The tricolor cats

Within the group of mongrel cats we find great variety of coat colors of these animals, apart from finding cats with long, short or semi-long hair. Among them we have the protagonists of today, the tricolor cats, which are classified into 3 large groups: the tricolor tabby, the calico and the tortoiseshell. Depending on how you have the colors distributed, it will be in one group or another.

For many traditions, especially Japanese and Celtic, having a tricolor cat is synonymous with good luck. Do you want to know how to identify them? Keep reading!

What must a cat have to be considered tricolor?

To be a tricolor cat, it must present these three colors in its fur:

  • White
  • Black (or variations, such as gray or brown)
  • Orange (or variations, like cinnamon or cream)

Types of tricolor cats

As we said, they exist three large groups of tricolor cats: calico, tortoiseshell and tabby.


Calico The cats calico they present the three well differentiated colors. The legs, belly and / or the lower half of the face can generally be white. They usually have semi-long fur.

Related article:
How is the calico color of cats?



The cats carey they have very mixed colors. They do not usually have white spots, and if they did, they would be very small. The coat is rather short.

Related article:
Tortoiseshell cats

Tabby tricolor cat

Tabby tricolor cat

All tricolor tabby cats They present all three colors, but with large well-differentiated brindle spots, generally on the head and on the back, reaching up to the tail. The coat is usually short type.

Are there tricolor male cats?

The answer is yes, but only one 1 in every 3000 tricolor cats will be. In fact, it is very difficult to find a tricolor male cat, because it has to happen that it presents some genetic anomaly (that presents two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome, for example) for it to be.

Why do they have three colors

A tricolor cat usually has among its colors orange, white, black, brown, beige ... the colors are combined but there will only be 3 colors in each cat. Cats that have XY chromosomes, therefore only have one X chromosome and a single gene that may or may not be orange. On the other hand, cats have XX chromosomes, which allows them to have one gene that determines the color orange and the other does not, so it can have more than one color, orange being one of them.

General characteristics of three-colored cats

Tricolor cats are special

Tricolor cats are mysterious and have many interesting characteristics. Normally, tricolor cats are very affectionate cats that love company and feel loved by their pack (either human or cat). Next we are going to give you some details about these wonderful cats.

Personality and temperament

In general, there are scientifically documented studies on the behavior and personality of each breed of cat. Contrary to popular belief, tricolor cats are not a specific breed in their own right, but rather cats with a certain pattern of coat color. That is why we cannot really say how tricolor cats behave, each one will have its own idiosyncrasy. Tricolor cats are very different from each other and have different behaviors… they have their own personality!

Therefore, the documented behavior and personality of tricolor cats are subjectively assessed by owner consensus, rather than scientific studies. Given its mysterious behavior, owning a tricolor cat is particularly exciting. You could expect a calm and gentle guy who will enjoy your comfort and portray loyalty, but you could also get the exact opposite: a cat with an attitude that can be very difficult to care for.

Health and lifespan

The common question people ask is "how long can tricolor cats live?" The average lifespan of tricolor cats is 12-16 years. The question is whether this is more or less than the average cat life expectancy for most cat breeds. The answer is yes and no. It depends if the tricolor cat is male or female.

What are male tricolor cats like?

Male tricolor cats are quite rare; they tend to live shorter lives than tricolor cats due to their unique chromosomal characteristics. The good news is that 99% of tricolor cats are female due to this unique genetic makeup. But don't worry, because as with any cat, a tricolor cat can live longer than average if it receives the best medical care.

Your cat will need a home a good diet and a good health care plan so you can live as long as possible.

9 things you should know about tricolor cats

Tricolor cat on book

If you have a cat or a tricolor cat in your life, you will know that having it is wonderful, but there are also some things that you will surely be interested in knowing so that your life in a herd is wonderful.

  • There are more females. As we have mentioned above, 99% of tricolor cats turn out to be female due to their special unique chromosomal composition.
  • 1 of every 3000 tricolor born in the male sex is sterile. This happens because 99% of tricolor cats are female and male tricolor are so rare that 9 in 1 tricolor cats are born with Klinefelter syndrome. That means that they are not only sterile, but unfortunately carry many other health problems as well.
  • They have different names. Tricolor cats have different names in different cultures. For example, they are called "lapjeskat" in the Netherlands, which means "patched cat," and "mi-ke" in Japan, which means "triple fur."
  • They are a lucky charm. Given their rarity, tricolor cats are known as lucky charms and signs of good fortune throughout the world. People also believe that tricolor cats bring good fortune to the homes of the families that adopt them. Another fun fact is that they are sometimes referred to as money cats in the United States. In the 1870s, tricolor cats were declared an official symbol of fortune in Japan.
  • They are brave cats. A calico cat prevented the closure of Japan's railway station. This happened in 2007, when the Kinokawa train station was about to close due to budget problems. As a last resort, the city sent a local tricolor cat to be the stationmaster, where he greeted passengers as they passed. As the tricolor cat became a celebrity, it generated a 17% increase in the station's traffic. The tricolor cat good luck charm is true.
  • They are everywhere. Considering how rare tricolor cats are, they have really spread all over the world. Tricolor cats that migrated along routes in Europe and North Africa were tracked. Although they originated in Egypt, they were also found in cities along the Mediterranean, France, Italy, and Spain.
  • They have their own personality, it is difficult to raise them. You cannot breed a tricolor cat because it only happens by chance. They are not a genetically modified breed. That is why they are so rare and are considered a lucky charm. They are also considered a bit magical due to their three colors. It's like three cats in one ... by chance.
  • They heal emotions. A tricolor cat (or any cat in the world) understands emotions and if you are sad, it will approach you to purr and give you all its love. A tricolor cat will have a special connection to its human pack.

In addition, there is also a rumor that they cure warts. Tricolor cats are often believed to be able to cure warts. You are supposed to rub warts against the tail of a tri-color cat in May to cure it. We're not sure if this is true, but we're sure cats probably won't enjoy it!

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