guide to ginger cats

Ginger Cats: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Ginger cats are extremely popular as pets thanks to their friendly nature and gorgeous orange coats.

Some people think that ginger cats have their own breed but they don’t, they are simply named after their beautiful coat colour. 

These friendly felines have playful personalities and are generally high-spirited although they can sometimes be a little bit shy.

This guide gives you everything you need to know about ginger cats. 

Appearance 

Ginger cats are beautiful, they come in a wide variety of shades including red, orange and cream.

They usually have a white belly and white legs.

Many also have some white on their chest, paws and the tip of their tail. 

vivid ginger cat close up

They can have short or long hair and many ginger cats also have freckles around their nose.

Although, the freckles don’t tend to develop until around 1-2 years so if you can’t see freckles on your ginger kitten they may develop in a year or so. 

Many ginger cats have green, gold or bronze eyes.

While the size of these cats depends on the breed of cat we are specifically talking about, you can generally expect a ginger cat to weigh between 2.5 – 4.5kg. 

The “Ginger Gene” 

There is actually a “ginger gene” that is responsible for the ginger colour in cats.

The gene “O” is responsible for the red pigment, called phaeomelanin. Due to its dominance, this red pigment masks all other colours.

There is another variant of this gene called “o” which does not produce the red pigment.

sleeping ginger cat

The O gene needs to be carried on the X chromosome, male cats have one X chromosome while females have two.

This is why the majority of ginger cats are male, for a female cat to be ginger she needs to have the O chromosome on both X chromosomes.

As a result of these genetics and the increased number of combinations females can be born with, very few females end up being ginger.

A female ginger cat needs to have a fully red father and a red, calico or tortoiseshell mother. This means 80% of ginger cats are male.

A male ginger cat can come from a red, tortoiseshell or calico mother. 

Ginger Cat Coat Patterns

If you look closely at a ginger cat you will see their coat has patterns of spots, stripes or whirls.

You’ll see these patterns because rather than having a coat of one solid colour, ginger cats are actually tabby cats.

ginger tabby cat lying on back

Keep a lookout for one of these four tabby patterns on your ginger cat:

  1. Classic – this is very common and produces an almost tie-dyed look with bold swirls and large blotches. 
  2. Mackerel – this is also very common and includes stripes along the chest, body, tail and legs of the cat.
  3. Ticked – these tabbies have faint light and dark alternating bands, sometimes the pattern is not obvious but it can be seen if you look closely. A ticked tabby may have a sand-like appearance.
  4. Spotted – a spotted tabby has spots or blotches of any size on their coats. These can be completely random or in straight lines.

Behavioural Traits Of Ginger Cats

The behavioural traits can vary from one cat to another and you may be better off investigating the specific breed of cat rather than the colour.

guide to ginger cats

However, there are a few traits many ginger cat owners seem to agree on. These include:

  • Independent – these cats are independent, they love company and are very friendly but they can also handle being on their own. They can think for themselves and are not very fond of being told what to do. 
  • Bold – these cats are often brave and have a level of boldness to their personalities. This is something that comes in particularly useful when they are hunting mice. However, being so bold sometimes gets these cats into trouble as their curiosity gets the better of them. 
  • Courageous – being courageous gives ginger cats the ability to approach unknown situations with confidence. They don’t shy away from the unknown and are excellent hunters. 
  • Tolerance – ginger cats often make wonderful family pets as they are very tolerant of children and people in general. They are affectionate and make a great companion. 

Personality 

Every cat has an individual personality but generally, people who have spent time with ginger cats say they are easy-going, happy and lovable.

Some people even think they are dog-like in terms of their friendly nature and desire to be around their humans.

Ginger cats are rarely described as aloof, distant or mysterious as many other cats are. 

ginger cat being petted

Another thing you might hear about ginger cats is that they love food.

They will pretty much eat anything, anywhere, anytime.

Remember Garfield? That’s a ginger cat that loves to eat and sleep, habits many ginger cats can relate to. 

Feeding A Ginger Cat

As we mentioned, ginger cats are usually not fussy when it comes to food.

This is great but it also means you need to make sure they are fed a controlled, balanced diet.

Given the opportunity, they will over eat and will quickly gain weight. 

overweight ginger cat face

It is best to set out a feeding schedule for these cats so they are receiving the right amount of food for their breed, age and activity level.

A vet can advise you on this if you are not sure how much to feed your cat.

Keep a close eye on your cat’s weight as they can be prone to health problems such as feline diabetes too. 

Ginger Cat Breeds

There is not a single “ginger cat breed” but there is a range of cat breeds that include ginger individuals. Some of the most common breeds include:

sleeping ginger cat
  • Persian – one of the most popular breeds of cat in the world, Persians are known for their beautiful silky coat and large eyes. Persian cats come in almost every colour including orange. 
  • British Shorthair – another hugely popular family cat is the British Shorthair. This laid-back, friendly and affectionate kitty comes in many colours including a range of orange tones.
  • Munchkin – Munchkins are known for their short legs and small stature. They also come in almost every colour and you can get these kitten-like cats in ginger too. 
  • Maine Coon – these beautiful cats most commonly come in a brown tabby colour but they can also be ginger. 
  • American Bobtail – these cats have bobbed tails, fluffy faces and have a wild appearance. They are known for being smart and they come in a number of colours including ginger. 
  • Abyssinian – this breed is known for being very playful and entertaining. They are beautiful and come in a range of red and orange tones. 

This is just a few of the more popular breeds that include ginger cats.

Facts About Ginger Cats

funny ginger cat
  • 80% of ginger cats are male 
  • Ginger refers to the cat’s coat colour rather than a specific breed 
  • The lifespan of a ginger cat depends on their breed but the average life expectancy is 10-16 years
  • Ginger cats have many nicknames including Marmalade, Orange, Ginger, Gingy and Tabby. 
  • Many ginger cats have pink noses and “freckles”
  • You need to keep an eye on your ginger cat’s diet as they are big foodies and will put on weight easily

Famous Ginger Cats

It will come as no surprise to hear that there are a number of famous cats who are ginger.

For many of us, these familiar characters played an important role in causing us to fall in love with ginger cats.

garfield

You may recognise some of these famous faces:

  1. Garfield – the character of Garfield is known for being lazy ginger cat with a passion for food.
  2. Puss in Boots – another ginger cat character we all know well is Puss in Boots from Shrek. This hat-wearing, sword-bearing kitty is known for being super cute and using this as a way of distracting enemies. 
  3. Orlando – Orlando was the star of illustrated children’s books by Kathleen Hale. The 19 book series recounted the adventures of Orlando and his feline family. Orlando and his adventures were even discussed on BBC Radio’s Children’s Hour. 
  4. Orangey – Remember Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Orangey was the ginger cat who starred in the film, he was also in Rhubarb, Gigot and Our Miss Brooks! 
  5. Tango – Tango was an orange tabby cat owned by Churchill. 

Summary of Ginger Cats

Every cat is unique but this guide should give you a good idea of what ginger cats are like.

Ginger cats are generally friendly, lovable and affectionate.

They make fantastic pets and are great for families with children. 

child playing with ginger cat

You can find a range of different cat breeds that include ginger cats in a variety of shades and patterns.

Most ginger cats are male but there are some beautiful female felines with ginger coats too.

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