how rare are female orange kittens?

peevetteSeptember 26, 2006

i was just wondering if anyone could tell me how rare it is to have female orange tabbys because i keep hearing this is very rare and our stray cat that has adopted us, had a litter. in that litter are 3 orange tabbys and out of those 3 2 are female. so, if this is rare im wondering if anyone knows how much because its not that rare in our backroom


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It's not all that rare. It is true that there is a considerably higher percentage of males in the orange tabby color class, but I don't know the exact percentage. There are plenty of female orange tabbies around, though.

This is unlike the much stronger gender link among calico and tortoiseshell cats, in which males are exceedingly rare.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:34PM
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I just found the following information at the URL linked below:

"Cat Genetics and Coloring

A cat with patches of red and black is a tortoiseshell, or 'tortie'. Add white, and you get a calico. A tortoiseshell that is homozygous for the recessive 'dilution' gene is referred to as a blue-cream, and that's what color it is: patches of soft grey and cream. This is the same gene that turns black cats 'blue' (grey), and red cats cream. A blue-cream and white is generally referred to in the cat world as a dilute calico. The pattern of black/red or blue/cream can either be in big dramatic patches, brindling, or some of both. Having more white seems to encourage the formation of the big patches.

Red in cats is a sex-linked color, carried on the X gene. Therefore, a male cat whose X carries red will be a red tabby. A female cat who carries one red and one non-red X will be a patched tabby, a tortoiseshell, or a calico (if she also has the dominant gene for white markings). A female cat who is homozygous for red (has it on both X genes) will be a red tabby. This is why you see more male red tabbies than females. This is also why male calicos are so rare: you have to have two X genes to be a calico. Male calicos have genetic aberrations of various sorts, of which XXY is most common. While they are most commonly sterile, there *are* documented cases of fertile male calicos. However, the generalization that "all calicos/torties are female" is true 99.999 percent of the time.

The reason red females are "uncommon" is that, statistically, the number of red males is equal to the number of tortoiseshell/calico, patched tabby, and red females. Red males and tortie/calico/patched tabby females can be produced when only one parent has the red gene, but to produce a red female, you must cross a red male with a red/tortie/calico/patched tabby female. That is why red females are uncommon. But not "impossible", in the sense that a male calico is "impossible."

A "solid red" cat will always display the tabby pattern (although it may be very slight or even undetectable without brushing the fur back to check). There's another gene at work which controls "agoutiness" (whether individual hairs are banded or solid). Cats who are non-agouti will not generally display the tabby pattern, except in red areas. The non-agouti gene does not affect phaeomelanin, the red pigment, so red cats always show their tabby pattern.

The red gene "overrides" the solid gene, making the tabby pattern visible again. (And on other solid colors, you can sometimes notice the underlying stripes, especially in strong light.) Solid red cats at cat shows may or may not be genetically solid--they are (generally longhairs) bred for the "blurring" of the tabby pattern, producing a cat that doesn't have dramatic markings.

Solid - Tabby
----- -----
black - brown tabby
blue - blue tabby
red - red tabby
cream - cream tabby
chocolate - chocolate tabby
cinnamon - cinnamon tabby
fawn - fawn tabby

The colors a calico will produce depend on the color of the sire. But at minimum, she can produce red and non-red sons, and patched tabby/tortoiseshell/calico daughters, as well as non-red daughters. Whether she will produce tabbies or not depends on the genetic makeup of the sire. And *any* of the kittens could have white markings, or not."

Here is a link that might be useful: Cat Fanciers Miscellaneous Cat Information

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:56PM
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We have a female orange tabby... vet also said this is a rare color for a female, but I've heard of quite a few among friends/neighbors/etc.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 9:23AM
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In other words, 25% of orange tabbies are female.

They tend to be the coolest of all cats, with orange tabby males following close behind. IMHO of course ;)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 9:26PM
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When you say orange tabbies, are you talking 100% orange? Or mostly orange with the stray, very small white patch? I have three orange tabbies. One is solid orange and male. The other two are mostly orange with small, barely perceptible white patches. They are female. The 100% orange male is the coolest cat I've ever known, with my friend's 100% orange male coming in a close second. Not trying to stir up any cat color bias, but that's my experience.

