Why Tricolor Cats Are Females

Certainly you’ve heard that three-color cats are always females. That’s true? Are they always females?

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In this Animal Breast article we explain to you why this happens with all the details so that you can find out if it is a characteristic of the females or, on the contrary, the males can also have the hair of three colors.

Keep reading to find out the answer to the question: why tricolor cats are females and see if it really does not happen in male felines.

It may also interest you: Names for female cats

Tricolor cats

The tricolor cats , also known as carey, are characterized by having a peculiar pattern of coloration on the coat. His fur has shades of orange, black and white. The proportions of each color are variable.

In cats there are three basic colors, black, orange and white. The rest of the colors being the result of gradients and mixtures of the previous ones.

The animal’s genes are responsible for pleo patterns of hair, striped, flat or blemishes, as well as the color and color combination in the hair.

What determines hair color?

Hair color in cats is a sex-related trait . This means that information for hair color is found on the sex chromosomes.

The chromosomes are structures that are found in the nucleus of the cells and contain all the genes of the animal. Cats have 38 chromosomes: 19 from the mothers and 19 from the father. The sexual are those chromosomes that determine sex and each is provided by a parent.

Cats, like all mammals, have two sex chromosomes : X and Y. The mother gives the X chromosome and the parent can give the X or Y.

  • XX: Female
  • XY: Macho

The black and orange colors are on the X chromosome. That is, the X chromosome must be present for expression. The male only has an X, so it will only be black or orange. Females possessing two X may have genes for black and orange.

On the other hand, the color white is not logged to the sex of the animal. It is presented independently of the genre. For this reason a cat can present the three colors. Because they have two x chromosomes and white also appeared.


Depending on the chromosome endowment the individual receives, one or another color will appear. Black and orange are encoded on the same chromosome, if the allele X0 is present the cat will be orange if the Xo will be black. It is case X0Xo, when one of the genes is inactive, responsible for the tricolor aspect.

Females can inherit three combinations:

  • X0X0: orange cat
  • X0Xo: Ready tricolor
  • XoXo: black cat

Males only have two:

White is determined by the W ( white ) gene and is expressed independently. So you can make combinations with the other colors. There are black and white cat, orange and white and only white.

Types of tricolored cats

Within the tricolor cats there are several types. only differ in the proportion of white or the type of pattern of the hair:

  • Cat calico or Spanish cats : In these cats predominate the white color in the abdomen, paws, chest and chin. They have black and orange spots on the skin. Black is usually greyish. In the image we observe a cat of this type.
  • Hawksbill or Turtle : The colors are mixed asymmetrically. White is scarce. The colors are usually diluted in lighter shades. Black predominates.
  • Tiger tricolor cat : It is a division between the previous ones. The pattern is brindle with three colors.

Are there tricolor male cats?

Yes. The tricolor cats do exist , although it is very rare to see them. It is due to a chromosomal anomaly. These cats instead of having two sex chromosomes (XY) have three (XXY). Because they have two X chromosomes they may present black and orange as females.

It is known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome and usually causes sterility. It is an infrequent disease that overturns the myth that all tricolor cats are females. But because it is an anomaly we can say that in normal situations all the tricolor cats are usually females.

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Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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