Dilute Calico Cat: What Makes Their Coat Aesthetically Muted?

Dilute calico cat playing with a stuffed mouse

Let’s be honest for a second — not all of us are fans of the calico cat’s vivid coloring. Sure, the tri-colored coat is a sight to behold, but the saturation of each color may throw off some cat fanciers. 

If you happen to feel the same way, you might be interested to learn about the dilute calico cat.

This adorable furball does not exhibit distinct shades, making them perfect for those after a cat with a muted calico pattern. Read on to find out more about them!

What Is a Dilute Calico Cat?

Cute dilute calico kitten with flower toy

A dilute calico cat is not a separate breed of cat but a variety of calico coloration. They also manifest a tri-colored coat, but the tones are relatively muted. Instead of white, orange, and black, dilute calico cats have cream, blonde, and gray coat colors.

According to studies, the presence of calicos with a lighter coat can be attributed to the dilution gene. Non-dilute parents may carry this gene, so you shouldn’t be surprised if a standard calico bears a dull coated offspring.

Despite the variation in color, dilute calicos showcase the same behavior specific to the breed where they occur. This will be discussed in detail later, as well as the detailed genetic makeup of this type of calico cat.

What Is the Difference Between a Calico and a Dilute Calico?

Technically speaking, a dilute calico is just a sub-type of the calico cat. Hence, categorizing them as a separate coat color or pattern is incorrect.

A calico cat or a standard calico has a tri-colored coat. The shades that make up their fur are usually white, orange/red, and black.

However, it is also possible for them to sport red, cream, bluish-black, or chocolate fur color combinations, which are carefully intermingled with each other.

Here is a picture of a calico cat for your reference:

Calico cat sitting outdoor

As mentioned earlier, dilute calico cats have a lighter coat than standard calicos. Instead of the white, orange, and black coat, dilutes have cream, gray, and strawberry blonde coloring due to the dilution gene.

Below is a picture of a dilute calico cat:

Dilute calico picture

It is rumored that dilute calico cats are prone to various health issues due to their lighter coat. There is no truth in this assumption, as any scientific research does not prove this.

What Cat Breeds Can Be Dilute Calico?

The common misconception of cat novices is that the dilute calico coloration only occurs in a single breed or it is a breed in itself.

The dilute calico is seen in various cats as a coat type, albeit being represented in different coat patterns.

Some cat breeds that sport the calico coloration are the following:

  • Maine Coon
  • Persian
  • Manx
  • Scottish Fold
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • American Shorthair
  • British Shorthair
  • Arabian Mau
  • Turkish Van
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Turkish Angora
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Siberian

Meanwhile, most pointed breeds do not allow calico coloring, such as the Himalayan or Siamese.

Dilute Calico Cat Appearance: What Does a Dilute Calico Cat Look Like?

Potrait of fluffy dilute calico cat sitting at home

As established in the former sections, a dilute calico cat has a lighter coat than standard calicos. They have tri-color fur, which is mostly 25% to 75% cream, with large patches of blonde/gold and gray/blue fur.

The cream coat usually serves as the base, while the gray and blonde can develop into various unique patterns. 

In terms of their other physical features, these are ultimately breed-specific. Of course, a dilute calico Maine Coon is distinct from a dilute calico Turkish Angora.

It would be best to review breed standards if you want a detailed description of your dilute calico’s eyes, nose, paw pads, etc.

Dilute calicos are often mistaken as dilute Torties because of the gold and gray fur. Thus, the best identifier of a dilute calico is the presence of cream fur alongside gold and gray.

This is widely accepted in the United States, but in Canada, dilute calico cats are referred to as dilute tortoiseshell and white.

Dilute Calico Cat Size and Weight: How Big Do Dilute Calico Cats Get When Fully Grown?

Dilute calico cats can grow anywhere from 5 to 25 pounds. Meanwhile, they usually stand at 7 to 40 inches depending on various factors, but the most influential is their breed.

