When you stumble across a calico cat, you know you have something special. The blend of black, orange, and white always looks stunning. And you never know what pattern you’ll get! Every calico looks unique. It’s one of the best parts of sharing your life with a calico. These beautiful cats take your breath away. And they deserve a name that captures that amazement. Why settle for “Patches” or “Callie” when you can choose something special? Luckily for you, we have 108 calico cat names that break the mold. Your lovely calico will hold their tail up with pride with any of these name options!
Calicos aren’t common coat colors – and for a good reason. Getting a calico cat is DIFFICULT. You need the proper genetic conditions for calico fur to show up. And it starts with parents carrying genes for a black coat and an orange coat. The genes for cat fur color are carried on the X chromosome (B=orange, b=black).
Male cats? They’re usually solid in color. And why? Because males only have one X chromosome (more on that in a second). They get either the B or b gene. That means a black or orange cat. But females? They have two X chromosomes, so they have a chance at some gene scrambling. And now and then, they end up with a B and b together. The two colors DON’T cancel each other out. Instead, they lead to a cat with patches of BOTH.
How? It’s a process called lyonization. One of the chromosomes in a cell curls up and forms a Barr body. This prevents the genes from expressing. Lyonization is RANDOM in every cell. Some of the cat’s cells decide to express a B gene, while others express the b gene. And as the cells divide and grow, you get patches of orange or black. Voila! A calico cat’s born! Of course, you still need to account for the white you see. That’s due to piebalding. And that’s ANOTHER gene affecting skin color. When the three get together? You have the distinct tri-colored coat of the calico.
Now, you CAN find male calicos, but it’s RARE. In fact, only one out of THREE THOUSAND males will develop the calico pattern. This is due to a condition known as Klinefelter (and it happens in humans, too). The male cats end up with two X chromosomes, allowing for the B and b gene combination. However, because they have that extra chromosome, these males usually end up sterile.
Types of Calicos
Most people think “calico” when they see three coat colors combined. However, there are different types of calicos. The combination of the colors, and how dark they appear, determines what kind of calico you have:
- Calico: These kitties have white in their mixture.
- Dilute: When the black and orange soften to grey and peach, you have a dilute on your hands.
- Tortoiseshell: If you don’t see patches of white, your cat is considered a tortoiseshell.
Calico Cat Mythology
With such a special hair coat, calico cats have carved out their place in our mythology. You’ll find calicos popping up in every culture – and, surprisingly, the legends all have a positive slant! People knew they were looking at felines with something more (possibly due to no two calicos looking alike). They’re one of the few felines to earn unique names around the globe, too:
- Glückskatze: For the Germans, these cats stood out, and the word translates to “lucky cat.”
- Lapjeskat: Holland capitalizes on the pattern of the calico coat, calling them “patches cat.”
- Tobi mike: In Japan, these stunning felines have a name that means “triple fur.”
Calico cats held a special place in our earliest stories. And some of those legends can provide the perfect inspiration for calico cat names.
The Greek myth of Hercules refers to the servant, Galanthis. Desperate to prevent Hera from interfering with Hercules’s birth, Galanthis tricked the goddess into believing the demi-god had already been delivered. Unfortunately, Hera uncovered the deception and changed Galanthis into a calico cat.
Ceaileacó (Irish for calico) cats held the power to heal – or so old tales would have you believe. If you rubbed one of these magical feline’s tails over a wart, the blemish would disappear.
The Germans weren’t the only ones to associate calicos and luck. Japanese sailors preferred these tri-colored felines over any others when they went out to sea. They believed the cats brought luck. And that’s why the popular Maneki Neko statues you find around Japan usually sport calico patterns.
In the United States, calicos were considered SO lucky, they were named “money cats.” Keeping a calico in your home was rumored to bring your household good fortune- literally!
Calico Cat Names
With so many possibilities in pattern and shade, calico cats stand out from the crowd. The ideas for calico cat names are endless. You can choose from ANY possibility! These felines are so stunning to look upon, and they deserve names that reflect their beauty. (I know, you can find the occasional male, but most calicos are female) It’d be such a shame to choose a boring, standard name. Your unique feline deserves something that stands out – precisely the way they do. And with all of their colors? You can peruse our entire name database! Or you can use these 108 calico cat names to get your imagination firing on all cylinders.
Famous Calico Cat Names
From television and the silver screen to the real world, calico cats have captured the world’s attention. They’re so beautiful! And since you can’t possibly mistake one for another, it’s easy for them to stick out in our minds. Why not use one of these notorious felines as a start on your calico cat name journey? At least you’re precious kitty will be in good company!
- Bombalurina: One of only two calicos in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s production of Cats (Jemima, the kitten, is the other).
- Delia: You don’t get much better than tribute on a musical album. Freddie Mercury dedicated Innuendo to this lady.
- Inga: This working calico was the chief mouser at the Mount Washington Observatory until 1993.
- London: What other cat can claim the title of Vice President of Claims at Lloyd’s of London?
- Marzipan: Vistors to the Astor Theatre, shared the shows with this calico until 2013.
- Mochi: This chubby feline featured in Disney’s hit Big Hero 6.
- Pig: For some reason, Hollywood likes making calicos fat, and this feline companion in Home is no exception.
- Pudge: A fan of tri-colors? Odds are you already follow her Instagram feed.
- Rainbow: Perhaps not as famous as her daughter, CC (Copy Cat), Rainbow was the donor to the first cloned cat – who proved cloning calicos is tougher than it looks!
