November 7th is “National Colour Your World Orange Day”. What better way to do that than to fill your day with orange kitties? Since I did a post for Halloween all about black cats I thought it only fair to give equal time to orange ones.
We’ve had a few orange cats as part of our family over the years and, yes, they all happened to be male; yes, they were very affectionate; yes, they were all big boys and yes, they all had healthy appetites – so right off the bat we’ve ticked four of the boxes that “stereotype” orange cats. Despite the common beliefs about orange tabbies they all have their own personalities, just like any other breed or colour of cat. They all have their own likes and dislikes, quirks, perks and attitudes but in my own experience they are all awesome kitties that made great additions to our family.
Orange tabbies are also known as “Marmalade cats” or “Gingers”, nicknames that serve to distinguish them from black tabbies. All tabby cats are not orange but all orange cats (regardless of breed) are considered tabbies. The term “tabby” simply refers to the markings in their coat. Orange tabbies are genetically possible in many different breeds of cats including Maine Coons, Persians and British Short Hairs.
The orange coat is produced by the presence of the pigment pheomelanin, which can produce colours ranging from deep red to a light cream. One thing you will never see is an orange cat with a completely solid coat – orange cats will always have some pattern in their coat. The most common pattern is referred to as the mackerel pattern which can make them look like little tigers, not surprising since house cats and tigers have about 96% of their DNA in common.
Orange cats are well known for developing freckles. The freckles usually start appearing when they are between one and two years old. The usually show on their nose, but can also develop on their lips, gums and around their eyes. Freckles are cute but if your orange tabby doesn’t develop freckles then it will more than likely keep a soft pink nose.
It’s not clear why this is true but most orange tabby cats are male. In fact male orange tabbies outnumber females by about 4 to 1. This seems to point to some genetic link between sex and coat markings but researchers and veterinarians have yet to pinpoint the how or why. On the flipside, most calico and tortoiseshell cats are female.
Like their cartoon mascot, Garfield, orange tabby cats are known for their good appetites. They seem to simply enjoy eating so you may want to rethink leaving food available all the time if you have an orange tabby in the house. Unfortunately, orange tabbies are also well known for being very lazy. In light of a good appetite and inherent laziness it is a good idea to play with your orange kitty often and leave a lot of toys around in the hopes of tempting them to move around a little bit more.
Orange tabbies also seem to be very brave cats. For the most part orange tabbies are not afraid, even of large dogs, and they do not have a problem sharing a house with other animals so they make excellent additions to families with other pets and/or children. However, being brave also means they get themselves into trouble sometimes so keep a close eye on them around open doors, windows and hiding spots.
Watch for a “coming soon” blog post about the ten most popular cat names of 2017. But for now let’s look at some of the more popular names for orange cats.
I love the pun
BUTTERSCOTCH (and her brother RIPPLE)
Like two of my Stay A Home Kitties below
COLBY & CHEDDAR
Like the cheeses
Yup, I get it
We were close when we named our guy Punkin’
Like my grandkitty who is not really a completely orange tabby but it was an excuse to sneak her picture in
So cute - like a young deer
Like Van Gogh - our guy was named after Vince Carter because he could scale the wall when chasing the red dot
So after all that what else is there left to say except, like all kitties,
orange tabby cats are ADORABLE!