There is no scientific evidence that connects calico colors to the size of any feline. Thus, it would be best to consult officially recognized breed standards if you want to learn about the size of a certain calico.

Here is the size description of various breeds that manifest the dilute calico coloring:

Cat Breed With Dilute Calico ColoringAverage HeightAverage Weight
Maine Coon8 – 40 inches5 – 25 pounds
Persian10 – 15 inches7 – 12 pounds
Manx7 – 10 inches8 – 12 pounds
Scottish Fold8 – 10 inches9 – 13 pounds
Japanese Bobtail8 – 9 inches6 – 12 pounds
American Shorthair8 – 10 inches10 – 15 pounds
British Shorthair12 – 14 inches7 – 17 pounds
Arabian Mau8 – 19 inches8 – 16 pounds
Turkish Van9 – 11 inches7 – 18 pounds
Norwegian Forest9 – 12 inches13 – 20 pounds
Turkish Angora8 – 10 inches5 – 10 pounds
Exotic Shorthair10 – 12 inches10 – 12 pounds
Siberian9 – 11 inches10 – 20 pounds

Note that all these measurements are just average sizes. Your dilute calico cat may be lighter or bigger depending on their genes, food intake, health status, and exercise frequency.

Are Dilute Calico Cats Rare?

Given the rarity of standard calicos, you may be wondering if their dilute cousins are also uncommon.

Well, dilute calico cats, with their pastel-like coats, are indeed rare. In fact, they are even more challenging to find than the standard calicos.

It is said that for every 1,000 cats born, only one is a standard calico. Now imagine how scarce dilute calicos are given that they are much rarer.

This can be attributed to the fact that this coat is hard to breed intentionally since the dilution gene is recessive.

Dilute Calico Cat Genetics: What Causes the Beautiful Colors of Dilute Calico Cats?

Dilute calico kitty playing with its toy

The genetics of dilute calico cats are so complex that breeders often fail to achieve their muted coat.

Nevertheless, many feline researchers claim that for a cat to showcase a lighter coat, it must inherit three types of genes:

  • Mosaic Gene: The mosaic gene allows two colors to be expressed instead of a single hue.
  • Dilution Gene: This recessive gene alters the saturation or tone of the black and red colors, so they become gray and golden.
  • White Spotting Gene: The white spotting gene causes the white color, which turns into cream due to the dilution gene.

It is only when all these genetic markers are present can a calico cat be dilute. This is most especially true for the dilution gene that is responsible for softening pigments.

In addition, since the dilution gene is recessive, it is inherited from “both” parents. However, this does not require two dilute calicos to produce another.

Some calico cats that carry the dilution gene do not manifest a subtle coloration, but they can pass it to their offspring.

Dilute Calico Cat Temperament and Personality: Are Dilute Calico Cats Good House Pets?

It is widely believed that dilute calico cats are sweet and endearing. Many cat owners also describe them as intelligent, affectionate, and warm-hearted, so they get along well with any family member, including children.

Nevertheless, if you want to learn about your calico’s accurate temperament and personality, you must identify your cat’s breed.

Most often than not, the behavior of a calico cat is similar to its other colored cousins, but then again, it is breed-specific.

Here are some of the most common calico cat breeds and an overview of their overall disposition:

  • Maine Coon: Dilute calico Maine Coons are gentle and sweet-tempered. They can adapt quickly to different environments as long as there is space for them to play. They are also quite loud, but not in an annoying way.
  • Persian: Persian cats are docile in general so expect their dilute variety to manifest the same characteristic. They are very gentle and sweet, but this is only addressed to a person they trust.
  • Manx: Dilute calico Manx cats are ideal family pets since they are calm and sweet. They get along with anyone, and they don’t easily get upset.
  • Scottish Fold: Dilute Scottish Folds love playing games and spending time with their family. They are more energetic than most lap cats, but their temperament is relatively even.