I always thought that it is extremely rare to find 100% orange female tabbies, so I'm curious to see if what others are talking about when they say "orange tabby" is no patch of white anywhere?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 9:54PM
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I don't know how rare it is, but my female orange tabby has no white on her. I'm never gonna have an orange cat again, though -- I'm too allergic to them!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 7:29PM
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Orange tabby usually includes a little bit of white, like a tuxedo pattern (chest, socks). More than that and you're dangerously close to being white with orange tabby!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 7:46PM
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I just looked this up because my cat had problems and I took it to the vet. She said she almost didnt believe it was female, because they are rare I suppose. I never even knew this and nobody else did either apparently :P

The cat has no white patches, just some variations from orange to faded orange.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 9:25AM
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They used to be rare. Not so much now a days.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 3:36PM
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True Tabbies will not have white markings.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 11:21PM
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Here's my little girl. She has a white tip on her tail.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 4:35PM
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A long time ago, a orange female tabby had me, (I was going to say that I had a female orange tabby but that would be misleading). And she was very cool. She is no longer with us, god bless her kitty soul.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 10:46AM
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    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 10:39PM
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btw this cat is sorta bi-polar. It likes to be petted and then playfully take a chunk out of your hand, lol.

The cat above looks different than mine. Maybe the above counts more as a long hair? She told me those are commonly female. Mine appears to more domestic, like a more normal breed?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 10:45PM
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I have three all all-orange tabby kittens that are eleven weeks old. One is a male and two are females. Of the females, one is a lighter orange and the other is darker with dramatic tabby markings. Mom is a tortie and dad is unknown (but obviously orange from reading the genetic blurb above). Rare... I dunno. Cute and fun... absolutely!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 2:42PM
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This site says males outnumber females 3-1.
I hope that's true. I have neighbors here with more orange/orange and white cats than I can count. I really doubt that they are all spayed and neutered. Thankfully so far in the few months I've been here, I have not seen kittens. Seems odd, but maybe it's because most are males. though.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 1:17PM
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i have a female orange tabby with no white...she had a litter of kittens (interestingly enough, the sire was a flame point siamese with red blood vessels tracing thru his irises) and 2 of the kittens were siamese pattern albinoes and one was a regular albino. my question is this...i thought that orange female cats were sterile...or was that the males?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 5:50PM
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i have a solid orange male tabby;he is 13 years old and he is the coolest cat i've ever had.i've had lots and lots of cats.he is the love of my life;he is a very special cat.his name is jaybird.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 2:39PM
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I always heard that solid orange female tabbies are rare. Not sure if that is true. We have one that has a little patch of white on her neck, but we also have a completely solid orange female tabby. I love the orange tabbies, however we have a Bengal cat who is a monster, but, I love her none the less.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:52AM
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My Clancy is a very spoiled orange tabby...His mother was a tortie, father unknown, and he had 2 tortie sisters and 3 tabby brothers... Something special about the tabbies....

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 1:40PM
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My female orange tabby Lucy has no white on her either.

She is the best cat ever!

Here is a link that might be useful: catster link

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 10:07AM
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I have a true female orange tabby (no white markings). I was curious, however, because she isn't capable of crying. She is VERY talkative, but all you can hear is a sort of clicking noise when she tries to meow. So odd! Does anyone else with famale orange tabbies have this deal (maybe because they are rare?? Who knows), or is my Jade just a weirdo? She is still pretty young, though - only 9 months old. Is crying something she'll be able to do in time?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:37AM
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kathi, in the picture your kitty looks cream rather than orange. She's very pretty!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 9:37PM
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We have the sweetest and strangest female orange tabby with no white on her, Cassie. She can be a little skittish, but she is quite the lover. We have 2 female orange tabbies, but one has a white spot on her neck. But both drool when they are purring. My other cats don't drool. Anyone else have a drooler?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 10:24PM
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Dustin is orange and white with a goatee and his orange stripes are a bit faded but seem darker on his tail. He mostly makes little squeaky noises and has a mellow meow which mostly shows up when he sees another kitty outside the window. Even when he meows it's not a full 'meow' but almost like a 'rawr' but even still that doesn't completely describes it. Either way he can meow his head off in the kitchen if he sees another cat and it doesn't bother me in the next room so I know it doesn't bother the neighbours. I love how soft spoken he is.

I was wondering if his goatee (that is what a friend calls it) is uncommon because when I see pictures of orange and white cats they usually have a white muzzle.

Shot at 2008-08-09

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 3:26PM
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Dustin is gorgeous...My Clancy is an orange tabby with a "big mouth"...He's a talker and always has to have the last word..I sometimes think if someone happened to be standing on the porch hearing "us" talk, they bring in the white coats...There's something special about an orange tabby....

