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Old 11-23-2012, 03:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello. I had always thought orange colored cats were mostly male. My friends cat is orange marble tabby and female. Is that a bit rare? Can somebody explain the genetics ?


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Old 11-23-2012, 03:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't have a large working concept of genetics but what I understand is that around 75% or more of orange cats are male.

Some colors in cats are sex-linked, so depending on if you're XY (male) or XX (female) can play on their colors. From what I've read orange is linked to the X chromosome, males have a better chance of getting orange, since females would need both X chromosomes to be orange where a male would only need - only only has - the one.

Now, what I've never understood is if black is also sex linked (as seen with tortties and calicos; you don't get male calicos because both black and orange are X chromosomes so males would need two X chromosomes for this to work; XXY, they'd be sterile)... then shouldn't black cats be more male than female as well? This is something I've never heard discussed.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My "orange" cat is hermaphrodite but dominantly female. Her sister was not only full female but fertile which is much more unusual with this colour. When we found the kittens earlier this year, one of those was orange and female. It is rarer but by no means unknown.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arianwen View Post
Her sister was not only full female but fertile which is much more unusual with this colour.
I'm pretty sure an orange female cat is totally fertile, I don't see why she wouldn't be. They don't require messed up genetics to become orange so she'd still only need two chromosomes, it's just rarer. A male that becomes calico however is messed up, he'd need three chromosomes (XXY) which is why he would be sterile.

I went off and did some reading on genetics. I don't know if I understand any more than I did before. I'm now in question of if black is always sex-linked, some sites would mention orange being sex-linked to X and say nothing of black even though they were talking about calicos.

Here's a great site:
http://www.bio.miami.edu/dana/dox/calico.html

There's a chart close to the bottom that helps if you don't want to do the reading.

As far as the black cat thing goes (I know, you weren't asking, but in case anyone got curious), all I found was this:

Scientists are still not sure why the black fur mutation is so common, especially since the black fur gene is a recessive gene, which means a cat must carry two copies of it in order to be black. One idea is that it provides camouflage at night, but strong beasts like leopards and jaguars don't really need this kind of protection. So O'Brien thinks the mutation may have to do with health. He found that the black coat mutation in the jaguar and jaguarundi affects a gene in a family of proteins called seven-transmembrane receptors. Viruses often use these receptors to get inside cells, and it is thought that HIV might be one of those viruses. A mutation in this gene might provide resistance to diseases caused by those viruses.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Holly is orange and female. My simplistic view of the genetics is that it takes 1 orange gene for a male, but two for a female. My understanding is that only 5-10% of orange cats are female. Of course there are always crazy situations...Holly's breeder bred her orange male to an orange female and got 5 orange girls. Holly's litter was the product of an orange male and calico female...one orange male, one gray/white female, one calico female and one orange female (Holly).
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmm, and ok, that link I posted for some unknown reason doesn't seem to be working, it takes you do a different link. Or maybe it's just my computer messed up. Anyway the URL itself is still correct, so you can just copy and paste the link.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you all so much for your input I find genetics very interesting


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Old 11-23-2012, 06:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I found an abandoned litter of three orange kittens 5 years ago, two were female and one was male. I didn't know that orange females were uncommon until recently as we kept the two abandoned girls and my coworker also has two orange girls. The blue collar is the male. Him and the pink collar girl are both classic tabbies and the girl in the back is mackerel.
Orange kitties-imageuploadedbypg-free1353714305.751821.jpg


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