The four breeds above are just some of the many felines that have the calico coat. Evidently, they have differences in the way they behave, which further proves my point.

Boxing a calico cat to certain traits and characteristics is problematic since they exist in many breeds that are distinct from one another. 

The internet is a fount of inaccurate information about cat temperaments, so better consult published standards before associating a specific personality to a cat variety — in this case, the dilute calico cats.

Dilute Calico Cat Lifespan and Health Issues: Do Dilute Calico Cats Have Health Problems?

Dilute calico cat resting on railing

There is no scientific proof that the dilution gene affects the longevity of a cat’s life.

This also applies to dilute calicos which can enjoy a fun and active life until about 15 years based on the average lifespan of the felines I mentioned above.

In terms of health issues, they are also susceptible to the following ailments common in most cat breeds:

  • Klinefelter’s Syndrome: Klinefelter’s syndrome occurs when a cat has an extra X chromosome, leading to cognitive and developmental problems, diabetes, and broken bones.
  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD): Some of the causes of FLUTD are stress, multi-cat household, and obesity. Symptoms include bloody urine, strain in urinating, and licking the urinary area.
  • Vomiting: This can be caused by an infection, urinary tract disease, diabetes, and others. Often, this leads to dehydration which can lead to multiple health issues.

If you want to ensure that your dilute calico cat lives a full life, bring them to the vet immediately if they demonstrate any of the following health issues above.

Spending money to cure these diseases before they get out of hand is wiser than spending thousands as the time comes. 

Dilute Calico Cat Grooming Needs: How to Groom a Dilute Calico Cat?

Depending on the breed of your dilute calico, you would need to brush it every other day. But most professional groomers suggest once a week to remove possible tangles and mats, especially for long-haired varieties.

Aside from brushing, you also need to carefully check their skin for possible issues such as fleas or rashes since their tri-colored coat may hide all these.

The good thing is since their colors are muted, it is relatively easier to spot their skin issues than standard calicos.

In terms of bathing, your dilute calico can very well take care of itself. However, if they played in the mud or got very dirty, that’s where you come in.

You must wash them using a high-quality cat shampoo to preserve the texture and color of their fur.

Here are some other basic grooming routines you shouldn’t skip:

  • Clean their ears once a week and check for any infection or debris.
  • Examine their paws from time to time to ensure that they don’t have any wounds. Their feet need to be in good shape to scratch and land properly whenever they are doing some weird acrobatics while playing.
  • Trim their nails, brush their teeth, and clean their eyes for any tearing or crust.

If all these tips seem challenging to you, you can always bring them to a groomer.

These professionals are experts in maintaining pets and are aware when certain changes in your dilute calico’s fur need medical attention.

How Much Is a Dilute Calico Cat Worth? Kitten Prices and Other Expenses

According to most catteries, dilute calico cats may cost around $400 to $2,000, but often, they are sold at the higher end since they are obviously rare. 

Male calico cats are even more expensive since they are next to non-existent. They may be twice the price of females, but we cannot be sure since it is pretty challenging to find a breeder who has one in possession.

If you want to save some bucks in buying a dilute calico, consider adopting from a local shelter or rescue. This will only run you about $60 to $200, which is way cheaper and nobler than buying from a breeder.

Apart from the initial cost of purchasing the dilute calico cat, you would also need to invest in some essential items that can help you seamlessly transition your dilute calico from the cattery to your home.

These include food, litter box, bed, scratching post, toys, carrier, brush, and others which may amount to $400 to $1,000 depending on the brand and quality.

There are also vet visits, insurance, grooming, and other services that you would need to avail of at some point. Thus, you must prepare a thousand dollars more.

Places to Find Dilute Calico Kittens for Sale and Adoption

Dilute calico kitten for sale or adoption

Have you decided if dilute calico cats are the right pet for you? Great!