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 12:31PM
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My grey tabby has a LOUD purr and a loud meow. Her motor when she's purring is the loudest I ever heard.

But my torti does that non-meow squeak thing you guys are talking about.

Every cat is unique and beautiful!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 4:39PM
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trekaren, That's strange, I have a very big, fat grey tabby, Kaley, and her purr is very loud...Seems extra loud during the night...You just have to look at her and that motor starts...
Her sister, Kelly is very dainty with a sweet little purr...

Boy, you're right about each are unique...

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 5:17PM
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Thank you irishdancersgram :)
I talk to Dustin and my lucky Bamboo and if that would bring out the men with white coats I think a lot of us would be wearing new jackets ;)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 5:30PM
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I have a pale yellow tabby girl and my sister has a dark organge tabby girl.

socks, sounds like your little girl was one gene away from being a calico. LOL Very pretty.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 11:40PM
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Ok, so you all are saying that female orange tabbys aren't rare. Does that just go for the short hairs? What about a long haired female orange tabby? And even if they aren't rare, since they are so uncommon, are they worth any money?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 5:27PM
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If they are all orange with no white markings at all they are somewhat rare.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 3:31PM
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Orange females rock! They seem to be the coolest cats...
My Lisa is the most obnoxious cat, always on a move, always playing, and so sweet and loving...
Very different from the rest of my (14+) cats... From My Kitties From My Kitties

Vets always refer to Lisa as "he"
I am fostering one solid orange tabby girl - the litter had 2 boys and her, all orange
My friend is fostering a litter of two, both orange tabbies!

It has been my experience, and I have fostered a LOT of cats, that oranges are boys 2/3 of the time...I remember reading the 75% statistics somewhere

I love orange cats :)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 10:06PM
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My "baby" Lizzie is 14 yrs old and a female tabby. My vet also told me she is rare....about 80% male, 20% female.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 8:48AM
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kdbamagirl wrote:

"I have a true female orange tabby (no white markings). I was curious, however, because she isn't capable of crying. She is VERY talkative, but all you can hear is a sort of clicking noise when she tries to meow. So odd! Does anyone else with female orange tabbies have this deal (maybe because they are rare?? Who knows), or is my Jade just a weirdo? She is still pretty young, though - only 9 months old. Is crying something she'll be able to do in time?"

I had to laugh, because I have a female flame-point Siamese mix who does the same thing. A flame-point is not the same as a true, red tabby of course, but the color points are the same kind of red, with the tabby striping. She is perfectly capable of meowing, but it seems she would do just about anything to avoid doing so! She "clicks" when she wants something really bad, like a drink from the bath tub or to get inside my (forbidden) clothing closet. If she is merely hungry, or thinks it is time for me to go to bed, she will do an elaborate miming routine to try to lead me to the appropriate action. If she is too lazy to open the cat door for herself, she stands beside it and squeaks. Anything but meow!

However, she has become somewhat more vocal as she has aged. Still, her meows are often preceded by clicks, so it comes out "K-K-K-Keow!" So, maybe the clicking is a "redhead" thing...and maybe with your female not crying, it is not so much a case of "can't" as "won't." ;-)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 2:59AM
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We have an orange tabby female kitty. She deos have a white strioe that goes from the tip of her chin all the way dowb her belly. She alsi has the white socks. She never really meowed until a few weeks ago when we were in the car. She cried for the while 2 hour car ride. She still kind of sqeaks though. She is a lover and I have noticed that she does drool. The other thinf about Stella, is that she does not like my husband! Everytime he comes near she will run away from him. She will sleep in bed with us, but it ie either on my side or she is asleep on me!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 11:20PM
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We have along-haired female red tabby with a plume of a tail. She carries it like a flag and puts it into a question mark shape when she desires something to be done for her. She requests treats in a small bowl before going outside, does not eat any, goes outside, and eats upon her return. That's delayed gratification and planning! When the bowl is empty, she goes to the door knowing that we will always let her out but, when we go near the door, she veers off to the bowl. That's misdirection or lying! She comes to get me and herd me to bed at night, waits in the doorway while I change, and will not settle down until she stands on my chest and gets a good back-scritch. Only my wife, it appears, is allowed to give her belly-rubs, which she will tolerate for hours, if possible. If I take too long getting ready for bed I get chastised. She is quite vocal in that she has a number of expressions that she employs quite effectively. There's this one place on the attic stairs she has found that really echoes when she yodels in the middle of the night during her extensive (play) fights with the nothing monster. I have never had such a unique cat, even compared to the Persians and Himalayans I have had.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 12:22AM
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Sabin, your kitty sounds highly intelligent, and she has trained you well!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 1:37PM
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We actually have a family of orange cats, no white at all. The mom is actually more tan (and I say tan, though several of the folks above have called similar cats "orange" in their shared photos... compared to her offspring, she's not a true ginger by any stretch of the imagination). She adopted our back yard and was quite wild, she managed to have 3 batches of kittens with a massive orange alley cat before we lured her and all of her babies into the house and got them all domesticated and fixed. Of her 9 children, all the boys were orange, two girls were tan and one girl is truly orange. None of them have any white on them, but one of the boys has one small tuft (the size of a child's water color paint brush head) of black hair under his neck, which is covered by his collar. We adopted out one boy and the two tan girls, but still have the rest of them.

