There are many types and variations of cats all over the world. One of the most easily recognizable cats is the tabby cat. Tabby is not a breed, but rather a color pattern that occurs within several breeds. These cats have distinct stripes, spots or swirls called tabby marks. Tabbies also have an “M” mark on their forehead. Orange tabby cats are sometimes referred to as ginger or marmalade cats. Most of these cats are males because of specific chromosomes and alleles. The chromosomes determine the sex of the cat and alleles, a type of gene, determine the color of the cat.
There are different types of genes and alleles that can create the colors of cats. The gene called the Agouti gene decides the pattern of colors. Non tabby cats have an a/a genotype, whereas tabby cats have an A/a pattern. For an orange cat to be created, the red allele, “O,” has to be present on the X chromosome. The “O” gene, for orange cats eliminates the possibility of an “a/a,” gene, so there cannot be a completely orange cat. All orange cats are tabby cats, with an “A/a” pattern, although some may have more distinct patterns than others.
Most orange tabby cats are also males and female orange tabbies are quite rare. Not all orange cats are male, however. Female orange tabby cats do exist, but 80 percent of these cats are male. This is because of the chromosomes that determine the sex of the cat and the alleles that are present on the chromosomes. A male cat has one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. To be an orange tabby, the red gene only has to be on the X chromosome. Females, on the other hand, have two X chromosomes. Therefore, to be an orange tabby, the cat has to have the red gene on both X chromosomes.
Females are much more likely to be calico cats, which have an “Oo” genotype. This is more likely in females because they have two X genes. Most male orange tabbies don’t have other colors, such as brown or black, because the “O” allele is dominant and, since males only have one X chromosome, they only have one allele. It is rare for males to have an “Oo” genotype because they need two X chromosomes for this to be possible. The only time this can happen is with a mutation where the male cat has two X chromosomes and one Y. In this instance, the male could have and “O” allele on one chromosome and an “o” on the other. A majority of male cats have one X chromosome and the “O” allele is dominant, creating an orange tabby cat.
Even though most orange tabbies are male, male cats make great pets. Orange tabbies are beautiful cats that usually have very interesting personalities. Orange cats have been part of popular culture for a long time, from Garfield the orange cat, to Morris, a cat made famous by commercials. The orange tabby cat is an amazing pet and loyal companion.