Science Tells us Why Orange Cats Are so Special

Have you ever heard parents talking about their children? It is usually like a competition about whose child can outdo the other in whichever field. Well, that is the same case with pet parents; those with orange cats believe theirs is the most affectionate of all felines despite there being no proof of this belief that has been going on for ages. However, besides being friendly, orange cats have other attributes that make them even more unique. Let’s look at some of them discovered in a study conducted over three decades ago.

The Uniqueness of Orange Cats Explained

Between 1982 and 1992, researchers took a sample from 30 cat populations hoping to examine the frequency of the orange gene variant in cat populations. For each cat population, about 56 -491 cats were used as subjects, and the conclusion was that, indeed, orange cats are different from other cats. One notable trait of orange cats is that male fats tend to be heavier than cats of other colors while females are lighter.

Another special trend the scientists discovered was in reproduction. In orange cats, reproduction is dependent on the social setting such that in urban areas, female and male cats have multiple mating partners. In contrast, in rural settings, the male cat has many female mating partners. As a result, male cats in rural areas tend to have higher social status and reproductive success. In an urban setting, on the other hand, reproduction success is dependent on which sperm wins the race.

Moreover, orange cat owners will be sad to know that their cats are likely to endanger their lives, even in their adventures. Per the study, your orange cat will choose to engage in risky behavior, disregarding that death possibility; perhaps whoever coined the saying “curiosity killed the cat” had most likely observed an orange cat’s careless behavior. The likelihood of death in an urban setting is higher since male cats have to compete for the females who want to mate with many males. Fights are usually the answer in the animal kingdom where survival is for the fittest. Therefore, in the long run, only the larger male cats will have higher chances of reproductive success, but it comes at the cost of risking their lives.

What about Their Affectionate Behavior?

Unfortunately, the in-depth study did not conclude the reasons for orange cats’ affectionate behavior. However, since male cats have been observed to be much friendlier than females, it is speculated that male cats’ dominance could make them fearless in approaching humans. Epic Pet Club also opined that there is no evidence to prove that orange cats are more affectionate than other cats but gave another reason for the unique trait.

According to the article, personality development determines how well a cat, whether an orange cat or a differently colored cat, socializes. A kitty that grows up in a playful environment will feel secure enough to interact with other animals and humans; usually, the socialization behavior is best instilled in the cat’s early stage. Therefore, kittens should not be separated from their mother or siblings because that is usually the only family they know. It could cause them to withdraw as they deal with insecurity. The conclusion was any cat can be friendly if put in an environment that encourages socialization.

The Science behind an Orange Cat’s Color

The Spruce Pet enlightens us about the science behind the orange cats. When you hear that the gene that results in the orange color is sex-linked, all it means that it depends on the chromosome that determines if a cat is male or female. The red color gene is embedded in the X chromosome; a female cat has two X chromosomes, while a male cat has X and Y chromosomes. A male cat can inherit the red color gene, but it will only manifest if it’s the dominant gene O, not o. If a male inherits the O variant from the mother, he will be a ginger cat. On the other hand, a female who inherits the O variant on each X chromosome will be a ginger cat. Still, if only one X chromosome carries the O variant, it will be a calico or tortoiseshell, with red and black marks. If neither X chromosomes have the O variant, the cat will be black. Simply put, a female cat will be a ginger cat if both parents have the dominant O variant while males will be ginger cats if the mother is ginger, calico, or tortoiseshell. Consequently, the chances of males being ginger cats are 80% compared to 20% of females.

Legends about the Unique “M” on Their Foreheads

All orange cats are tabby cats, and all tabby cats have a distinctive “M” on their forehead. Since science is yet to give a concrete answer regarding why they have the letter marking, legends have been floated around to explain it. According to Pet PawsLab, Mary, mother of Jesus, laid baby Jesus in the manger, but he could not stop crying because of the cold. Even the farm animals which surrounded the manger did not provide enough warmth for the baby. Even her desperate attempts to quiet him by rocking him were futile. However, when a tabby cat climbed into the manger and lay next to the baby, Jesus stopped crying as he started feeling warm. Mary, therefore, stroked the cat and left her initial on the cat’s forehead.

Another legend, also a religious one, is about Prophet Muhammad, who had a cat named Muezza. When the cat fell asleep on Muhammad’s sleeve and time for prayer came, Muhammad chose to cut off the sleeve instead of waking her up. The cat must have felt loved, and in return, one day, when a snake was on Muhammad’s sleeve, the cat saw it and killed it. Muhammad was so appreciative of the cat’s act of love that he also marked her forehead with his initials.



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