Today, we’re talking about calico Maine Coons. Have you heard about them? What makes them different, and why do people mention them so often?
These days my shifts in the pet shop have been a bit more relaxing than usual, so I could eavesdrop on some of the conversations of our customers. Don’t sue me, please, I kind of like to do that, because I learn more about cats and the needs of their owners as well.
Why do you think we got that adorable water fountain with palm trees on the top? How do you think my boss decided to get more toys for all of your animals and different sizes of litterboxes?
I admit – I’m your guardian angel! Or better said, your pet’s; but I need to get the information somehow. So, don’t blame me for listening to your conversations.
Anyways, I overheard two of our regular customers talking about calico Maine Coons as if they are unicorns in the cat world, and I got a new idea for my post. Well, I’d be lying if I told you they’re not very interesting.
Not only do they have Maine Coon characteristics, but they also have unique fur, which makes them stand out from the crowd. Of course, they have other specific features that make them unique but wait, we have to clear one thing up…
Is calico another cat breed?!
No, silly, calm down. Calico isn’t another cat breed. It’s actually just a name for a distinctive fur pattern of our felines. This term was originally used to describe a fabric that was made by interlacing threads of different colors, and well, this fur pattern adopted the same name.
The name actually comes from the Indian city of Calicut. Back in the 18th century, this city was the main exporter of this unbleached patchwork, usually made of cotton.
According to the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association), 19 cat breeds can have calico fur patterns, including the Maine Coon. And, what’s extremely interesting, the pattern is always different! You’ll never find two calico cats with the same pattern, not even if they’re twins.
In case you’re wondering about other breeds that can have calico fur patterns, those are American Bobtail, American Curl, American shorthair cat, American wirehair, British shorthair, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Exotic Persian, LaPerm, Manx, Norwegian Forest cat, Oriental cat, Persian, Scottish Fold, Selkirk Rex, Siberian, Sphynx, and Turkish Angora.
So, what does a calico fur pattern look like? Based on what I’ve just told you, these cats may be really colorful, right? Don’t picture something straight out of fairytales. There are no pink, purple or green cats. Well, despite the Bulgarian one who accidentally turned herself green (google it, it’s real!).
Anyways, back to the topic. Any cat breed, including Maine Coon, has to have three different fur colors to be considered a calico cat. But, beware – not random three colors. They have to have black, white, and red (orange) fur! Still, there’s a little catch…
What is the big deal with calico Maine Coon cats?
I assume that from the very first word of this article, you’re starving for more information about calico Maine Coon cats. So, what’s the big deal? Why are they so unique? Is it something about their personality, or is it just their fur?
Mister, watch your language! “Just fur” is not something you should say. Our queens wear that fur coat with pride, so don’t you disrespect that! And, yes, everything is about their fur!
What’s really interesting about calico cats is that they can inherit white and black fur colors from either parent, but when it comes to the third color, that’s where the fun starts! Red/orange (or ginger, if you will) can be inherited only from the same gender parent.
Okay, what do I mean by this? If mum is a calico cat, her daughter will get her red hair, but not her son. Fur coloration is a genetic trait that only the X chromosome brings (credits go to pheomelanin pigment as well).
Therefore, the possibility of having a calico male cat is almost equal to zero, but we’ll talk about that later.
White fur color actually means that there’s not enough color pigment, and kitties can have white fur as much as one of their parents has. When it comes to black fur, eumelanin is the pigment that helps your feline have those adorable dark spots on her back.
So, let’s check out what patterns the calico Maine Coon has!
What are the typical patterns of their fur?
Maine Coons are very well known because of their long and colorful fur. These gentle giants are one of the friendliest cat breeds there is – there’s no doubt about it. Besides this, they are extremely beautiful!
Coons have over 70 color patterns (yes, you’ve read that right!), but when it comes to the typical calico Maine Coon fur markings, there are only 8 of them. They vary based on the amount of particular color in their coats. Let’s check them out!
The dense calico pattern is actually the most common in calico Maine Coon cats. These felines have vibrant fur color with particular white parts. Their bellies, paws, and chests will most probably be completely white, while the rest of their bodies will be covered in red and black patches.
There’s no smudging between colors, so you’ll be able to clearly see all three that are important for a cat to be considered calico. This is the most common pattern for Maine Coons, and they are usually 25% white, while the rest is covered in black and red, or vice versa.
Dense Shell calico
Dense shell calico Maine Coon is mainly white with random patches of black and red fur. Those color stains may appear anywhere on her body, but in the majority of cases, their stomach is completely white.
