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Do Calico Cats Shed? Read Before Adopting

Did you see a calico cat and fall in love with it? I can’t blame you, they’re beautiful kitties, and they’re not that common. If you’re interested in adopting one of these beauties but are worried about them shedding too much hair, I will tell you everything you need to know so you’ll be well prepared. Do Calico cats shed a lot? Let’s find out!

What is a calico cat?

Contrary to what many people think when they hear about a calico cat, this category doesn’t refer to a breed of cat but to a pattern of coat colors, also called tricolor, and in some countries, also known as tortoiseshell with white, which is not the same as the classic tortoiseshell or tortie (black, red and brown, but never white). The calico coat has three colors, usually white, red, and black, but can also be white, blue, and cream. This sweet combination is known as dilute calico.

Many breeds of cats can present this pattern, as it is not exclusive to any of them, although it is a color pattern that is almost unique to females, and if seen in a male cat, this kitty would be sterile. To understand how a cat gets this color pattern, it is necessary to talk about biology. As you know, there are XX (female) and XY (male) chromosomes, and it turns out that the X chromosome, among many things, carries the gene for black and red coat color.

do calico cats shed - what is a calico cat

For the calico pattern to occur, one X chromosome must carry the black gene, while the other X chromosome must carry the red gene, which is why it is said that almost all calico cats are female since two XX chromosomes are needed. A male cat has only one X chromosome, so his coat will be black or red but not mixed. A calico cat is only male when it has a genetic anomaly called XXY Syndrome. Unfortunately, besides causing the cat to be sterile, it also represents other health problems for them.

Do calico cats shed a lot?

In short, all cats in the world shed hair since shedding is necessary to renew their coat and always be healthy and robust, ready to protect their skin from the weather and bacteria. Specifically, if a calico cat sheds a lot or a little hair, it will be necessary to know what breed it is because let’s remember that the calico is not a breed, only a color pattern.

Just as certain breeds of cats can only be a particular color, for example, a Havana Brown, there are certain breeds of cats in which it is much more common to find the calico pattern: American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Japanese Bobtail, Exotic Shorthair, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Scottish Fold, Turkish Angora, and Turkish Van.

If you want to adopt a calico kitten and don’t want it to shed a lot of hair, your best choices are a Devon Rex, an American Shorthair, a Japanese Bobtail, a Cornish Rex, and a Ragdoll.

What causes a cat to shed excessively?

Although all cats, regardless of breed, shed hair, certain breeds shed more than others, such as a Maine Coon, but sometimes even these kitties shed excess hair, flooding your home with fur. If your cat is shedding large amounts of hair and this is not normal for him, these could be the reasons.

  • Shedding season: spring and autumn are the two seasons when cats shed their fur. In spring, they shed their fur to have a light coat for the summer heat; in autumn, they shed their fur to renew their coat to be ready for the winter cold.
  • Poor diet: Cats are obligate carnivores. Their diet must consist solely of meat or animal protein, so when the diet doesn’t meet this requirement, it is common to see cats with health problems that result in a weak, dull, and quickly shedding coat.
  • Constant stress: when a cat is stressed or in constant fear, it is widespread to see it develop obsessive behaviors such as excessive grooming, which causes the cat to lose large amounts of hair, even leaving bald patches.
  • Heaters: Cats that live in temperature-controlled houses tend to shed a lot of hair if the temperature is kept high most of the time. Just as in the spring, the cat’s body will constantly prepare for the warm weather and shed hair to help it stay cool.
do calico cats shed - causes and tips

How to care for a calico cat’s coat?

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your cat maintain a healthy, strong, and beautiful coat and, of course, to keep him from shedding so much hair.

  • Brushing at least once a week
  • Balanced diet 
  • Don’t bathe them often, only once every two months
  • Use only shampoo specific for cats 
  • Nutritional supplements to strengthen and give shine to the coat

Do Calico cats shed? Wrapping it up

Calico cats are not a breed of cat. The term refers to a tricolor category in the coat pattern, which integrates white, red, and black. Calico cats are beautiful and rare, which makes them even more special. If you want to adopt one, research their breed to determine if they shed a lot or a little.

Fun fact: Do you know who the world’s most famous calico cat is? Maneki Neko! The lovely Japanese figurine cat that is believed to bring good luck is none other than a calico Japanese Bobtail kitten.

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