Facts About Female Cats

Here are some interesting facts about female cats.

Almost all Calico Cats are Female

Almost all calico cats are female. Except in very rate instances of mutation, calico cats are female 99.97% of the time.

Almost all calico cats are female due to the X chromosome’s role in determining gender in this breed. A genetic mutation or the presence of two X chromosomes in a cat can result in a male calico, however this is an extremely unusual occurrence. Calico males are typically infertile.

A calico cat look at the camera.
A calico cat. Photo: Carole M. Highsmith, public domain via LOC.gov.

Similarly, tortoiseshell cats are also 99.6% female for the same reasons.

Only 1 in 5 Orange Tabbies are Female

About 80% of orange tabbies are male.

The explanation for this is that the gene responsible for a cat’s orange coat is located on the X chromosome. Male cats with a single X chromosome might be orange or white.

The orange allele is denoted by the letter O, while the non-orange allele is denoted by the letter o. Female cats with orange fur require O alleles on both X chromosomes.

Paw Preference

Most female cats tend to prefer using their right paw over their left paw. Several studies have looked at paw preference in domestic cats. One study, published in 1991 in the International Journal of Neuroscience, looked at which paw female and male cats extended towards a food source. The study found that a higher percentage of female cats (54.0%) preferred using their right paws compared to male cats (43.5%).

Black cat sitting in a blue bowl by a window.
A black female cat. Photo: Caitlin Dempsey.

A similar study published in 2018 in the journal Animal Behavior had similar results showing female cats tended to favor their right paw while more males favored their left paw.

Are Female Cats Less Affectionate Than Male Cats?

Females cats are

Female Cats Can Become Pregnant at Four Months Old

The estrous cycle can start as early as four months in a cat. It’s important to get your female cat spayed early to prevent any unwanted pregnancy. More: Female Cats and Pregnancy

An intact (not spayed) female cat is known as a queen.

Neutered Females are Less Aggressive Than Intact Cats

A 2010 study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that among free-roaming cats, neutered females were less aggressive than intact females due to reduced social and reproductive pressures.

References

Finkler, H., & Terkel, J. (2010). Cortisol levels and aggression in neutered and intact free-roaming female cats living in urban social groups. Physiology & Behavior99(3), 343-347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.11.014

McDowell, L. J., Wells, D. L., & Hepper, P. G. (2018). Lateralization of spontaneous behaviours in the domestic cat, Felis silvestris. Animal behaviour135, 37-43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.11.002

Tan, Ü., & Kutlu, N. P. (1991). The distribution of paw preference in right-, left-, and mixed pawed male and female cats: The role of a female right-shift factor in handedness. International Journal of Neuroscience59(4), 219-229. https://doi.org/10.3109/00207459108985976

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