So the tricolor pattern will be visible on their paws, heads, backs, and even tails. Also, all their hair shafts will be either black or red.
Dense Shaded calico
As we already know, three main colors are appearing and their tummy is predominantly white. If your Maine Coon is densely shaded calico, she’ll have mostly black spots on her back and feet, with a bit of red. But on her sides, she’ll have dominant black and red colors.
Her face and legs will also be darker. Because of this, she’ll appear darker than the dense shell calico feline.
Dense Smoke calico
Even though it looks like a dense calico, this pattern has a little secret that’s exposed every time your feline is moving. Yes, dense smoke calico Maine Coon has all three colors and, at first sight, can be confused with the most common pattern.
The trick is, these felines have their undercoat completely white. So, even underneath those black and red fur parts, you’ll be able to see it.
Imagine if you’re editing a photo of a calico Maine Coon in a photo editor. You open the saturation bar and you lower it. The black will gradually change into a blueish/grayish color and red/orange will become creme.
A Maine Coon that belongs to this group, or any other breed, means that they actually have dense calico features, just a bit lighter (or diluted) fur colors.
Dilute Shell calico
Dilute shell calico Maine Coon has the same pattern as dense shell calico, but there’s only one difference. I just told you that diluted black and red turn into grayish/blueish and creme respectively.
Well, that’s happening here. Instead of having dark patches on her back, legs, and head, dilute shell calico Maine Coon will have lighter stains.
Dilute Shaded calico
The same goes for dilute shaded calico Maine Coon as for any diluted version of this type. She’ll have grayish/blueish and creme patches and you’ll be able to easily differentiate her from the densely shaded calico.
Generally speaking, shaded calico is darker than regular calico, or shell calico. Therefore, diluted shaded calico Maine Coon will have colors that are darker than others and you should be able to tell the difference.
Dilute Smoke calico
Dilute smoke calico Maine Coon will appear as the one with the lightest fur. Because of her white undercoat and that blueish/grayish, and creme top coat, she’ll definitely shine differently.
Of course, she’ll have the same distribution of colors as dense smoke calico Maine Coon, just a couple of shades lighter. Cute, isn’t it?
The characteristics of a Calico Maine Coon cat
Of course, these angels have all the main characteristics of Maine Coon cats, you don’t have to worry about it. Funnily enough, some people believe the color of the cat’s fur determines its personality. Based on that, what would you expect a calico Maine Coon to be like?
There’s a common belief that these furbabies are feistier and want everything their way. Honestly, that is not completely out of the picture. It mainly depends on the way they’ve been raised and treated in the household.
They are amazing family pets, the same as “ordinary” Maine Coons, but they have that little extra that makes them unique! You have to be aware of one thing. Because calico Maine Coons are really rare to find, their price will be a bit higher than that of the typical Coon cat.
As I previously mentioned, they have all the personality traits of a regular Maine Coon. Therefore, these pawesome calico cats are extremely friendly and incredibly intelligent. They are easy to train and they will behave well in households where there are more pets or little kids.
Calico Maine Coons are also overly affectionate and they’ll enjoy all the attention you’re giving them. So make a lot of time in your schedule for cuddling sessions. I’m sure both of you will enjoy it equally.
These felines are very playful, so don’t underestimate the power of playtime either. Since they are dogs in the cat world (they are commonly referred to as such), they are easy to train as well!
Also, calico Maine Coons will show their loyalty by simply bringing you a gift on a doorstep (a gift being something they previously hunted). Their curiosity will push them out of their comfort zones and they’ll eagerly explore the world around them.
Calico Maine coons are obligate carnivores, without a doubt. Because of their size, they require more food, so giving them small portions won’t do the trick. You have to feed them properly and avoid giving them multiple meals a day, since that may increase their chances of becoming obese.
Make sure that the food you serve to your feline has a lot of fiber, which will help reduce excessive shedding. Also, each meal has to be made of high-quality ingredients, since these active creatures need something to give them energy.
Keep in mind that your calico Maine Coon will enjoy anything – from dry cat cookies to wet food and human meals. Food with high levels of proteins is a must, so don’t hesitate to serve her chicken or turkey, for example. In case you’re in doubt, put your vet on speed dial and ask him.
When it comes to the main health issues, they are also the same as in Maine Coons. Therefore, stomatitis as a main oral health issue may occur, as well as periodontal disease. Hip dysplasia can affect calico Maine Coons, too.