Here is a list of trusted breeders and catteries where you can find these rare kitties for sale:

  • CatsNow – This is a website where breeders can post their available kittens, including dilute calico cats. There are helpful filters such as location, distance, breed, and color pattern, which can help you find a dilute calico kitty in no time.
  • Petfinder – Petfinder offers a directory of available calico cats all over the United States. To find a calico kitty near you, all you have to do is input your city, state, or zip, and voila! They’ll show you all the available kitties that can possibly be your next pet.
  • Dollface Persian Kittens – This breeder has been producing dilute calico Persian kittens since 1989. You can review their website for the list of available cats and the details for reservation and payment.

Meanwhile, here are some adoption websites and rescues where you can look for a rescued dilute calico:

  • Adopt-a-Pet – This is an online directory where you can find dilute cats that are neglected or abandoned. Most rescue organizations have also partnered with Adopt-a-Pet to advertise their rescued cats, so you’ll indeed find a dilute calico here.
  • Southern Counties Rescue – This is a cat rescue situated in Orange County. They’ve been rescuing and rehoming cats, including the dilute calico, since 2002. Southern Counties Rescue also has a community foster program, and they facilitate cat education and assistance.
  • Kitten Rescue – This rescue is located in Los Angeles and has been around since 1997. They have already rehomed over 21,000 kittens and some of which are dilute calicos. Their adoption fee is $120, but if the cat is already ten years old and above, this fee is reduced to 50%.

Do enough research and show these rescues that you are really interested in owning a dilute calico to ace the adoption process.

At the same time, prepare yourself physically and emotionally since looking after a cat is no easy job.

READ NEXT: 11 Ways to Find Free Kittens in Your Area for Adoption (2021)

Dilute Calico Cat Name Ideas

Are you excited to name your dilute calico cat? Here are some name ideas for you to choose from:

  • Patches
  • Bunny
  • Tigger
  • Poppet
  • Tinkerbell
  • Miss Waffles
  • Bean
  • Gidget
  • Whiskers
  • Cheeto
  • Thunder
  • Trixie
  • Truffles
  • Vivienne
  • Celeste
  • Mochi
  • Felicia
  • Pom-Pom
  • Haru
  • Siouxsie

In choosing the name of your dilute calico, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just make sure that it suits their personality, and it isn’t too long that you would find it difficult to call them. Have fun choosing a name!

Frequently Asked Questions

Three colored dilute calico cat

Can Dilute Calico Cats Be Male?

Dilute calico cats can be male; however, this case is very rare. This is because the coat of tri-color cats, like the dilute calico, is related to their sex chromosomes.

To illustrate, dilute calicos carry two X chromosomes, thus making them females. Meanwhile, male calico cats usually have XY chromosomes. 

It is only possible for dilute male calico cats to exist if they get an extra X chromosome, making their configuration XXY.

However, dilute calicos born with this additional chromosome can have Klinefelter syndrome and be sterile.

Are Dilute Calico Cats Hypoallergenic?

Dilute calico cats are not hypoallergenic because no cat is. However, unlike other heavy shedding breeds which exhibit different color patterns, such as the Ragamuffin, American Curl, and Chartreux, dilute calicos do not trigger extreme allergic reactions to humans. That’s why many cat lovers favor them as house pets.

Are Dilute Calico Cats High Maintenance?

The maintenance needs of dilute calico cats will depend on their breed. Those that sport longer coats need more frequent grooming, among others.

Similarly, breeds that are too clingy, like the dilute calico Persian cats, need more attention from their owners. It would be best to read respective breed standards to identify whether a dilute calico will be high maintenance.

Final Thoughts: Should You Get a Dilute Calico Cat?

Dilute calico cats are well-loved by many cat fanciers, but only a limited number of people currently own them. They are rarer than standard calicos so expect that they also cost more.

Before going on a dilute calico hunt, it would be better to assess whether you are really fit for cat-owning. If you just want them because they are famous “money cats,” you should reconsider.

Owning these muted cats isn’t exactly a breeze to own, so intensive preparation both emotionally and financially is required.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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