Not everyone knows what kind of cats can be proudly categorized as calicoes. What colors should they actually have? In what ratio? Do all breeds produce calicoes? Some basic facts can be a good introduction to a difficult process of choosing a name and make you a more informed pet owner.

What are calico cats? 

Calico cats are cats of any breed that are white in 25-75%, with black (or gray) and orange (or cream) areas. Patches of color can vary in tone and intensity. It is also possible for calico cats to have other colors, but they always have three color variants. Due to genetics, these exceptional felines are almost always female. In rare cases, one in three thousand calico or tortoiseshell cats are male, according to a study at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. By and large, chromosome abnormality causes them to be sterile and unhealthy. Even if they happen to be fertile, cat registries don’t agree to accept them as show animals.

What breeds can be calico cats?

If you are a feline stickler and aficionado or take part in cat shows, you might want to know which breeds are listed to formally allow calico coloration. How thrilling would it be to purchase the cat that is both purebred and calico? Let’s dig into the list of breeds:

Types of calico cats – what is the difference between calicoes and tortoiseshell cats?

Diverse, wild and bewildering nature amazes us and rarely makes things easy for scientists. Classifications and nomenclature may vary depending on the source. It also holds true when discussing calico cats. We can lump all calicoes together or narrow their types down:

  • calico: those kittens have white patches combined with two other colors; other names for calico cats include: brindletricolor catmikeneko (‘triple fur cat’ in Japanese), or lapjeskat (‘patches cat’ in Dutch);
  • tortoiseshell: this type can be treated as a subcategory or a separate type – the cat’s coat is speckled with orange and black or gray and cream with little or no white;
  • dilute: calico cats with soft shades of gray or orange on; also called calimanco or clouded tiger;
  • calico tabby: it happens that a tricolor cat can also be adorned with a tabby patterning; this type of calico cat is referred to as a caliby or a torbie.

This breakdown of calico felines itself can give you a few ideas for your one and only tricolor friend. Mikeneko, for example, could be a unique calico cat name. If you struggle to pronounce its full name, don’t hesitate to create your own diminutive form, such as Mi. Remember, sky is the limit when it comes to picking the unique name for your calico kitten.

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Calico cats genetics

Calico cats are gorgeous on the outside and mesmerizing on the inside. It’s due to their genetic makeup. What biological code is your tricolor made of? X chromosomes carry the information about the fur color. Male cats have just one X chromosome, which means they are usually black or orange, sometimes with white as a base. Females, on the other hand, have two X chromosomes, which can result in a tricolor cat if her parents carried the genes for black and orange coloring. Simple, right? In reality, extremely complex. Scientists have even failed to clone calico cats because of a process called x-linked inactivation.

Calico cat symbolism

Unique and beautiful creatures excite admiration in people. Calico cats have therefore been treated as a symbol of luck in various cultures:

  • Japanese sailors used to treat calicoes as lucky charms that were supposed to protect them against adversity at sea;
  • Glückskatze means a lucky cat in German, and that’s what tricolor cats are called there;
  • in the United States, people sometimes refer to calicoes as money cats; maybe they aid people in fulfilling the American dream;
  • the maneki-neko figurines made in Japan are considered to bring good luck; they depict calico Bobtail cats.

If you are an owner of a uniquely beautiful calico cat, you might expect good things in life. Owning a tricolor kitty might already be the first such thing!

Calico cat names – find the best moniker for your unique lucky cat

Because male calico cats are so rare, we will skip the usual division into genders. Many names based on patterns, food or nature can be used both for male and female cats. Even if you are fortunate enough to get hold of a rare calico boy, you will find something for yourself. How to choose a perfect name for your furry family member? Pay attention to small details of your cat’s fur, built, behavior and personality. Follow your gut and later train your animal to react to the chosen name.

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Popular calico cat names

First, let’s have a look at some of the most popular cat names. They are popular for a reason. These names are adorable and most people love them. Maybe you will settle for one of them:

  1. Addie
  2. Amber
  3. Bell
  4. Bolt
  5. Bongo
  6. Buttercup
  7. Calypso
  8. Cheeto
  9. Chestnut
  10. Chimera 
  11. Copper
  12. Cornelius 
  13. Clementine
  14. Edison
  15. Eliza
  16. Emmy
  17. Fancy
  18. Fuzz
  19. Garfield
  20. Ginger
  21. Hermione
  22. Hobbes
  23. Honeybee
  24. Julius
  25. Jynx
  26. Kiki
  27. Maizie
  28. Marble
  29. Marmalade
  30. Melody
  31. Neapolitan
  32. Ollie
  33. Paprika
  34. Picasso
  35. Pumpkin
  36. Ribbons
  37. Rye
  38. Sergei
  39. Simba
  40. Skippy
  41. Stacey
  42. Stanley
  43. Sweetpea
  44. Taco
  45. Tesla
  46. Thaddeus
  47. Trixie
  48. Twinkie
  49. Vivienne
  50. Zooey

