Where does the orange in an orange cat come from?

Laura CahillLaura Cahill MissoulaMember Posts: 267
edited 21 October, 2007 in Choosing the Right Cat
Hah. I have always loved orange cats and am in the process of thinking of adopting one into my family. You can meet Finn here: www.dogster.com/dogs/245152 I went through all the breeds that Catster lists and got to wondering where orange kitties come from...anyone know? Note: I am not locked into orange...any fuzzy friend will do..I just like orange.


  • Leanne FroebelLeanne Froebel Member Posts: 1,730
    edited 18 October, 2007
    Many purebred and mixed breed cats come in orange. I believe the orange color is carried on the X chromosome which means male cats need only 1 orange gene and females need 2 orange genes (one for each X chromosome) to display the orange color. Tortis and calico happen when a female cat carries the orange gene and the gene for the other color. This is why orange cats are more often male, and tortis and calicos are almost always female. Male tortis and calicos are very rare and may have chromosome abnormalaties. Best wishes on your search for a kitty. Are you interested in a specific breed? If so, the CFA (Cat Fancier\'s Association) has a great website. http://www.cfainc.org/index.html You can find out more about specific breeds and find out if they come in orange on the breed profiles and breed standards. Of course if having a purebred is not essential, there are many very nice cats and kittens waiting to be adopted into loving homes at shelters everywhere.
  • Laura CahillLaura Cahill MissoulaMember Posts: 267
    edited 19 October, 2007
    What a cute little devil you are! I will just go to my local humane society to find a friend. I think I want a female and I love the look of orange cats, tortis, and grey cats, but I will just have to see who picks me. Ha I should get a Torti, cuz my sister has a beuatiful (and sweet) diluted torti, then we would have a match set! Ha! Thanks for the info Linus!
  • alyssa elkinsalyssa elkins east brunswickMember Posts: 169
    edited 21 October, 2007
    Okay.... :) Orange, called red in the cat world, results from a mutation to the pigment-producing gene that produces eumelanin {black pigment} that stops it from working. Cats with the original ancestral wild pattern {brown tabby} produce phaeomelanin {red pigment} and eumelanin {black pigment} together to produce the tabby pattern. When the orange {red} gene is inherited, it blocks production of eumelanin causing only the red pigment to be produced, which results in a red {orange, ginger, marmalade, whatever you may call it} cat. The appearance of a red cat is unaffected by whether it is carrying tabby or solid--reds will always have tabby stripes. Red, like black, is carried on the X chromosome at the same locus as black/brown tabby{in which eumelanin is working}. This is why nearly all calicos, tortoiseshells, and patched tabbies {torbies} are female, and more red cats tend to be male than female.
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