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Ginger Cats 101: All You Need To Know About Our Ginger Friends

Ginger Cats 101: All You Need To Know About Our Ginger Friends - KittyNook

Though technically not a cat breed, ginger cats are known for their distinct pigmentation, which can be seen in varying degrees of orange, red, and even gold. With their tiger-like appearance and fun personalities, these marmalade-colored cats are one of the most famous cats!

They even have their holiday! The Ginger Cat Appreciation Day falls yearly on the first of September. And in the spirit of this celebration, let us talk about them today.

What Makes Ginger Cats So Special?

Because the ginger cat breed does not really exist, it's hard to make generalizations regarding their personalities. That said, all orange cats do share one crucial characteristic: (aside from their pigmentation because of their ginger gene, obviously) they are all tabby cats.

Professionals attribute "tabby" to a specific coat pattern that comprises stripes, swirls, and spots of color. This pattern prevails in both wild and domestic felines.

All domestic cats bear the tabby gene, though they might not always show an obvious tabby pattern. No two ginger cats are the same, but they have specific attributes because they all lug the tabby gene. For instance, all tabbies have a distinctive M-shaped marking on their foreheads. The orange genes and other genes determine the rest of their patterning.

Ginger Cat Appearance

The most outstanding example of a wild ginger cat is the royal tiger himself. Tigers are the classic example of the tabby pattern at work, though there are many other variations.

The tabby pattern prevails among big cats, especially amongst the closest hereditary forefathers of the domestic cat—African, European, and Asiatic wildcats. Thus, tabby marking can be seen in a variety of residential feline breeds like Persian, Maine Coon, and American Bobtail, to name a few.

There are five variations of the tabby pattern you might see in these cats:

  • Classic Tabby Pattern
  • Mackerel Tabbies Pattern
  • Spotted Pattern
  • Ticked Pattern
  • Patched Pattern

We have explained these patterns in a previous blog, so I will not elaborate this here.


Ginger cats (or marmalade cats) get their orange color from a specific pigment called pheomelanin. This is similar to the pigment that is responsible for red hair in humans.

Female cats have two X chromosomes; males, on the other hand, have one X and one Y chromosome. The X chromosome carries the gene for ginger pigmentation.

When it involves fur color, cats acquire a combination of genes from their moms and dads. Surprisingly, the different colors you see in cats originate from only two branches: black and red (what we call orange).

Kittens acquire two copies of each gene from their moms and dads, either dominant or recessive. The red genetics "O" is dominant, which means a ginger kitten only needs to inherit one copy of this particular gene to display ginger coloration to some extent.

Whether a kitten shows complete or partial ginger coloration depends on the number of duplicates of the "O" genetics the kitten inherits. Male kittens need to inherit the dominant "O" genetics from their mother to be entirely orange, while ginger female kitties need to acquire it from both mom and dad.

Male kittens that inherit their mother's recessive "o" genetics will be born a calico or tortoiseshell. In a similar vein, females that acquire "Oo" can be either ginger or calico.

Since a ginger female cat should acquire two X chromosomes, there is a greater variety of possible genetic mixes. Consequently, just about 20% of ginger cats are female, and 80% are male.


20% of ginger cats are female, and 80% are male.


Although very early socializing plays the most significant role in an adult cat's personality, some anecdotal proof says cats' personalities vary between colors. Ginger tom cats have a track record of being assertive, vocal, and energetic; female Ginger cats are considered calmer and quieter.

Additionally, a survey carried out by the University of California, Berkeley, showed that cat enthusiasts were more likely to credit positive personality traits to orange cats compared with white or tortoiseshell cats. Ginger cats were commonly considered more energetic, while tortoiseshell and white cats were more aloof.

Here's A Quick Rundown of Breeds That Commonly Have the Coloring Of Ginger Cats

  • American Bobtail
  • American Curl
  • Bengal
  • British Shorthair
  • Egyptian Mau
  • Maine Coon
  • Munchkin
  • Ocicat
  • Asian Shorthair
  • Persian
  • Somali

Do Ginger Cats Make Great Pets?

Ginger cats are exceptionally popular, and numerous cat owners say that their ginger cats are pleasant and caring. However, specific character and temperament may vary, so your feline's type makeup might affect their personality.

7 Famous Ginger Cats


An orange tabby cat called Orangey (or Orangey Minerva) was the ginger feline in Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn in 1961. Orangey first debuted in the 1952 motion picture Rhubarb and became the only feline to win 2 PATSY honors in 1952 and 1962. Despite his popularity, Orangey was commonly referred to as mean.


The Marmalade Cat is the cute orange star of a series of illustrated children's books by Kathleen Hale, initially printed in 1938. Inspired by Hale's very own ginger feline, Orland, this 19-book collection tells the adventures of Orlando and also his feline household. The first book in the series titled "Orlando (The Marmalade Cat): A Camping Holiday" was an instant success, and the series finished in 1972 with "Orlando and the Water Cats."


This bi-color ginger and white feline became famous in the 1997 film Men in Black. Orion came from Gentle Rosenburg, a member of the Arquilian royal family hiding on Earth.


The film called "The Adventures of Milo and Otis" is a 1986 Japanese comedy about two pals--a ginger tabby named Milo and his best friend, a pug named Otis. In 1989, Columbia Pictures removed 15 minutes from the film and launched it in English.


Known for his idleness and love of pasta, Garfield is an American cartoon character developed by Jim Davis. A ginger cat with tiger red stripes, Garfield belongs to owner Jon Arbuckle and also spent his days terrorizing his dog brother Odie.

Puss in Boots

After his opening night in Shrek 2 in 2004, Puss in Boots became a prominent personality in the Shrek franchise business. This lively ginger feline puts on boots, a cape, and a saggy hat while carrying his sword in a belt around his midsection.

Do you have a ginger cat? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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