From Garfield to, more recently, The Amazing Maurice, ginger cats or orange cats, if you are across the pond, have occupied our TV screens and our hearts for centuries.
Whatever you may call your furry ginger companions, ahead of Ginger Cat Appreciation Day (September 1st), we have compiled five fun facts about ginger cats, some of which may surprise you!
All Ginger Cats Are Tabbies
The majority of ginger cats exhibit tabby patterns, which can include stripes and spotted patterns.
Other variations include ticked tabby (Agouti Tabby), with a unique pattern with each hair banded with multiple colours, giving the coat a shimmering appearance, sometimes called the “agouti effect”.
Let’s not forget the marbled tabby, too! Marbled tabbies have a swirled pattern within their coats, which can be reminiscent of a marbled art piece, hence where the name marbled tabby comes from.
The ginger cat is not a distinct breed but a colouration. All ginger cats display some pattern in their orange coats, you may need to look closely to tell!
Unlike the myths surrounding black cats, ginger cats have come to symbolise prosperity, happiness, and overall good luck throughout the ages!
In Ancient Egypt, ginger cats’ orange colour was believed to bring good luck and be associated with the sun, which could bring vitality and good fortune.
A Unique Genetic Makeup
Ginger cats actually get a vibrant orange colour due to a genetic mutation where the “O allele” on the X chromosome produces the orange pigment.
Male cats have one X chromosome (XY), while ginger female cats have two (XX). This is why male ginger cats are more common; they need only one copy of the orange gene to exhibit the coloration, whereas females require two.
While not all ginger cats are male, due to this genetic makeup, approximately 80% of ginger cats are male, and as females inherit two X chromosomes, there are also more possible genetic combinations.
Ginger cats can exhibit a wide range of shades within the orange spectrum. Some may have a light, almost creamy color, while others have a deeper and richer red tone. These variations are also influenced by genetic factors and the interplay of multiple genes.
The interaction between the orange gene (O) and the agouti gene can result in different pigmentation patterns, which is why some ginger cats display freckles. The presence of freckles or spots is often a result of variations in pigmentation caused by the interaction of these genes.
True Cuddle Buddies
While coat colour will not define a personality, many owners believe ginger cats are outgoing and friendly. Ginger cats, in particular, have been known to stay close to their owners and be keen to cuddle up with their family members.
As Ginger Cat Appreciation Day approaches, we hope that these fun facts can help inspire a more profound affection for ginger cats everywhere.