Garfield, the comic cat, is not the only red cat in existence; red cats can be found in almost every cat specie. Every cat lover has probably at one point wondered why most red cats are male and if the sex of a cat has any effect on coat color.

There is no doubt that the male cat specie has dominated the red house tiger family. The question, however, is why and what is the extent of this dominance?

This article will give you a little insight into what goes into determining cat color and if sex has anything to do with it.

Exploring cat genetics.

The role of genetics in determining the color of your furry little friend must be considered since the color is often passed down to the kittens from their parents. Of the 38 chromosomes found in cats, only two are sex chromosomes. 

Like its human counterpart, the male feline has one Y and one X chromosome. On the other hand, the female cat has two X chromosomes and no Y chromosome. This little fact determines the fur color of your beautiful feline. 

Cat Coat Colors.

Chromosomes are the major determinants of cat color.

The most dominant cat colors are black and red. The black or red coats can only be inherited from a parent for male cats. And as for the red fur coat, the only condition for possessing it is if the genes exist in the cat. 

The red/orange cat color can only be inherited through the X chromosome. 

Because the male cat possesses just one X chromosome, their red fur color information is limited to one.

It is either red or not red. This does not, however, mean that every red cat is a tomcat. They’ll produce a tomcat with light orange fur if they have the red information on their X chromosome.

However, a female cat cannot have red fur if she does not inherit the red allele from her parents to make her pure red.

Though not all red cats are tomcats, tomcats have a higher chance of having red furs than queens.

Their double-X structure, however, means females are exposed to a lot of possibilities when it comes to fur color.

A female cat can have the gene once, two times, or miss it entirely. However, the fur can only turn red if it appears twice in their DNA. 

However, several color variants, like tortoiseshell dyes, are also exclusive to cats.

This is because each cell only requires one X chromosome since only one is needed. So, suppose a cat possesses the X chromosomes with the “red” information and another with the “not red” information.

In that case, the “orange hair” information is switched on in specific cells, while “black hair’ is switched on in others, creating a unique coloration. This concept is known as compensation. 

Closeup of a Red Cat's Face

What you need to know about red cats.

There are no monochronic red cats. 

There is no red cat without a ghost mark or brand mark – no red cat is truly monochronic. The pattern of the tabby can come in four variations, including:

• Spotted

• Mackerel

• Ticked 

• Brindle (classic tabby)

The red fur color is caused by the pheomelanin pigment, which can come in different shades. This pigment can be found in human and cat redheads and is responsible for the red fur. Every red cat has some pattern or the other.  


Red cats do not have a special breed.

There are many unfounded theories about red cats, one of which is that they have a special breed. This is untrue as the red coat is often found in a lot of other cat breeds, including:

• Devon Rex

• British shorthair

• Scottish Fold

• European shorthair

• Persian cats Maine Coon 


Freckled red cats. 

Though common amongst the red cat family, the reason for their appearance is unknown. It is not unusual to find small dark spots splattered across most red cats’ paws, mucous membranes, and noses. The presence of ample storage of melanin causes these pigment spots. 

These black spots are harmless and might become more pronounced as the cat ages. However, if it increases at an alarming rate, you should probably consult your vet because cats are also susceptible to skin cancer. 

Freckled red cat
Freckled red cat

It is easier for red cats to find new homes?

A university of California study on cat color and its effects on cats has revealed that red cats are perceived as people-oriented and friendly. This assessment automatically increases their odds of getting adopted from animal shelters.

Are there behavioral differences between the red cats and their darker counterparts? 

Red cats have been known to exhibit behavioral problems like jealousy and aggressiveness. However, the Institute for Applied Ethology and Animal Psychology (a behavioral research specialist institute), conducted a study that revealed that cat behavior and coat color have no connection whatsoever. 

Red cats are known to be greedy. 

It has also been said that red cats are greedy – this stereotype originates from Garfield, the famous cartoon tomcat. Another stereotype about red cats is that they’re often overweight.

However, none of these assumptions has any scientific backing. Red cats are known for their enormous appetites. Cat owners have complained about their pet’s ferocious appetite and ability to find food even in the most unlikely corners. 

Health circle of a red cat.

Red cats are susceptible to diseases. For instance, red cats are more likely to suffer from eye infections, tartar, kidney diseases, and urinary tract infections. 

They’re also more likely to suffer from anesthesia-related complications and are more sensitive to pain. However, the only scientific proof of their predisposition to diseases is their susceptibility to deafness and ear diseases. 

Cats have their individuality, primarily influenced by their genetic makeup and other environmental factors. There is, however, no scientific proof connecting the red cat’s coat to its personality. 

red cat

Summary

Red Cats are not a separate breed and can be found in many different cat breeds. They are known for their red fur, which is caused by the pheomelanin pigment, and may have freckles due to melanin spots.

Red cats are often perceived as friendly and may have a higher chance of being adopted from animal shelters. There is no scientific evidence to support the stereotype that red cats are greedy or prone to behavioral problems.

However, red cats may be more prone to certain health issues such as eye infections, tartar, kidney diseases, and urinary tract infections, as well as sensitivity to pain and anesthesia-related complications.

It is important for red cat owners to be aware of these potential health risks and to consult a veterinarian if any issues arise.

Read also: The Fascinating Role of Cats in Japanese Mythology and Culture


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