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Old 17 June 2008, 05:56 PM
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Default Ginger cats and gender

While ginger cats are more likely to be male than female, the British cat magazine Cat World seems to have invented a new bit of cat folklore:

In June, they reproduced an article from their web forum (apparently by a reputable breeder) that asserted that ginger cats were more likely to be males (true), but that the presence of a white chest or feet increased the likelihood it could be a female (which is false - the white spotting gene isn't sex-linked and occurs equally on males and females whatever their colour).

I wonder how long it will take this old wives' tale (or maybe young wives' tale since I've nver come across it before) to do the rounds
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Old 17 June 2008, 06:33 PM
Suki
 
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I know this is not about ginger cats but... My mother told me when I was a child that Calico cats were usually female. I never read around to find out if that was true. But I will say the Calico cats I have met were all females.

The Ginger Tabbies I have met though have been male... even the ones with white paws and chest.
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Old 17 June 2008, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Suki View Post
I know this is not about ginger cats but... My mother told me when I was a child that Calico cats were usually female. I never read around to find out if that was true. But I will say the Calico cats I have met were all females.

The Ginger Tabbies I have met though have been male... even the ones with white paws and chest.
Ginger and tortie are both caused by the same gene 'O' that is carried on the X chromosome.

Females have 2 X chromosomes and can have either 1 or 2 O genes. If they get 1 copy they are tortie. If they get 2 copies they are ginger. (ignoring other things such as white or tabby markings).

Males have 1 X and 1 Y chromosome. If they get the O gene they are ginger. If they don't get the O gene they aren't ginger.

It is possible to get tortie males. The most like cause is a chimera (2 embryos, at least one of which was male and one was ginger, bumped into each other a fused so the end result is a kitten that's a hotch-potch of 2 embryos mixing ginger and another colour) - he's tortie and fertile! The next likely cause is Klinefelter syndrome whre the male gets an extra X chromosome (one has O and one doesn't) and is XXY - he's tortie but infertile. The third cause is localised mutation of skin cells to form a black patch on a ginger male cat. All of these are fairly uncommon. There is also an unusual breedline of Siberians that is producing fertile hereditary tortie males, maybe due to another mutation (being investigated).

More here and here and in brief here.
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Old 17 June 2008, 07:00 PM
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Hans Off Hans Off is offline
 
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Interesting, I have learned things! I had heard that all torties were chimeras...

My Former So's cats were both Ginger Tabby females with no white on them at all...
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  #5  
Old 17 June 2008, 07:03 PM
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Interesting, I have learned things! I had heard that all torties were chimeras...

My Former So's cats were both Ginger Tabby females with no white on them at all...
All torties are mosaics which is a different thing. Mosaic means a patchwork of different colours due to different expressions of genes in different cells (in females, one X is supressed in each cell). Chimera is a special type of mosaic where the different colours come from entirely different lines of genes (fused embryos). I guess there was some confusion with terminology.
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  #6  
Old 17 June 2008, 07:10 PM
TESS
 
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Hello Kitty

I have a male ginger named Cheeto. I've been told by several people, including his vet that ginger males tend to have very good personalities. He's the only one I've had so I can't really say but he's definitely been the funnest cat I've had. He's about 3 now and he still has a personality similar to his kitten personality. He's very playful and he even fetches things like a dog (I read Rotten by John Lydon recently and he mentions having a ginger male that fetched, as well). Has anyone else heard this concerning personality?
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Old 17 June 2008, 07:11 PM
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Apparently, male cats have to have a genetic defect (XXY) to ever be calico. It happens, but it's rare.

It's a fairly safe assumption that a calico cat is a female.
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Old 17 June 2008, 07:24 PM
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When I took my calico rabbit to the vet, she told me that calico cats are female, but she wasn't sure but suspected it may be the same for rabbits. My calico bunny is indeed a female. Pretty interesting. I've never heard about ginger cats though.
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Old 17 June 2008, 07:30 PM
sweetokiegirl sweetokiegirl is offline
 
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Bonsai Kitten

Quote:
Originally Posted by TESS View Post
I have a male ginger named Cheeto. I've been told by several people, including his vet that ginger males tend to have very good personalities. He's the only one I've had so I can't really say but he's definitely been the funnest cat I've had. He's about 3 now and he still has a personality similar to his kitten personality. He's very playful and he even fetches things like a dog (I read Rotten by John Lydon recently and he mentions having a ginger male that fetched, as well). Has anyone else heard this concerning personality?
Our male cat, Merrill, is also a male ginger (but with white) and he will play fetch. Problem is he will drop the toy a little to early and then expect you to throw it when you don't have it.
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Old 17 June 2008, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
Apparently, male cats have to have a genetic defect (XXY) to ever be calico. It happens, but it's rare.
As I explained in my post and the links, the XXY state is an outdated explanation. More recent research in the Netherlands shows chimerism to be more common than Klinefelter (XXY) in tortie males. XXY is the 2nd most common cause. A lot of sites - and cat magazines - aren't up-to-date on chimerism and tend to trot out the old XXY stuff as it is less effort than checking out recent research.
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  #11  
Old 17 June 2008, 08:02 PM
Sue Bee Sue Bee is offline
 
