6 Orange Cat Breeds: Genetics & Specificity (With Pictures)

The ginger fluffy cat is a classic representative of the feline family. In the natural environment, its pure (without impurities) color behaves capriciously. Red shades of hair appear in offspring only when a number of hereditary conditions are observed, but even felinologists do not undertake to predict its appearance in advance.

This color is unusual for the British, while among the Persians, on the contrary, it is not considered a rarity. However, all cat breeds have one thing in common – almost every litter has babies in a luxurious orange coat.

Orange Cats Color Genetics

Melanins, pigments with a molecular structure and complex chemistry, are responsible for the color of the coat. Pheomelanin plays an important role in the formation of the color of red cats. But without attaching a certain allele (gene form) to the desired chromosome, nothing will happen.

The color of the coat depends on the cat’s X chromosome. It is he who affects the production of pheomelanin and gives the cat’s fur coat an orange color. The O gene joins the chromosome, which increases the likelihood of giving birth to ginger kittens.

Can Females Have An Orange Coat

Male and female cats have different sets of chromosomes:

  • Female cats have double X chromosome (XX);
  • Males have a set of  XY.

As for the O gene, it only joins the X chromosome, and has two “coloring” alleles: O (red) and o (black). In practice, this is expressed as follows:

  • OO with two XX in Females gives an orange color;
  • the same chromosomes with the oo alleles create a black tint;
  • Two-color (tortoiseshell) kittens are born with the Oo set.

Male cats have fewer options since they have only one X chromosome, which can be accompanied by a single expression of the allele: O (red) or o (black). And nature has not programmed the two-color reddish-black coloring of the cat.

In practice, this complex genetic kaleidoscope is expressed in the fact that there are fewer red cats in the litter than cats.

Important! Under natural conditions, ginger cats are born about 3-4 times more often than cats. This even caused the unfair judgment that only males wear a bright sunny fur coat.

Color Options

Since the cat has more color options, it means that it also transmits them by inheritance:

  • only the red O allele passes from the mother to the male cat;
  • female kittens carry the characteristics of two parents (genes O and O).

In the formation of shades of coat, other colors and color spots, which were present in the relatives of the animal, play a role.

  1. White-red cat. The gene for white (W) dominates all others, the allele for spotting (S), partial spotting (Sp) and white recessive ww also works. The tendency towards white spotting is always dominant in relation to solid colors.
  2. orange tabby cat. The fiery color is never solid. Patterns in the form of stripes or marble spots are necessarily visible on it. In genetics, this effect is called “tabby” and it is he who is responsible for the characteristic pattern on the coat.
  3. Red marble cat. It’s about feathering a tabby pattern. In ginger cats, it is necessarily present, but in varying degrees of contrast. A heavily shaded tabby looks like a clean color, low fuzzy results in a distinct pattern, moderate shading evokes an association with marble stains.
  4. The cat is in light red tones. The D gene enters the process. It is responsible for the color saturation and stains the hairs in a deep and uniform red. But in the dd modification, lightening occurs, then the pigmentation granules in the hair structure are sparse.
  5. A cat in a black-white-red tricolor. The combination is found only in females. Cats are deprived of this color because of the only X chromosome, to which only one allele responsible for pigmentation can join. The exception is males carrying the XXY chromosome formula. But they, as a rule, are sterile and do not take part in reproduction. Therefore, white-red with black color is the privilege of cats.
  6. Black cat with red spots. The kitten gets tortoiseshell color from two parents carrying genes for black and red hair pigmentation. Most often, girls become carriers of this combination.

Important! A total of nine colors form the main color palette of cats. A typical ginger cat must receive a gene for red pigmentation from two parents. Otherwise, it will not have a sunny color of coat.

Orange Cats Eye Colors

The eyes of a ginger cat can be any – green, orange, yellow, or blue. A separate gene responsible for the formation of a certain shade has not yet been identified, and their color, apparently, depends on the length of the coat and its color.

