Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Cuteness of Calicos

Rue and Runway: dilute and traditional calico cats
All cats are beautiful, and their different coloring is part of their beauty, from the sleek elegance of the black cat to the leonine lure of orange kitties, from the cream-and-sable delicacy of the Siamese to the wild leopard spots of the Bengal. 

But calico cats are special. With their tricolor coats and unpredictable markings, they stand out in a crowd. Their Dutch name is lapjeskat (for 'patches cat,' not 'lap cat,' although they can be both!), and in Japan they are known as mi-ke (for 'triple fur') and considered lucky. Associated with prosperity, they are sometimes known as "money cats." 
Japanese maneki neko or lucky cat

When a calico kitten is born, you can say, with 99% certainty, "It's a girl!" The genetic markers for the distinctive calico coloring can only be found in the X chromosome, and only two X chromosomes (not the XY of male cats) can result in this unusual color palette. 

At Miri's House, we've had the pleasure of fostering three calico cats, and while we can't say they've lived up to their reputation as "money cats," we still consider ourselves lucky to have known them. 

The first calico was Marilyn, the only calico in beautiful red foster cat Miri's litter of four kittens. Named for her Marilyn Monroe-like beauty spot, little Marilyn took after her namesake in another way: the camera loved her, and she loved to pose. And why not? This kitten was seriously adorable.

Pin-up calico girl Marilyn
 Not only was she almost illegally cute, Marilyn the kitten had a personality to match: sweet, friendly, and playful. A friend was planning to adopt a kitten from Miri's litter, and she had wanted an orange kitten, but when her son met Marilyn, it was love at first sight. Marilyn was the first kit of the litter to be adopted.

Marilyn the MeerKitten

Marilyn's new mom named her Carlotta, in honor of a deceased family member. Carlotta had two kitty siblings to play with, Precious and Bherr, and a new family that adored her. Today, Carlotta is all grown up, more beautiful than ever, and a treasured part of the family. In fact, Carlotta is so loved that she will be part of her mom's life forever, thanks to this amazing work of tattoo artistry.

Carlotta: love that's more than skin deep!

Runway, a striking traditional calico with black, orange, and white coloring, and her daughter Rue, an unusual dilute calico with silky grey fur blending into muted orange and white shades, are still in foster care, waiting for just the right person to fall in love with this bonded pair and give them a home together. 

Our wish is that every cat can find a forever home as loving as the one Carlotta found. 

Please donate to Miri's House so we can continue to foster cats and kittens who don't yet have the homes they deserve. Thanks for your support.

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