8 astonishing facts about ginger cats

Hangai Lilla

2024. March 1 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

When it comes to ginger cats, most people immediately think of Garfield. That sassy, Monday-hating, lasagna-loving, slightly chubby orange tabby. And yet, everyone adored him. Just like ginger cats in general.


So let’s see what there is to know about the fascinating appearance and history of the ginger cats.

Orange tabby Maine coon

1. If it’s ginger, it’s also tabby

All ginger fur is always tabby as well. Calico and tortoiseshell cats can have ginger patches on them that are not tabby patterned.

The gingerlike coat of Abyssinian cats is also not entirely ginger; their pattern is called agouti, resulting in multiple shades on each hair strand. Agouti is a very ancient coloring found not only in dogs and cats but also in wild animals like rabbits and squirrels.

2. They share this trait with red-haired humans

The same pigment responsible for the ginger fur color in cats is responsible for the red hair color in humans, and that’s pheomelanin. The exact shade of ginger is regulated by other genes working alongside pheomelanin, whether it’s creamy or bright orange.

3. More males sport this shade than females

Around 80% of ginger cats are male, and this can be attributed to genetics. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y. Since the gene responsible for ginger fur is located on the X chromosome, female cats would need to have the ginger gene on both X chromosomes. In contrast, male cats only need it on their single X chromosome.

4. They often have freckles

Orange tabbies often have dark freckles around their noses or on their gums. This is due to a genetic condition called lentigo, which causes an increase in the number of pigment-producing cells. Lentigo is common in tortoiseshell and calico-patterned cats as well.

Although there’s no cause for concern, it’s still worth keeping an eye on your pet, and if you notice any suspicious changes, take them to the vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Freckles on a ginger cat

5. Winston Churchill was also a big fan

More precisely, of a certain ginger cat named Jock. After the death of the UK Prime Minister in 1965, he left his home to the nation on the condition that Jock could live there undisturbed until his death.

6. Orange cats tend to grow bigger

While there’s not a huge difference in size between cats of different fur shades and ginger cats, it’s observed that they tend to grow slightly larger. This is likely because most ginger cats are males. There hasn’t been any research yet on whether there’s any genetic basis for this size difference.

7. Their predatory instinct is more pronounced

A 2016 study investigated whether certain physical characteristics of purebred cats are associated with specific behavioral patterns. They found that most behavioral patterns are related to breed standards rather than fur color and type. However, interestingly, ginger tabbies showed increased interest in prey.

8. They are considered the most talkative and friendly

Many owners claim that ginger cats have a special aura and are always friendlier and more talkative than their differently colored counterparts. A study was conducted on this topic in 2012, reaching the same conclusion, attributing characteristic traits to other shades as well. However, a subsequent study in 2016 refuted any correlation between fur color and personality traits. What are your experiences regarding this?

agouti cat colour cat fur ginger cat orange cat

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