Unique calico cat names

This list is slightly more unusual, you will find here less popular and weird or foreign-sounding names. If you think that your kitty stands out from the crowd, consider one of these monikers:

  1. Arietty
  2. Aslan
  3. Bellatrix
  4. Benvolio
  5. Beulah
  6. Celeste
  7. Darcy
  8. Ellery
  9. Esme
  10. Greta
  11. Harlow
  12. Hamilton
  13. Hullie
  14. Inky
  15. Jet
  16. Katniss
  17. Klaus
  18. Leela
  19. Little Bit
  20. Lolly
  21. Lorelei
  22. Luca
  23. Lynx
  24. Mable
  25. Mack
  26. Mara
  27. Maryella
  28. Mew
  29. Moxie
  30. Mushu
  31. Odette
  32. O’Malley
  33. Opal
  34. Ozzie
  35. Pooka
  36. Quinnie
  37. Rue
  38. Sheena
  39. Shelby
  40. Shiva
  41. Sierra
  42. Sky
  43. Tallulah
  44. Tink
  45. Vada
  46. Waverly
  47. Wilbur
  48. Yoshi
  49. Zelda
  50. Zélie

Cute calico cat names

Cuteness is a subjective quality, but some things always reflect it. Charming kitty names may be based on other animals, onomatopoeic expressions, sounds and food, among others:

  1. Bear
  2. Bella
  3. Birdie
  4. Bitty
  5. Boo
  6. Bunny
  7. Dumpling
  8. Fawn
  9. Kiki
  10. Meow
  11. Mittens
  12. Mimi
  13. Momo
  14. Peewee
  15. Polly
  16. Poppet
  17. Squeaks
  18. Tinkerbell
  19. Turtle
  20. Whiskers

Names for calico cats based on food 

Either fruits, vegetables and other edible produce or dishes we prepare can actually resemble calico cats in colors or shape. You can also think about your cat’s culinary choices when picking the perfect name. Your cat might know best:

  1. Apricot
  2. Biscuit
  3. Blackberry
  4. Brownie
  5. Butter
  6. Carrot
  7. Cauliflower
  8. Coconut
  9. Coffee
  10. Cupcake
  11. Dorito
  12. Honey
  13. Toast
  14. Lollipop
  15. Maple
  16. Marshmallow
  17. Milk
  18. Mustard
  19. Pepper
  20. Salmon

Names for calico cats based on nature

We have selected elements of nature that are calico colors – black, orange and white. Look closer when you go for a walk next time:

  1. Beetle
  2. Charcoal
  3. Comet
  4. Crow
  5. Dahlia
  6. Daisy
  7. Diamond
  8. Flame
  9. Flamigo
  10. Fox
  11. Koi
  12. Moonflower
  13. Obsidian
  14. Raven
  15. Saffron
  16. Sandy
  17. Seagull
  18. Seal
  19. Squirrel
  20. Swan
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Names for calico cats based on patterns

Because calico cats are so unique, you may be surprised what patterns you will find on their fur. Do a little research and look for various shape combinations, as they can be what you base your cat’s name on:

  1. Bengal
  2. Checky
  3. Circles
  4. Confetti
  5. Coral
  6. Doodle
  7. Dottie
  8. Flora
  9. Glitter
  10. Honeycomb
  11. Jumbo
  12. Mandala
  13. Moire
  14. Oggie
  15. Patches
  16. Starburst
  17. Trellis
  18. Wave
  19. Wreath
  20. Zebra

Names for calico cats based on popular culture

Films, literature, games and alike have hundreds of names to choose from. You can look for a character that bears resemblance to your kitty in any way – personality or appearance:

  1. Ezri (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  2. Felicia (The Great Mouse Detective)
  3. Goose (Captain Marvel)
  4. Haru (The Cat Returns)
  5. Katniss (The Hunger Games)
  6. Kitty Pryde (X-Men)
  7. Leela (Futurama)
  8. Lyta (Babylon 5)
  9. Marie (The Aristocats)
  10. Melisandre (Game of Thrones)
  11. Mochi (Big Hero 6)
  12. Pepita (Coco)
  13. Pom-Pom (Cinderella II: Dreams Come True)
  14. Sassy (Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey)
  15. Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica)
  16. Teyla (Stargate Atlantis)
  17. Ubasti (Treasure Buddies)
  18. Uhura (Star Trek)
  19. Whispers (Doc McStuffins)
  20. Zyla (World of Warcraft)

No matter what name you decide to choose, remember that cats are as intelligent and trainable as dogs. Using the clicker training, you can teach your pet to react to even the weirdest names you choose. Remember that most cats are extremely food motivated. Use that fact to your advantage. Good luck and have fun. Don’t forget to share the name you’ve chosen on social media.


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