Why Male Calico and Tortie Cats Are So Rare

Recently we stumbled upon an article about an extremely rare male calico kitten up for adoption in Silicon Valley. Less than 0.1% of all calicos or torties are male. And, it’s likely this kitten, named Sherman, or any other male calico or tortie was born sterile.


http://patch.com/california/redwoodcity-woodside/unicorn-cat-makes-its-way-silicon-valley

‘Unicorn Cat’ Makes Its Way to Silicon Valley Animal Shelter

By Renee Schiavone (Patch Staff)

A very special kitten has found his way to a Silicon Valley animal shelter, and now representatives are hoping someone will be willing to give him a forever home.

Sherman is a male calico cat. Which is apparently really rare.

Dr. Andrea Berger, who is a veterinarian at the Humane Society Silicon Valley, says the chances of a calico cat being born male is less than 0.1%.

“It’s like a unicorn! I’ve been involved with shelters for 20 years and I have never seen one,” Berger said.

The four-month-old kitten recently arrived with the HSSV, as a transfer from one of their sister shelters, which was full.

“We work with shelters in the area to help alleviate the strain on resources when shelters are too full and when there’s an animal who needs a little extra help getting adopted,” a spokeswoman told Patch.

Anyone interested in adopting Sherman can stop by the Sunnyvale Neighborhood Adoption Center, inside Petco at 160 East El Camino Real. The adoption fee is $175.

By the way, shelter representatives say the little fur ball is very personable and friendly– and he’s a sucker for people and wand toys.


We asked guest writer and over all “one smart cat” Newton to give us the science behind the rarity of male torties and calicos. Here you go!

Newton’s Perspective: Calico Genetics

My namesake, Sir Isaac Newton, was a renowned physicist and mathematician. Although some credit him with inventing the cat flap to protect his experiments from light exposure (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3156/did-isaac-newton-invent-the-cat-door), I doubt that he actually knew much about cats. That’s not surprising since we are WAY more complicated than physics! Recently my insatiable cat curiosity led me to a book about a male calico cat titled “Cats are not Peas” – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1358214.Cats_Are_Not_Peas. Well, that seems pretty obvious. I thought this was about genetics, not gardening. But what I read was far more complex than I imagined.

Have you ever met a male calico cat? If you said no I am not surprised. Less than one percent of all calico cats are male. But before I go any further, let’s define calico. Calico is a color pattern. When I think “calico” I see a cat that is predominantly white with patches of orange and black. However, this is only one variation. The key is having both orange (or beige) and black (or grey) colors.

The genetic code for black and orange colors is located on the X chromosome. Females have two X’s (XX), while males have an X and a Y (XY). If a female kitten gets both an orange and a black X then she will be calico XoXb. A male kitten from the same litter would get either an orange or a black X with the following results.

The only way for a male to have both orange and black colors is through a genetic mishap that gives him three chromosomes XoXb Y instead of two XoY or Xb Y. This is called Klinefelter Syndrome in humans and generally results in feminization and sterility.

So now you know why male calico cats are so rare. But I’m sure you’ll agree, all cats are special, no matter what color they might be.

102 year old lady proves you’re never too old to adopt a cat

102-year-old Iona L. and 2-year-old Edward at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/102-year-old-woman-adopts-cat_n_6524804.html – This Photo Captures The Tender Moment A 102-Year-Old Woman Fell In Love With A Shelter Cat

Do you ever feel like you are too old to do something? Often that’s so not the case especially in matters of love! Here you will read about a lady who’s 102 years on this planet and she’s fallen in love with a special cat – and it’s mutual. Neither are concerned with how long the other might be around – they just went for it and it’s beautiful. We love that old saying “it’s never too late.” This woman and her cat prove that it’s true. There’s nothing like the love of a furry friend to make one feel young, vital and needed.

How rare are female orange tabbies? Quite! Let’s meet one!

Dear Friends,

Thank you for another amazing year. Would you believe that in just a few months we will celebrate 22 years since Cat Faeries was created? It’s true!

During this past year we heard from hundreds upon hundreds of amazing people who told us about their amazing cats. Your kind words and stories mean the world to us – truly. So many of your messages to us moved us to tears, sometimes joyful tears, and sometimes very sad tears – but we welcome them all because feelings are beautiful and are to be cherished.