Breeds Of Ginger Cats

A cat with an orange color can be found both among pedigree and among outbred pets. “Ginger” can also be fluffy or short-haired.

British cat

A short-haired cat with a strong muscular body and thick silky hair. The most popular colors are smoky blue, solid, or tabby. Orange shorthair cats of the British breed are rare and there are much fewer females among them than males.

But among the British, long-haired cats sometimes come across, they look especially interesting in a white-orange color. The breeders sought to get new shades, and as a result of crossing the British cat with the Somali and Persian breeds, they fixed a luxurious lush coat in the genotype.

6 Orange Cat Breeds: Genetics & Specificity (With Pictures)

Siberian cat

Representatives of this breed have a long, fluffy coat (with hypoallergenic properties) and a double undercoat. Siberian fluffy orange cats with eyes of a rich orange-amber shade are very rare, many catteries are separately engaged only in their selection.

Even more unique are Siberian ginger cats with a striped tabby pattern and white inserts on the front and paws. There are no such animals in the group of smooth-haired pets.

6 Orange Cat Breeds: Genetics & Specificity (With Pictures)

Maine Coon (Manx raccoon cat)

A very large cat, its height can read 3.2 feet in length, and its weight exceeds 20 pounds. Unlike other breeds, which reach their maximum size by the age of 2 years, Maine Coons grow up to 3-5 years.

Orange-haired female cats are no more common among Maine Coons than among their Siberian cousins. They look very impressive thanks to large ears with predatory tassels and a strict, attentive look. There are white-orange kittens and striped orange tabby.

6 Orange Cat Breeds: Genetics & Specificity (With Pictures)

Persian cat

A breed that has become a feline brand of its own thanks to its remarkable looks and antiquity pedigree. The color of the coat of a Persian cat can be any – there are about 100 shades, while orange (red) is no exception.

The colors of orange Persians are considered in a wide range – from light to deep orange.

6 Orange Cat Breeds: Genetics & Specificity (With Pictures)

Turkish van (white cat with orange spots)

A Semi-long-haired cat, strong, graceful, on high muscular legs. The body is covered with a white coat (at least 80% of the surface), the entire tail is orange (red, chestnut) with obligatory ring inserts in a circle and the same spots at the base of the ears.

Females of the Turkish Van can be carriers of tricolor color patterns.

6 Orange Cat Breeds: Genetics & Specificity (With Pictures)

American curl

Fiery colors are not common in the American Curl, but sometimes white cats with ginger spots are found. Seals with colors like the Turkish Van can also be born – a white body, a tail painted in shades of orange, and specks around the ears.

6 Orange Cat Breeds: Genetics & Specificity (With Pictures)

Signs Associated With Ginger Cats

Ginger cats, like black cats, are haunted by all sorts of legends.

  1. It is believed that orange pets are always obstinate and too independent. In fact, there is often a very strong emotional bond between an animal and its owner.
  2. To pick up a ginger kitten on the street and bring it into the house means to attract wealth and good luck to yourself. Since the fiery color among street tramps is not more common than among their thoroughbred relatives, not everyone will smile with such happiness.
  3. Someone believes that a cat of a sunny color absorbs negative energy and protects a person from negative influences.

They also say that they purr louder than others, heal from alcoholism, predict illness and death. The only correct observation is expressed in the popular omen “a cat in the house – happiness in it.”


  • Amanda Wheatley

    Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..) Why Trust ShelterAPet? At ShelterAPet, our collective is composed of writers, veterinarians, and seasoned animal trainers with a deep passion for pets. Our team of esteemed professionals delves into extensive research to deliver trustworthy insights on a broad spectrum of pet-related subjects. We anchor our evaluations on direct customer experiences, meticulous testing, and comprehensive scrutiny. Our commitment is to uphold transparency and integrity for our cherished community of pet aficionados and prospective pet parents.