- Selima: This lovely calico lived with Earl Horace Walpole and served as inspiration for Thomas Gray’s “Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.” (Okay, I know – kind of morbid, but, unfortunately, the cat did succumb to a goldfish bowl)
- Sheriff Callie: Youngsters in the family probably enjoy this cartoon favorite.
- Tama: On the Kishigawa railway, a feral calico made herself at home. Now she’s the official station master!
Calico Cat Names Based on Food
So, when I started putting this list together, I felt like it’d be impossible. How are you supposed to find foods and beverages that match the colors of a calico cat? But the more I played around with the idea of mixing things, the more it came together. After all, plenty of the best culinary creations NEED specific components to work. And if you start to think about food THAT way, you’ll find plenty of calico cat name ideas. It takes a little more imagination, but when you start to think things through, your imagination soars.
- B-52 (A drink made with orange liqueur, Kahlua, and cream)
- Paprika (The orange is a close match to a typical calico)
- Saffron (When you use saffron, it changes color)
Calico Cat Names Based on Nature
Believe it or not, you CAN find these three colors in nature, if you look hard enough. And even if you’re missing a shade or two (it’s usually the white that’s omitted), there are some unique plants, animals, and minerals that make the perfect inspiration for calico cat names. After all, you have a special feline on your hands, and you want them to FEEL special with their name. Once you look around – or do a bit of careful research – you’ll start to find plenty of possibilities.
- Almandine (Garnets in red-orange hues)
- Cosima (A breed of orange rose)
- Fritillary (Butterfly species with orange, black, white, and brown)
- Garnet (These stones come in a variety of colors – including one that changes color)
- Mokara (A breed of orange orchid)
- Tiger Lily
- Viceroy (Butterfly mimic of the monarch)
- Wooly Bear
Calico Cat Names Based on Patterns
Trying to assign calico cat names based on colors doesn’t necessarily work. (Trust me, I tried finding words that worked for all three, and it came up bust) However, when you start to think in terms of PATTERNS, you strike a gold mine. Even if you can’t find a match for the specific markings of your beloved tri-color (or tortoiseshell), you can find something that evokes the beauty you’re seeing. And that’s what really matters. You want that name to dazzle every bit as much as your feline.
- Ashlar (This term’s used in stone masonry – it refers to trapezoids or squares)
Calico Cat Names Based on Popular Culture
Putting together patchwork pop culture references? Not as easy as you might think. And the trio of colors doesn’t show up that frequently, either. However, I still managed to scrape together some credible ideas for calico cat names from the movies, television, and literature. So if you want to venture down that pathway, you have some pathways you can follow.
- Catrina (Edgar Allan Poe owned a tortoiseshell – so why not name your cat after his?)
- Ernie (Yes, from Sesame Street. He has the same colors as your average calico cat)
- Mystique (With her shape-shifting abilities, this X-Men characters can wear ANY look)
- Pepita (Not precisely a cat, this alebrije from Coco features different patterns on her coat)
- Picasso (Have you seen his work? It reminds you of some of calico cats)
- Shamisen (A rare male calico, you’ll find him in the anime and manga, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Unique Calico Cat Names
You have a cat that doesn’t look like ANY other! So why not celebrate that individuality with a name that stands out from the pack? These unique calico cat names think outside of the box. They challenge everyone to think a little more and consider things from a new angle. This is perfect because these “lucky cats” deserve something special. And once you consider things in a new light, you’ll find your brain coming up with PLENTY of possibilities. I did. I had a dilute tortoiseshell a few years ago, and her name was Talisman. (No, not after the Stephen King book, though everyone asked ALL the time) The name stood out because SHE was as rare as a talisman.
- Maryland (Calicos ARE the state cats!)
Calico Cat Names – Different Languages
Obviously, coming up with different terms for “calico” may not be in the cards. But that doesn’t mean you need to close the book on different languages when you start thinking about calico cat names. You have one of the most beautiful cats out there – so why not think along those lines? Or perhaps consider something regal? Maybe even mystical? If you hit on a trait that’s important to you – or your feline! – you can find plenty of possibilities in other languages. One of the most beautiful dilute torties I ever owned came to me as a bedraggled kitten. Her siblings pulled out her whiskers, and she looked awful. But I saw the beauty underneath. So I named her Nimue, after a Celtic goddess of the moon. And she grew into that name within a few months. Names? They have POWER.
- Akimi (Japanese for “beautiful”)
- Ammon (Egyptian for “mystery”)
- Calista (Greek for “beauty”)
- Fia (Italian for “flickering fire”)
- Fiadh (Irish for “wild”)
- Gina (Italian for “queen”)
- Hayami (Japanese for “rare beauty”)
- Kamilah (Egyptian for “perfect”)
- Kiyomi (Japanese for “pure beauty”)
- Masami (Japanese for “elegant beauty”)
- Maeve (Irish for “enchanted one”)
- Niamh (Irish for “brightness”)
- Orla (Irish for “golden princess”)
- Roisin (Irish for “little rose”)
- Sybil (Irish for “fortune teller”)
- Tahiti (Hawaiian for “rising sun”)
Calico cats brighten up the world. You’ll never see two that look alike – and that’s the source of their beauty. (Perhaps their luck?) These rare beauties deserve to have calico cat names that reflect their special coats. With a little imagination, a dash of creativity, and looking outside of the usual expectations, you’ll find the perfect idea for your tri-colored feline.
Who knows? Maybe that unique name will even bring some good fortune your way.