What is a Calico Maine Coon cat? Well, if you’ve ever seen one then you automatically know that it is easy to fall in love with the gorgeous coat of a calico Maine Coon. Many people hope to adopt a cat with this elegant and attractive coloration. If you are as enamored with this gorgeous Maine Coon pattern as I am, you’re probably just as curious as I was to learn more.
While Maine Coons come in a variety of patterns, including tortoiseshell, solid, and tabby, calico Maine Coons are one of the most sought after. The base color of a calico Maine Coon’s coat is white, with distinctive patches of red and black, although the intensity of these reds and blacks can vary depending on the breeding.
In this article, we will look in-depth at calico Maine Coons, including the genetics behind this pattern. We’ll also discuss some fun facts about calico Maine Coons including temperament and rarity, and we’ll also cover some of the superstition behind these cats.
What Is A Calico Maine Coon Cat?
The term “calico” originally referred to a kind of textile that involved woven fabrics of different colors, and the word eventually evolved to encapsulate this distinctive coat coloration, as well. A Maine Coon cat has to have three distinct fur colors to be considered a calico: White, red, and black. While all Maine Coon calicos have the same three colors, the pattern in which these colors appear is unique to every calico cat.
The Calico Maine Coon Pattern
According to the Cat Fanciers Association, eight distinctive Maine Coon calico patterns can be displayed at cat shows.
Table to show the 8 Maine Coon Calico Patterns:
|3||Dense Shell Calico|
|4||Dilute Shell Calico|
|5||Dense Shaded Calico|
|6||Dilute Shaded Calico|
|7||Dense Smoke Calico|
|8||Dilute Smoke Calico|
For more information about each calico Maine Coon pattern, see descriptions below:
1. Dense Calico
This is the most common calico pattern in Maine Coon cats. The coloration ranges from 25% to 75% white, and 25% to 75% red and black.
In this pattern, dense patches of red and black are patched with white. The white is usually located on the belly, legs, and front of the cat. In every pattern, the red and black patches are completely solid, with no overlap between colors. This is also referred to as being unbridled.
2. Dilute Calico
The Maine Coon dilute calico is similar to the dense calico, except the red and black are diluted. Dilute colors are paler in appearance. Diluted forms of red are referred to as cream, and diluted forms of black are called blue, although they are gray in appearance.
3. Dense Shell Calico
The dense shell calico Maine Coon has a white base and patches of black, as well as patches of red in multiple different shades. On the back, sides, tail, face, and legs of a dense shell calico, the tip of each hair is black or a shade of red.
4. Dilute Shell Calico
The Maine Coon dilute shell calico is exactly like a dense shell calico, except their black coloring is diluted to blue, and the shades of red become shades of cream.
5. Dense Shaded Calico
Maine Coon cats with a dense shaded calico pattern have a base coat color of white as well as black and red unbridled patches. Unlike the standard dense calico, the dense shaded calico also has a shading of black and red which is present on the tail, sides, and face of the cat. Overall, dense shaded calicos appear darker than standard and shell calicos.
6. Dilute Shaded Calico
The Maine Coon dilute shaded calico is similar in appearance to the dense shaded calico except the red is diluted to a shade of cream and the black is diluted to a shade of blue. Even if it is diluted, a shaded calico should still be darker in appearance than diluted standard or shell calicos.
7. Dense Smoke Calico
A Maine Coon with a dense smoke calico pattern might look like a dense calico at first, but the unbridled patches of red and black have a white undercoat.
8. Dilute Smoke Calico
This coloration is similar to a dense smoke calico except the shades of red are diluted to cream and the black is diluted to blue.
The calico patterns listed above are varying types of Maine Coon calico. All the patterns listed are welcome to compete in any Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) cat show. However, the CFA does not permit calicos with genetic anomalies.
As we will discuss later, this rules out male calicos, as male calicos can only exist through a rare genetic anomaly.
The Genetics Of A Calico Maine Coon
The coat of a calico Maine Coon contains the following three colors:
WHITE: The color white is caused by a lack of pigment, and a cat’s coat can only contain as much white as at least one of its parents.
BLACK: The color black is caused by a pigment known as eumelanin and can be inherited by either parent.
RED: The color red is caused by a pigment known as pheomelanin, and because it is sex-linked, a cat can only inherit this pigment from its parent of the same sex.
In all cats, the color black can be inherited by either of a cat’s parents. The color red, however, is sex-linked.
