1. Are Calicos always female?
The key word here is “always”. The short answer to the question is no. But let’s be precise: just one out of every 3,000 calico kitties born is a male, reports the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri. Why is the beautiful calico color pattern so prevalent among female felines? It’s all in the genetics.
The calico pattern includes three colors: black, orange and white, usually in large blocks. A cat’s coat color is a sex-linked trait. That means this aspect of your cat’s physical appearance is linked to his/her gender.
Think back to your high school science class: males possess XY sex chromosomes, while females have XX. The genetic coding for displaying black or orange color is found on the X chromosome, explains Janet Tobiassen, DMV. For this reason, female cats can display black AND orange, while males, with their single X chromosone, usually display one or the other. The genetic coding for white is a completely separate gene!
So if boys have just one X chromosone, how is it possible for them to ever turn up with a calico pattern? That one cat in 3,000 is what scientists call a Klinefelter male, named after the doctor who discovered this condition, which isn’t limited to the cat population. Klinefelter males have three sex chromosomes: XXY. With the extra X chromosome, they have a shot at displaying white, black and orange. If you have a male calico, treasure him! They are rare indeed, and are usually sterile and thus unable to pass down their unusual genetic coding, explains Marty Becker, DVM.
2. Do cats eat grass when they are sick?
This cat myth is mostly false. Typically, a kitty who’s dining on grass is feeling perfectly fine. Eating grass is completely harmless for felines, as long as it’s not been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, or any other lawn chemicals. In fact, grass consumption can actually be beneficial for cats, explains petMD. Grass contains properties that assist with digestion, and it’s rich in certain nutrients, which may be why this myth took hold to begin with.
Grass contains folic acid, just like a mama cat’s milk. When your cat consumes grass, the folic acid can help essential bodily functions and assists in hemoglobin production, which promotes oxygen movement in the blood.
Eating a bit of grass can help your kitty clear out her digestive system, so it’s possible that her “gut” instinct draws her toward it when she needs a cleanse. Or it may just be pure coincidence! Either way, cats tend to regurgitate grass after they’ve eaten it because they lack the natural enzymes to break down vegetable matter, explains petMD. This is nothing to worry about– just a natural response. But it can be helpful for kitties who need to clean out their digestive tracts. It’s also a sort of natural laxative and can help break down fur balls in your cat’s digestive system.
So if your cat enjoys feasting on the lawn every now and then, you can feel confident she’s probably perfectly healthy! As mentioned earlier, just be sure the grass she munches on has not been treated by any chemicals. If you’d like to give your kitty a safe & delicious treat, consider growing cat grass in your home instead.
To eat or not to eat! That is the question.