine Coon
The origination of the Maine Coon can be confusing to understand. There is not a singular recorded origin 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, the public started falling in love with the beautiful Maine Coon.
The Maine Coon is by far one of the largest breeds of cats existing today. Even smaller Maine Coons can still weigh up to 9 pounds. They have a lot of long, thick fur that requires regular upkeep, and they also shed a lot. Because of their fur, they are robust animals that can withstand harsh winter climates, making them popular in colder places. 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 colors, including the most popular colors of blue, black, white, and cream. And although a bit rarer, there are Maine Coons that are orange, too.
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 many people believing the origin of it to be around the 1950s. Since then, there has been a lot of breeding of the Devon Rex in order to prevent this breed from going extinct.
Devon Rex cats are some of the most unique looking cats. The first thing you’ll notice about them is that they have curly hair instead of straight hair like most other cats. This, paired with a small head, large ears, and large eyes makes for a very cute cat that is almost unlike any other. The Cat Fanciers’ Association reports that a wide variety of colors and coat patterns is possible for this cat, including orange tabby. If you have a chance to see this type of cat, you’ll be sure to remember its looks forever.
The American Shorthair
The American Shorthair’s origins can be traced back to Europe in the late 1800s. They were originally used as mouse cats. Eventually, they were brought to the United States, with the first official record of the cat dating back to 1904. Many people confuse the American Shorthair with the domestic shorthair, but there is an important difference. While the American Shorthair is an official breed recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, a domestic shorthair isn’t an official breed. It 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 and jaws. Their fur is short, hence the name, which makes it easy to manage. There are more than 80 recognized colors of the American Shorthair, and of course, orange is one of the more common colors! These are some of the most common cats that are out there today, making them a great option for families and just about anyone.
Fun Facts About the Ginger Cat
Now that you have learned some information about the ginger cat, let’s take a look at some fun facts about them!
- They have been featured in pop culture. From classic movies like Shrek to the widely popular comic Garfield, the ginger cat is a hit icon that is found in many different pop culture influences worldwide. Their playfulness and their striking looks is probably what makes them so popular, but we’ll leave that to you to decide.
- They have a lot of nicknames. If you have a ginger cat, know someone who has one, or are a fan of them at all, you probably know just some of the many nicknames. Whether it be orange cat, ginger cat, or even marmalade, their unique color and fun personality is what makes them so easy to create nicknames for. What are your favorite nicknames for the ginger cat?
- Ginger cats can have freckles. This is a really cool trait that is most common with ginger cats. Once again, genetics takes the hat on this one as being responsible for the appearance of these cute, black dots. Most commonly found on the nose and gums, ginger cats have the highest likelihood of developing freckles. They may not appear on a cat until later on in their life, but you’re sure to notice them as they get older.
- They are some of the friendliest cats. Although no one knows why, ginger cats are some of the friendliest colors of cats that you can have. They have relatively relaxed tempers, and always love to play. Ginger cats make a great option for families with active children or even for one person who works from home.
How Best to Care For Ginger Cats
Now we’ll talk about some of our top tips for caring for these wonderful animals.
- Give them cat food, not people food. Although it may be tempting to give a begging cat people food because they look so cute, you should do your best to resist the temptation. This is because the food that people eat doesn’t have all the necessary nutrients that cats need to live. Make sure you’ve got proper cat food so that your cat can stay happy and healthy for its whole life.
- Make sure they always have a clean litter box. It’s good practice to always make sure your ginger cat’s litter box is cleaned. If it spills over or isn’t ever cleaned, the cat could track the dirty litter everywhere- and then you’ve got a mess to clean up. You also run the risk of making the cat sick if he constantly steps in his own feces or urine, and you sure don’t want that to happen!
- Ensure that they always have clean water to drink. This goes for any animal too- make sure your ginger cat has clean water available to them! If your cat’s water is dirty or constantly runs out, you run the risk of the cat becoming dehydrated, which is something nobody wants to have happen. It is also good practice to clean the water dish every so often to avoid bacteria build up on the bowl.
- Play, play, play! This should be a no brainer- cats love to play! If your cat doesn’t like being played with, at the very least it is good to spent time petting the cat and making sure they get all the tender love and care they deserve. After all, cats have emotions similar to how humans have emotions. Spend some time loving them!
- Make sure they see a vet regularly. If you notice your cat acting strange or maybe he just isn’t the same as he used to be, it’s wise to take him to a vet so he can be properly treated. It’s also good practice to make regular checkup appointments with the veterinarian and get all proper shots your ginger cat needs, so his health can stay in tip top shape for his whole life.
Today, you learned a lot about ginger cats including their different coat patterns, why they are orange, different breeds, and some fun facts. We hope you learned a lot from this article, as orange cats truly are some of the best cats to have. You can be sure to find the perfect cat for you, there’s one out there for everyone!