@ Purple_Thumb_Diva:
I think you may be on to something. We have 7 cats total, one grey and the 6 from the ginger family. All the gingers (including their "tan" mom) either click (eh eh eh) or coo like a pigeon rather than meow. One of the boys grunts like a little hedge hog. I know for sure two of them have a set of lungs on them, and definitely can meow if they want to. It's hilarious because one of them knows how to use the door knocker and a lever handle and they both meow Hello? (Heh-row? Heh-row?), freaks out visitors... "knock knock, jiggle handle, jiggle handle, Hello? Hello?" I'm like, "no don't answer it, it's just the cats", they never believe me and always end up flipping the deadbolt, the door slams open and the whole gang of orange fluffies rush the door.

I don't think a female orange (no white at all, and I mean BRIGHT orange) long hair tabby is that common, because both the humane society and the regular cat vet were quite shocked by buttons being a girl. They insisted that she was a boy right up until they went to snip her non existent boy parts... and I live in a big city where you'd think they'd have seen it all.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 6:48PM
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I adopted a female orange tabby. she has a beautiful white blaze down her chest, tummy, and some on her face. She has a broken tail in two places (some one was rude)and she is a stray breaks my heart. I have to say out of seven cats she is the most lovable lovable of them all. She is definitely a one person kitty. One question though she is a rather stumpy kitty and has long middle toes is this common? Anyways I love her immensely

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 2:54AM
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My Orange is almost all orange except for a white chin - or maybe its a very light buff. His belly is a lighter buff. Seems like a lot of oranges are not same solid dark orange all over, but vary in shades of orangeness.

Definitely super mellow, has the funniest tiny little meow even though he is huge (not fat, just big!).

Maybe there is something to the idea of colors and personalities. Was reading about cat ancestry, apparently there were different sub species that intermingled - the sand cat (yellow or buff) were friendly, the European wildcats (brown tabby) were more fiesty. I have both orange and brown tabbies and definitely the orange is more mellow, the brown is a holy terror and more dominating.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 5:03PM
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I've always heard female oranges are rare, I had one years ago. She got out of the house and was never seen again. I like to think some kind hearted soul took her in.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 1:25PM
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I also think you have an obligation to name her Ginger. Just kidding, but every orange cat I came across is named Ginger, granted it's only been about three or so.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:36PM
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It's simply easier for a male to be totally orange than a female, because the coat color is carried on the X (female) sex chromosome. Males inherit only one X chromosome and that is from their dam. Whatever one she passses along is going to be the only one expressing his basic coat background. However, the female inherits two X chromosomes, one from each of her parents. Two X chromosomes are not viable (other than in rare chromosome defects) in each cell, so one is inactivated, and this is done at random. Therefore a female is essentially a chimera for all those traits expressed by an X chromosome. She'll be a mosaic of both parents. In order for her to be totally orange as a base, she'll have to have inherited it on the X chromosome from each of her parents. Yes, very possible, but less likely than a male who only has to inherit one. The are only two base colours for cats. Orange and black.......that's why the tortie trait with both orange and black is nearly always seen only in females.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:31PM
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I have a female long-haired orange with white undersides cat, but I think she's the way she is because she was in-bred (her mother was a calico, her father a son who looks exactly like she does now. No, it wasn't intentional, but I'm glad it resulted in a very good kitty.)

When I took her in to get fixed, the vet asked me if I was sure she was a female. I replied "I think I've seen enough kittens come out of her to be reasonably sure." "Oh!" :)

The link is to a pic of her, I don't know how to include it in the body of a message.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rusty

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 7:16PM
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The really rare ones are the solid orange females.

No white or black patches.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 12:20AM
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