Sunday, August 27, 2023

Are female ginger cats rare?

The question refers to domestic cats and the belief that the ginger coat colour (called 'red' by the cat fancy) is sex linked meaning that red tabbies and solid reds are usually male. 

Red spotted tabby Oriental SH
Lithe, svelte red tabby Oriental Shorthair. Photo: ARN.

I would like to refer to Sarah Hartwell of the website on the matter of ginger cat genetics and the reason why there are more male ginger cats than female ginger cats. Here is her explanation:

The ginger gene changes black pigment into a reddish pigment. The ginger gene is carried on the X chromosome. A normal male cat has XY genetic makeup so he only needs to inherit one ginger gene for him to be a ginger cat. A normal female is XX genetic makeup so she must inherit two ginger genes to be a ginger cat. If she inherits only one ginger gene, she will be tortoiseshell with some ginger areas and some black/brown areas.

Thanks Sarah. If you'd like to see her webpage on this please click here.

She confirms that female ginger domestic cats are less common than male ginger domestic cats but they are NOT rare.

Breeders can mate ginger males and ginger females to produce ginger offspring. 

So, what percentage of ginger cats are male? Sarah does not provide an answer to that question but it seems to be about an 80:20 percent split in favour of males.

If that is accurate about one fifth (1 in 5) of red tabby and solid red domestic cats are female and four fifths (4 in 5) are male.

Hope this helps.

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