Cardiovascular problems can appear, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy being the most common one. Spinal muscular atrophy is a genetic disease that complicates your feline’s movements. Unlike other diseases, it can be spotted as soon as they are 3-4 months old.
Depending on their diet, as previously stated, calico Maine Coons can have problems with obesity. For this reason, it’s really important that you make exercises a part of their daily routine. Polycystic kidney disease is also something that can affect your calico Maine Coon.
Treating these severe health issues as soon as you notice them is utterly important since the right medication and care can actually prevent the lethal outcome. Consult your vet for all the worries that you may have; don’t hesitate at all!
As you know by now, calico Maine Coons are extremely active furbabies. Because of that, you have to provide them with a lot of toys, either for their alone time or for those moments when you want to share some time with your feline.
Since they are as easily trained as any other Maine Coon, you can spend some time with your calico doing exactly that. Play fetch, or give her some feather toys; in fact, anything that will keep her occupied is a good choice. You can also use catnip in your favor and give her that cat high.
She’ll enjoy being rewarded after doing a specific trick that you’ve taught her. Also, give them some time outside because they need to satisfy their hunting instincts. I already warned you, so don’t be surprised if they leave you a gift afterward.
Grooming is, again, basically the same for calico Maine Coons as it is for regular ones. They have medium to long fur and they’ll definitely need your help to maintain it. So, brushing them every couple of days will help them with hairballs and ensure the proper sebum distribution.
That way, their fur will look shinier and healthier than if you don’t do it. These furbabies will need an occasional bath as well, especially if they are outdoor cats, so make sure that you always have cat shampoo for those moments.
Indeed, these magical creatures may not be lovers of constant pet care (even though most of them actually love it!), but if you start it early in their kittenhood, they’ll completely enjoy it.
Because of the amount of hair they lose, these kitties are not considered hypoallergenic, so if you have problems, pay attention to that.
Is it true that most calico Maine Coon cats are female?
For those who were expecting a different answer, I have to disappoint you. Yes, calico Maine Coon cats are almost always female. This “almost always” is being said simply because every 2999th feline of this type and breed is male. Strange, isn’t it?
The reason behind this is the X chromosome. We’ve already learned that it’s the main culprit for the cat’s pattern, therefore mostly female cats are going to have this pattern. In the case of that one male calico cat, a genetic abnormality happened.
This is called Klinefelter syndrome, which means that instead of having only XY chromosomes, they have one more X. For that reason, a male calico cat can actually obtain these three-colored patterns.
It would be more common for calico Maine Coon to be male if these aren’t almost always sterile (you know how we explained that only same-gender parents can transfer the red fur color?). Only one in 10,000 will be able to have babies.
One interesting fact is that CFA doesn’t let male calico cats compete in the official competitions simply because these felines have a genetic anomaly. They can be named the rarest Maine Coon, if you compare the possibility of male calico being born with Coons that have other fur patterns.
Unfortunately, this anomaly can greatly influence his health and shorten the male calico Maine Coon’s life span.
Do they bring luck?
You know how in some cultures, black cats are the bearers of bad luck, and in others, they’re considered treasure? I’ll share something interesting with you. In some countries (Japan being the first on the list), calico cats, whether they’re Maine Coon or not, are believed to bring prosperity.
The typical “good luck cat” in Japan, Maneki Neko, is often described as a calico. You know, the one that waves with her paw, with a red collar around her neck and a big golden bell attached to it. She’s displayed everywhere you go – from restaurants to shops. Oh, and it also has a coin in her second paw.
In America, some people believe that it brings wealth to the household they are part of, referring to them as “money cats”.
Whether these superstitious beliefs are true or not, it’s always good to learn something new about different cultures, right? And honestly, owning a pet has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and help with depression, so I’d say they already bring a lot of prosperity to their owners’ lives.
In the end, I have to state the obvious. Whichever calico Maine Coon cat you choose to love and take care of, you won’t regret it. You’ll definitely have a unique feline in your home. Not only she’s one of those gentle giants, but her fur is on point!
Having those three colors all over her body is apparently a big deal since they are considered lucky cats in many cultures. I don’t doubt that yours will be a ball of pure happiness as well! In case you decide to get one, make sure you find the right breeder.
It’s complicated to breed them because even if both parents are calico cats, it doesn’t automatically mean that their kittens are going to have this three-colored fur pattern. Also, the majority of calico cats are female, which makes the whole process extra difficult.
So, if you get a chance to adopt or buy calico Maine Coon, don’t hesitate. Who knows how much luck will the cat bring to your house if you were fortunate enough to find it!