Can American Shorthair Cats be Calico?

cat lying on gray surface
Photo by Ejov Igor on

American Shorthair cats, known for their robust health, longevity, and amiable temperaments, are a beloved breed in many households. With their distinctive muscular build and a variety of coat patterns, they capture the hearts of cat enthusiasts worldwide. One question that often arises among prospective cat owners and breeders is: Can American Shorthair cats be calico?

The simple answer is yes, American Shorthair cats can indeed be calico. The term “calico” refers to a coat pattern rather than a breed. Calico cats have a unique tri-color coat featuring patches of white, black, and orange (or variations thereof, such as cream, blue-grey, and light brown). This striking pattern is the result of a specific genetic trait linked to the X chromosome.

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Understanding Calico Genetics

To understand how American Shorthair cats can be calico, it’s essential to delve into the genetics behind this coat pattern. The calico pattern occurs due to a phenomenon called “X-inactivation,” which happens only in females. Female cats have two X chromosomes (XX), while males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY).

For a cat to display the calico pattern, it must inherit two X chromosomes that carry different color genes—one for black and one for orange. During development, one of these X chromosomes in each cell is randomly inactivated, leading to the patchwork of colors that characterizes the calico pattern. Since males typically have only one X chromosome, it’s rare (though not impossible) for them to be calico.

American Shorthair Calico Cats

American Shorthairs come in a wide range of colors and patterns, including the calico. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognizes several coat patterns for the breed, and calico is among them. These cats can exhibit the classic calico pattern with large, distinct patches or a dilute version with softer shades of the traditional calico colors.

Calico American Shorthairs retain the breed’s characteristic traits: a sturdy build, a friendly and gentle disposition, and a keen hunting instinct. These attributes make them excellent companions for families and individuals alike.

Caring for a Calico American Shorthair

Caring for a calico American Shorthair is similar to caring for any other cat of this breed. Regular grooming, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary care are essential. Due to their short, dense coat, American Shorthairs are relatively low-maintenance in terms of grooming. However, the calico pattern does not require any special treatment beyond what is typical for the breed.


In summary, American Shorthair cats can indeed be calico. This beautiful and unique coat pattern is just one of the many variations that this versatile breed can exhibit. Whether calico or not, American Shorthairs are a wonderful addition to any home, offering companionship, affection, and a touch of feline elegance.

If you’re considering adding a calico American Shorthair to your family, you can look forward to a cat that is not only visually stunning but also a joy to live with.


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