They’re furry, they’re friendly, they’re a little goofy, and they may even like lasagna, according to classic comic strips. Ginger cats are something special, so of course they have their own holiday. Ginger Cat Appreciation Day is September 1. Let’s mark the occasion by learning some fun facts about these cuddly felines!
They Come in a Variety of Flavors
All ginger cats are tabbies, and their coats can follow several different patterns. That includes the mackerel pattern, with narrow stripes on their sides, rings around their tails and legs, and the tabby M shape on their foreheads. There’s also the classic pattern, which sort of looks like tie dye; the ticked coat, which is stripe-free and speckled; and a spotted pattern, which, like the name indicates, comes with oval and spotted areas. Their fur may also be a bit on the golden or cream-colored side!
There are some cat breeds that often feature a ginger coat, too, including Maine Coons, British shorthairs, and Persians.
Most Are Male, And It’s Down to Genetics
If you see a ginger cat, it’s probably a boy. Only around one in five ginger kitties is female, which is due to genetics. The ginger gene comes from the X chromosome, and females have two X chromosomes, meaning they have to inherit the gene from both of their parents to be orange. As males have XY chromosomes, they only need to inherit it from their mothers.
Male gingers father tortoiseshell or ginger females. If he has a litter with a female ginger cat, all their kittens will be ginger.
True to Their Redhead Nature, They Often Have Freckles
Human redheads tend to be freckly, and so are their feline counterparts. Ginger cats will sometimes develop black freckles around their mouths and noses. This is due to a genetic condition called lentigo, that increases the number of pigment-producing cells in the skin. The genetic cause is linked to their orangeness, so you’ll often find them in calicos and tortoiseshells, too.
They’re Widely Regarded As Among the Friendliest Cats
While individual cats’ personalities can run the gamut, cat owners believe strongly that ginger cats are among the most friendly felines, both with their humans and strangers. Self-report surveys and studies have confirmed this general belief. Whether it’s actually true or not likely can’t be proven, but their reputation proceeds them.
Male cats are also believed to be friendlier than female cats, and as most ginger cats are boys, this could be a possible reason behind increased amiability.
Male and Female Ginger Cats Have a Big Size Disparity
Male cats are bigger than female cats in general, but research from Australia found a bigger size difference between male and female ginger cats, primarily because the boys were bigger on average than other boys, and the girls were smaller than their sisters of other coat colors. So if you’ve noticed your orange boy seems pretty big, science may back you up.
Their Behavior Has Spawned Internet Memes
Since the internet is basically just a way for people to exchange cat stories and pictures, it’s not surprising that ginger cats have made their way into internet lore. This has manifested itself in two ways: through “Orange Cat Behavior” and “Orange Cats Share One Brain Cell”. These ideas stem from the notion that ginger kitties are kind of crazy, more affectionate, and, sadly, a bit less smart than other cats. Scrolling through any social media outlet, you’ll find a variety of posts and even pages dedicated to these memes.
There’s even a subreddit called r/OneOrangeBraincell with all the ginger cat content you could ever need. Sometimes it’s just pictures and videos of any cute orange cat, but there are frequently examples of them fitting the one brain cell stereotype, like this cat who has gotten stuck to a fly trap.
They Were Advisors to the Great Winston Churchill
While people may believe they’re not the brightest crayons in the box, there’s one fact that may disprove this: Ginger cats were once advisors to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Churchill was particularly fond of ginger cats, including one he was gifted at the age of 88, named Jock. When Churchill died, his home, Chartwell, was gifted to the National Trust. There was one stipulation, though: There would always have to be a ginger kitty named Jock in residence. Nearly 60 years later, they’re onto Jock VII, who was rescued from a hoarding situation in 2020. At six-months-old, he took up his role in the Jock succession. He’s said to be playful and full of fun.
Who needs a guard dog when you can have a guard cat?
— National Trust (@nationaltrust) August 3, 2021