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Bonsai Kitten see> a nice ginger cat, he's even smiling

Every orange cat that I've ever had has been very personable, so another anecdote to add to the male gingers have good personalities theory.
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Old 17 June 2008, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TESS View Post
I have a male ginger named Cheeto.
So do I! Squee! Here is a picture of my Cheeto.

Cheeto is in some ways still very kittenish; he never lost his baby voice, for example. But while he was a lap cat and a cuddler as a kitten, he has gotten rather standoffish as an adult, and spends for more time than I'd like under my bed. He's still a cutie pie, though, and when he does want attention, he's very sweet.
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Old 17 June 2008, 08:48 PM
Sooeygun Sooeygun is offline
 
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I had also read somewhere that calicos tend to have high voices. Mine certainly has a high squeaky voice.

Anyone know anything about this?
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Old 17 June 2008, 08:54 PM
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Here's my ginger kitty. An American long hair male who lived to about 18 years. He was a sweety pie. He's been gone a good long time now but we still miss him.

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  #15  
Old 17 June 2008, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue Bee View Post
Every orange cat that I've ever had has been very personable, so another anecdote to add to the male gingers have good personalities theory.
That's been mentioned for quite a while, i think as far back as 1872 (I wrote an article on it as well).

Torties are reputed to be a bit unpredictable and though it's not a hard and fast rule, there is some basis in genetics. Their brains are mosaiced the same way as their bodies and researchers believe this results in the "naughty tortie" temperament.
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Old 17 June 2008, 09:23 PM
Sue Bee Sue Bee is offline
 
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I was looking for the a cite online, and could not find anything, but on a PBS show about theories on how dogs were domesticated, there was a bit on Russian breeders of foxes for the fur industry. They started to breed for temperment, and very soon, just a few generations, the foxes were black, many with blue-ish eyes, and the theory was that the color gene was close to the temperment gene, but then you would know, and more importantly, understand, those things far better than the general population. There was some horse thing that I can't quite remember... concerning piebalds (black and white pintos to us USA-ans) being crazy.

So, I guess that it is certainly plausible that an animals color could be linked to temperment.
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Old 17 June 2008, 09:51 PM
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Sylvanz Sylvanz is offline
 
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I'm going to search Wiki but I need to ask Llewtrah if torties and calicoes are the same. I think torties are black with brown patches and calicoes are white black and ginger, at least that's what I've always thought. We have what I call a tortie, female, long hair, and spacey, a long hair male white with gray striped patches, a very haughty fellow. We also have a gray male, a slob, who has difficulty connecting with the litter box, he'd much rather go anywhere else. He is not my favorite.

P&LL, Syl
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Old 17 June 2008, 11:16 PM
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My oldest three are all in a "ginger" line--the oldest is a red-lynx point siamese mix, the next a red tabby w/small white spots on chest and tummy, and the brindled tortie. (my youngest is a brown tabby, no white). The oldest is the love bug, the next is in your lap when he feels like, and the tortie does what she wants to do, and it usually doesn't involve people.

My vet did tell me that gingers were more susceptible to diabetes. Must exercise Google-Fu. . .
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  #19  
Old 18 June 2008, 02:51 AM
moonfall moonfall is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylvanz View Post
I'm going to search Wiki but I need to ask Llewtrah if torties and calicoes are the same. I think torties are black with brown patches and calicoes are white black and ginger, at least that's what I've always thought. We have what I call a tortie, female, long hair, and spacey, a long hair male white with gray striped patches, a very haughty fellow. We also have a gray male, a slob, who has difficulty connecting with the litter box, he'd much rather go anywhere else. He is not my favorite.

P&LL, Syl
I believe that calico is simply tortoiseshell with white.

As for the "naughty tortie" issue, there's a tortie cat named Molly at the Humane Society who loves to try to sneak out the back door. This isn't good, because the back room is where they isolate animals who are sick/potentially sick. Another one, a longhaired tortie, has a thing for playing rough and biting.
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  #20  
Old 18 June 2008, 03:24 AM
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As another anecdote, my mom's tortie is rather crazy. A little scaredy-cat, too, so you wouldn't think it unless you live there.

That's interesting about the male ginger cats. We had a long-haired barn cat that was a ginger, and he was MEAN. He wandered onto the farm when he was little, though, so it could've been nurture rather than nature.
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