What Exactly is So Special About Ginger Cats?

Author: Kari | September 01, 2021 | Updated July 20, 2022
ginger cats, orange cats, tabby cats
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Photo by calvin chai opQghKPMxWg unsplash

A favorite of both cat owners and popular culture, rare ginger kitties show off beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow fur often adorned with unique white stripes. Although their fiery coloring could make them special all on their own, there are multiple reasons that ginger cats win over so many hearts. And one of them is the fact that they get their own yearly holiday—”Ginger Cat Appreciation Day” on September 1st!

Ginger Cat Appreciation Day

Melanie Andersen on Unsplash

Why Are Ginger Cats So Friendly?

A common misconception about these felines is that their fire-like colors indicate a harsh temperament. This is because, as humans, we tend to associate bright, warm colors, like orange and red, with the feeling of anger, while cooler colors, like black and brown, we tend to associate with calm feelings or sadness. By that logic, any cat with warm-colored fur should be a force to reckon with, shouldn’t it?

However, ginger cats are known to have very friendly, docile temperaments, just as cats of any color can have. In red-headed kitties, though, the genetics that give them their orange hues of fur are the same genetics that give them cool and collected personalities, so it’s very rare to find a ginger cat that will be standoffish to you!

Ginger Cats are Rare

Why Are Ginger Cats So Rare?

Just as with redheaded humans, redheaded kittens must have just the right genes to grow fiery fur.

In both cats and people, hair/fur color is determined by a combination of dominant and recessive traits, and in both species, red coloring is a recessive trait. Just as taught in many high school biology classes, we learn that dominant traits always win over recessive ones, unless there are no dominant traits present. In that case, 2 recessive traits of red coloring must be present for the red to show through. Because genetics must align perfectly for this to happen, cats with ginger hair are rare!

Ginger Cat - Who Me?

Amber Kipp on Unsplash

Are Ginger Cats Always Male?

Not all ginger cats are male, but most of them are. This goes back to that biology lesson in dominant/recessive traits because, in cats, these traits are attached to the X chromosomes only. Female cats have 2 X chromosomes while males have both an X and Y, and females need the ginger coloring to show on both of their chromosomes to become a full ginger cat while males only need the coloring to come through on their single X chromosome to become a ginger.

When all is said and done, about 80% of all ginger cats are male, while only 20% are female, all because of these genetic matchups!

Ginger cats are rare, but they’re extremely lovable and colorful. Any cat owner who that’s lucky enough to have one, too, should remember why they’re so special every day, not just today, on “Ginger Cat Appreciation Day!”

About the Author

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Kari

Kari is a long-time pet lover and owner. She has experience raising cats, dogs, rabbits, and aquatic life. Whenever she's not writing, she's probably baking homemade dog treats or camping with her family and their own four-legged friends![...] Author Details

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