As we say good-bye to December which was Cat Faeries “white cat month” we also bid adieu to 2014. To welcome 2015 we proclaim January is Orange Cat Month!

Send us photos and stories about your orange cats, your marmalade cats, those creamsicle beauties to catfaeries@catfaeries.com – put the words Orange Cat in the subject line and we’ll start posting their orangey selves to Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and in our January newsletters.

This week we heard from Mary Jo who ordered a cat bed from us right before Christmas. She wanted us to see how stunning her orange tabby, Velveeta is resting in her Cat Faeries bed. That’s when we learned that Velveeta is a female tabby which is quite rare. We’ll tell you more about that after we tell you Velveeta’s story:

 

“Velveeta is eight years old. I adopted her from local no-kill shelter, Crash’s Landing, here in Grand Rapids, MI. They think she was about two years old when they found her in 2008. She was adopted once but returned after several months because she didn’t acquiesce to the diva cat already in residence. Crash’s Landing will take back any cat they adopt out – no questions asked.

She followed me all around the shelter when I went to visit Crash’s (third step in their adoption process) in April 2012. My adoption counselor said “She has never done that!”

In her bio it said that she needed to be the only cat and preferably the only pet – which was perfect for me! I had dogs my entire adult life, but now I’m no longer able to care for a dog. Needing a more independent pet I thought the right cat would be better for me. Was that ever the truth – and I found the most perfect cat in Velveeta! We made a pact the day I brought her home: now living with another diva, she’s the princess because I’m the queen.

In the almost three years since we have both worked very hard on our relationship, getting to know and accept (tolerate?) each other’s habits, likes and dislikes. She has learned I don’t like even play-biting, or gentle nipping, and I have learned that hair balls are part of the natural processes; sometimes I have to hunt them down, other times they’re presented, almost gift-like.

She has the sweetest most patient temperament. She’s very loving, more so as time goes on. I hope she knows she will live here forever. For now I believe she knows that she is safe and very loved.

I suspect she knows that her hair blends with the color of the inside plush fleece lining, and the outer color matches her gorgeous green eyes. Of course it’s all about her! And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks Cat Faeries!“

 

 

This is Velveeta in her new Cat Faeries bed.

This is Velveeta waiting for her new bed to arrive!

Here’s a great article about female orange cats written by a long time Cat Faeries friend: JaneA Kelly. JaneA is a very good writer so this piece is a lively mix of science and genetics, with a big pinch of humor, and some cute photos all of which are guaranteed to both educate and amuse you. And yes, that’s her name! Cool, isn’t it?

http://www.paws-and-effect.com/are-orange-female-cats-really-that-rare/

Thorn L. who is another favorite customer and friend of Cat Faeries volunteers at cat shelters wherever she goes, and she tells us: “I had an angel of a perfect orange tabby girl in my feral colony before I left Charlotte. When I took her to the vet, it was as if I’d brought some kind of princess or prophet in! Needless to say, she was adopted immediately.” Thorn is yet another cool name for a Cat Faeries human friend!

Happy New Year!

Happy Orange Cat Month!

Amanda, a special needs cat who shines brightly this holiday season.


“Our kitty Amanda enjoying her evening in front of the stove with her new Cat Faeries carrot. Thank you so much for the quality kitty toys!”

Shining brightly in the holiday spirit we are happy as flying reindeer to tell you about a very special cat named Amanda. Her adoptive humans have this to tell us:

“Amanda was found abandoned in a city near us and was rescued. She was brought to the Pat Brody Shelter for Cats in Lunenburg, MA where they discovered that she is a special needs kitty, although she doesn’t think so. Her back legs & feet didn’t fully develop before she was born. We read about her on their website and we knew we had to adopt her since we live in a small apartment with no stairs for her to worry about. Little did we know that she’d be able to navigate them just fine if we did! She can jump onto window sills and the kitty furniture in our home just like our other cats.”

“Amanda gets around just fine and she seems to think that’s she’s perfectly “normal.” She just motors around the house and can even run after her brothers and sisters if she wants to. Amanda and all our other cats are enjoying their new Cat Faeries catnip toys even as we speak! Amanda was playing with one of her new toys this morning when I got up.”

