Many of our housesitters and petsitters send us photos for our funny pet photo competitions. In addition we get all kinds of ginger cat descriptions and names from our pet owners when they post petsitting assignments. So it was no surprise when at Housesit Match we realised that a lot of the orange cats featured had male names. As a petsitting and housesitting website we see a lot of catsitting information being passed and published. So the question we ask and try to answer here is – are all orange cats male? We tested our ideas on a few of our cat owners and cat sitters. Read on to learn what we found out.
Is it true are all orange cats male?
You may have read one of our earlier blogs on why we love ginger cats. In that article we discuss the ginger or orange cat in history, the earliest artworks going back to the the time of the Egyptians. After all it is the Egyptian documentation of cats in all kinds of domestic scenes that shows us when cats were first domesticated. And in those earliest scenes orange or ginger cats are clearly depicted in domestic scenes. Though in these works of historical art it is harder to detect the sex of the cats.
Why are most orange felines male?
Regarding the gender of orange or ginger cats-
Ginger cats are more likely to be male than female, that’s a fact. Scientifically speaking, this is because the “ginger gene” which produces the orange or what is sometimes called their marmalade colour is found on the X chromosome.
Female cats have two X chromosomes and so need two copies of this gene to become ginger, whereas males need only one. This increases the likelihood or probability that a ginger cat will be male.
Types of orange cats
Ginger or orange fur is more likely to be found in certain cat breeds or varieties than others. It is worth noting that all orange cats can be tabbies, but not all tabbies are orange. The orange tabby colour is, however, commonly found in the following cat varieties:
- American Bobtail
- British Shorthair
- Maine Coon
- Egyptian Mau cats.
The personality of the ginger or orange cats
Outwardly most orange cats exhibit a strong personality, many are vocal and strident, strutting in a feline way. In short they exhibit strong masculine characteristics. There is a certain braggadocio swagger in their gait. In fact a National Geographic article makes the link, quoting an experienced veterinarian who believes that the colour of a cat affects their behaviour.
However, many female ginger or orange cats are quieter and less exhibitionist in their mannerisms. So when you arrive at a catsitting gig and you are the cat minder du jour, it helps if you have an inkling of the kind of personality you will be caring for.
Cat sitters need to know the personalities of their pet charges
You may think it a little excessive to spend time describing cat behaviour and cat psychology. However, if you have ever been a cat sitter and cared for a number of felines as a live in home and pet sitter you would know that it is important. Cat sitting is made more enjoyable when you know a little about the pets in your care other than their age. Understanding their personalities is fascinating.
There’s something in the way these felines look
Doubtless orange of ginger cats have rather more pronounced personality traits. It is what attracts pet owners to their cats. Some catowners only ever choose orange or ginger cats. They simply love the colours and richness of their fur coat.
To be clear orange cats (or ginger or marmalade cats) are not a breed. This simply describes the colour of their coat.
In addition, many people, even cat lovers, don’t know that “tabby” also refers to specific coat markings, not a breed (and regardless of color). The word itself is taken from a striped silk fabric made near Baghdad. Tabby cats are striped due to the agouti gene.
To complicate matters further, all orange cats are tabbies, but not all tabbies are orange.
Cat coat patterns and where the orange comes from
The four known distinct patterns, each having a sound genetic explanation, are the mackerel, classic, ticked and spotted tabby patterns.
A fifth pattern is formed by any of the four basic patterns when part of a patched pattern—a patched tabby, then, is a calico or tortoiseshell cat with patches of tabby coat (such cats are called caliby and torbie, respectively, in cat fancy).
All five patterns have been observed in random-bred populations. Several additional patterns are found in specific breeds and so are not as well known in general. For example, a modified classic tabby is found in the Sokoke breed. Some of these rarer patterns are due to the interaction of wild and domestic genes, as with the rosetted and marbled patterns found in the Bengal breed.
The orange tabby cat
The orange tabby cat is a variant of any of the above tabby patterns, having phaeomelanin instead of eumelanin. The colouring is usually orange and white. Frequently the cats display a white underside and paws. The back is usually orange. Darker orange markings appear such as spots or stripes on the orange areas. However, the white areas are mostly a solid colour. The ratios between orange and white vary, and range from a few orange spots on the back of a white cat to a thin white stripe down the stomach, or sometimes little or white at all.
Often they have either a white spot on their face that covers their mouth and sides of their face, and comes to a point around their forehead; or their faces will be orange, and they will only have white starting on the bottom of their head or neck.
A final word on the gender of the gingers
As a cat lover, and an orange cat lover in particular, you may still be debating the gender of all the gingers you meet. So as we ask ourselves as catsitters or pet owners ‘why are all orange cats male’ we can agree the following. Not all orange or ginger cats are male, however, genetically they are more likely to be. Next time you are cat sitting for an orange tabby cat, or an orange cat of any description take a close look. Try to engage with the feline as the cat sitter. Remember as a cattery alternative you the catsitter are the new best friend!
FURTHER READING ON KEEPING CATS & CAT SITTERS –
At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.