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Both male and female cats can be orange or black because the gene that controls orange fur color is on the X chromosome. However, in males, an orange color is usually expressed in a striped or tabby pattern.
Female cats, on the other hand, can be tabby, calico or tortoiseshell. Calico and tortoiseshell are similar, but calicos have patches of white, orange and brown or black while torties’ coats are only orange and black.
Because the X chromosome is responsible for both orange and black fur, female cats can display both colors because they have two X chromosomes. But males, having only one X chromosome, can be either orange or black.
For a male cat to have a calico pattern, the feline has to have three sex chromosomes: two Xs and a Y.
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