Amanda’s human mother, Moira works for a chiropractor and he adjusts her! “She is very good for her appointments and Dr. Jason makes sure her little spine is aligned and gives us advice on how to keep her healthy (massage and stretches) with her challenges.”

“Thank you Cat Faeries, we love that you want to highlight Amanda so that potential adopters will know that special needs cats love and appreciate their Forever Homes perhaps even more than normal cats.. Mandy sends you all her love and is SO happy to be featured in your newsletter!”

All our best,

Rob and Moira

Thank YOU Rob, Moira, and Amanda. It will be impossible to be Bah! Humbug!” this holiday season knowing that angels like you exist.

Read more about Pat Brody Shelter for Cats:
http://www.catsontheweb.org/

Perhaps YOUR veterinarian will want to learn animal chiropractic, here’s where they can train:
http://animalchiropractic.org/certification_information.htm

Our wish to our readers and customers is for a peaceful, delicious, happy, merry, bright, and as Amanda would say “Playful!” Christmas.

Love and Catnip,
Cat Faeries

A blind cat’s video story – meet Pinocchio

We love it when customers send photos of their cats playing with our toys. And we love hearing about cats who have special needs or situations.

In April we got this photo from Shawn of her cat Gomez playing with a Cat Faeries As-purr-agus Catnip Toy. Isn’t he cute?

Last week we heard from Shawn again who wanted to tell us about a video featuring two of her cats: Jiminy, and Pinocchio who is blind. Watching them in action, watching them grow up, and seeing how beautifully Pinocchio progresses without eyesight will delight your heart. Love and the vibe of a playful kitten could cure anything! Here’s what Shawn told us:

Aloha! Thank you for your message about the bunnies! Yes, Pinocchio (no eyes), and his “seeing eye” brother, Jiminy, have lots of fun with the toys (as do my 7 other kitties)!

Enjoy this short of video of Pinocchio and Jiminy’s story. They are both two now, and I have been blessed with them since they were kittens.

Shawn (full time rescue mommy and professional violinist)

We asked Shawn to tell us more about living with a blind cat and this is what she had to say:

He is adorable! He definitely has a very heightened sense of smell, which leads him to completely sniff us all over each time we come home. His hearing is absolutely amazing. He hears moths when we can’t even see them. He knows each of the other kitties’ smells and sounds, and he can tell who my husband and I are by our footsteps.

Pinocchio delights us and impresses us every day with his ability to navigate around things, up cat trees; he runs up our flight of stairs at full speed, sometimes forgetting to stop, so he climbs a few extras in the air!

He is very vocal, which is his way for feedback, whether it is to call for his little brother or to find out where mommy is. He is fearless. Most amazing is how he knows how to jump on our bed and off again-truly jumping blindly. He has figured out the distance of everything. He goes into our courtyard and knows his way around. His whiskers help him to not bang into things (except on occasion :)). He also found the kitty door on his own with NO encouragement and figured out how to go in and out by himself.

People may wonder about the litter box. He has NEVER had an accident. I showed him where the kitty box was ONCE and he hasn’t missed it ever. He “covers” but sometimes doesn’t cover all the way! He tries really hard though!

He was shown where the food and water was, and knows right where to go. I even have an extra bowl of water on my night stand for one of my kitties, and he knows how to get to that one. I never showed him.

He can hear the wings of a bird and know exactly where they are. He hasn’t caught a bird but he has caught moths, geckos, and katydids. He will listen intently to a moth and know exactly where it is even though we don’t know it is there. If he smells a gecko, he will be drawn to that area for hours.

Most of my kitties are “misfits”. The sadness I feel for him is unknown to him. He is so, so happy and well adjusted. I was scared at first, and still get anxious when I see him climb or run too fast. But, like people, he has adapted better than seeing kitties. He loves LOVES to snuggle up close. He teaches me something valuable every day about living even though he has a disability. Even as a feline, he has learned to use his other senses remarkably well. I feel pure love from this soul who has changed our world. :)

So friends, don’t let a disability stop you from loving a blind cat, a cat with 3 legs, or a cat who’s an elder. Cats are miracles that purr and meow! Feeling the love today, thank you Shawn!

Do you have a special or unusual cat that you want to tell us about for our newsletter? A video would be fun, but it’s certainly not necessary. Send a message to catfaeries@catfaeries.com and put My Special Cat in the subject line.

A Story in Pictures About Shelter Cats