Female cats have two X chromosomes, while a male cat has an X chromosome and a Y chromosome. The X chromosome is the only chromosome that affects a cat’s fur coloration. As a result, for a calico cat to exist, it will have to receive the sex-linked red coloration as well as black coloration.
Furthermore, for a cat to be calico, it will also need to have white on its body. Because calico cats are 25% to 75% white, one parent’s coat must be at least 25% white.
c) Breeding Difficulties
It is difficult for Maine Coon breeders to breed calico patterns cats. This is because, to exist, the parents must have a combination of black, red, and white. Even if the right conditions do exist, it is not guaranteed that their offspring will inherit all three colors.
Why Are Most Calico Maine Coon Cats Female?
Because a male cat can only receive one X chromosome, and each X chromosome can only contain one pigmentation allele, male calicos can only occur through a genetic anomaly which gives them one extra X chromosome. As a result, the odds of a male calico existing are 2,999 to 1, making them extremely rare.
The Personality Of A Calico Maine Coon
Many people believe that calico Maine Coons have more attitude and personality than other Maine Coons with different patterns and colorations. This superstition extends to all calico and tortoiseshell cats, and is often referred to as “tortitude“. Many cat owners will agree that calico and tortoiseshell cats are feistier and more willful. However, it is most likely that this “tortitude” is caused by nurture rather than nature.
For more information on the Maine Coon personality, click here to read my fact filled guide on this very subject!
Calico and tortoiseshell coats are undeniably beautiful, and as such, these cats tend to get adopted far more quickly than cats with other coat colors. Owners tend to fawn over their calico and tortoiseshell kittens, and these cats get their way more often, leading to a spunky and willful attitude.
Famous Calico Maine Coon Cats
One of the most famous calico Maine Coon cats is named Dawntreader Texas Calboy. This cat is famous because he is both a male, and a calico. Whilst these might not seem great reasons for Dawntreader having been made famous, these simple factors are actually more important than you might think.
For starters, the mere odds of a male calico Maine Coon even existing is a stunning 0.03%! Yes, you really did read that right. So, with odds as small as this, it’s safe to say that breeding a male calico Maine Coon cat is not as easy as you might first assume.
The second reason why Dawntreader is famous, is because he has a beautiful calico coat pattern. As described earlier, the calico pattern is the result of a genetic anomaly, therefore, he is not allowed to compete in CFA cat shows.
Another Maine Coon cat named Stewie has also been made famous, but for very different reasons to Dawntreader. In the case of Stewie, he won awards in the Guiness Book of Records for being the longest cat! If you are not sure what the average Maine Coon size is, versus other standard cat breeds, take a look at my article “Maine Coon Cats Dwarf The Normal Cat Size“.
Calico Maine Coon Mix
Purebred Maine Coons aren’t the only cats that can have the calico pattern. If your Maine Coon is a mixed breed, it can still be a calico cat! A calico cat isn’t inherently a Maine Coon, and vice versa.
Are Calico Maine Coons Rare?
Although the calico coloration is extremely popular among cat owners, it is difficult to breed, making it a rare coat pattern in Maine Coons. Because calico Maine Coons are so highly sought after, they are often snatched up quickly and tend to be more expensive than other coat patterns.
Do Calico Maine Coon Cats Bring You Luck?
Many cat colorations are swathed in myth and mystery. For example, black cats are thought to bring good luck in some cultures, whereas others believe they bring good luck. In some cultures and regions, calico cats are considered lucky, especially in Japan! The good luck cat, Maneki Neko, is nearly always depicted as a calico. In the United States, calico cats are also thought to be good luck, and they are sometimes referred to as “money cats.”
While there is little evidence to suggest that calico cats truly bring good luck, it’s a fun and harmless superstition. After all, most owners of a calico Maine Coon agree that their cat brings them nothing but joy!
Other Calico Cat Breeds
Maine Coons aren’t the only cats that can be calicos!
Here is a list of some other cat breeds that can also have calico coloration:
- British Shorthair
- Japanese Bobtail
- American Shorthair
- Exotic Shorthair
- Turkish Van
- Turkish Angora
- Arabian Mau
- Norwegian Forest Cat
Finding a calico Maine Coon cat may be difficult, but that gorgeous tricolor coat is well worth a search. Due to the complex genetics behind the tricolor coat, calico Maine Coons are rare, and they are highly sought after by many cat lovers. However, any owner of a calico Maine Coon will agree that these beautiful, spunky felines are wonderful to live with.