Meet Josie: a rare male calico cat who was thought to be a girl

Josie’s owner adopted him after losing her beloved childhood dog in November, 2021.

She was struggling with the grief of losing her animal companion, so her family decided to surprise her with Josie as a Christmas present that year.

They had found Josie on Craiglist, and as he was a calico it was assumed he was a girl, so he was advertised as such.

It wasn’t until his owner took him to the vet after Christmas that she found out he was a boy all along.

She named him Josie, now Jo for short.

Calico kitten sleeping on owner who is wearing a blue hoodie
Even as a kitten Jo’s paws wear so big! Pic credit: @xxycalico/Instagram.

A rarity

Male calico cats are an incredibly rare genetic abnormality.

“Male calicos are the unicorns of the cat world.”

Laura Moss

This is because only females carry the combination of chromosomes needed for the calico pattern.

Calico is not a breed of cat but a coat pattern; the tricolor of black, white, and ginger of a cats fur makes them a calico cat.

For cats, the color of their coat is what’s called a “sex-linked trait”, meaning that their colors are linked to their chromosomes.

Female cats usually have XX chromosomes, and male cats usually have XY.

It is the XX chromosomes of female cats that give them the chance of being calico.

Male calico cats are a rarity because the color pattern only occurs when male cats have three chromosomes, specifically XXY.

This is estimated to occur in approximately one in every 3,000 cats, and even then the chances of it resulting in a male calico is a chance among many.

Calico cat stretching out his front paws while he lays on his back exposing his belly
He may be rare but he still acts like every other cat! Pic credit: @xxycalico/Instagram.

Some male calico cats can develop health problems as a result of their XXY chromosomes known as Klinefelter syndrome.

They are often sterile and cannot reproduce, and are also at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

But this doesn’t mean they can’t live full healthy lives.

And Josie seems to be doing just that!

Calico cat wearing a blue harness and lead while laying in the grass by some rocks
Josie is one handsome boy enjoying the outdoors safely with a harness. Pic credit: @xxycalico/Instagram.

Josie’s owner takes good care of him, and he has returned the love in kind.

His owner credits him with helping her come to terms with the loss of her childhood dog late last year.

He has been a great emotional support to her during a tough time, and she endeavors to be there for him for the rest of his life.

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