Breeds

Calico Lifespan: How Long Do Calico Cats Live?

Want to know the lifespan of your Calico cat? Many factors effect your feline's lifespan and impact the quality of those years. Learn more about Calico life expectancy in our detailed guide.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: April 14, 2023 | 6 min read

Calico cat sitting in dark with ray of light shining

There’s something special about a Calico. A Calico is any domestic cat breed with a tri-color coat. These cats are predominantly female; their coloring is sex-linked, and the rare male is always sterile.

As any Calico lover knows, your Calico can lead a long, happy life, but it may require special care to deal with health issues. As cats age, they become more susceptible to health issues, and it’s our responsibility as pet parents to ensure our precious babies are happy and healthy up to the very end. Thankfully, with continued support and proper care, you can extend the life of your Calico cat. Read on to learn about Calico lifespan and how to care for your pet as they age.

How Long Do Calico Cats Live?

Like most felines that are not breed-specific, Calicos live to around 15 years of age. Of course, every cat is different, and your kitty will require extra love and care as they age to lead a healthy life. Because male calicos are born with Klinefelter’s Syndrome, their lifespans tend to be shorter.

Calico Cat Facts

You may be surprised to learn that “Calico” is not a cat breed. Like tabby, tortoiseshell, and smoke, Calico describes the cat’s coat rather than the cat themself. Calicos are white with patches of black and red that are unique to each coat. While the back of the cat has distinct, vibrant colors, a Calico’s tummy will remain white. Your Calico may have tabby markings in the red patches and will have gold eyes. Dilute Calicos will have more subdued shades, with blue and cream patches. A true Calico will always be tri-colored.

While Calico is not a breed and technically has no specific personality traits, these patchwork kitties are known for being sassy, spunky girls well into their old age. Calicos also tend to be sweet, loving, and independent. They are highly playful and friendly and will get along with the whole family.

Historians believe Calicos originated in Egypt and were traded along the Mediterranean. These felines worked as ship mousers, keeping the rodent population in check. As these cats traveled from port city to port city, they spread their genetics and coloring.

Folklore shares tales of the lucky Calico cat. The maneki-neko, also called “the beckoning cat,” are good-luck figures that sometimes depict Calico cats. In Japan, people place statues of this regal feline at entryways of homes and businesses for good luck. In the United States, Calicos are called “money cats,” fetching top dollar when sold due to their rarity.

Interestingly, Calicos are primarily female. Calico gals are relatively healthy but may be prone to the health conditions of their respective breeds. Unfortunately, male Calicos often suffer from a variety of health problems. Male Calicos have a genetic health condition called Klinefelter’s Syndrome and may experience problems associated with this condition: behavioral problems, a higher risk for broken bones, and increased body fat. In addition to developmental issues, reduced bone mineral content, and a higher risk of obesity and diabetes, male Calicos are always sterile.

Breeds that display calico coats are:

  • American Shorthair
  • British Shorthair
  • Cornish Rex
  • Devon Rex
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • LaPerm
  • Maine Coon
  • Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Persian
  • Scottish Fold
  • Turkish Van
  • Selkirk Rex

Take a look at our Breeds page to learn more about the different kitties displaying this purrfect tri-colored coat.

Factors That Impact Calico Lifespan

We know that male Calicos tend to be sterile and have symptoms associated with Klinefelter’s Syndrome that affect their health. In addition, the Calico cat’s breed will also make them prone to certain conditions that may plan a role in a cat’s health throughout their life. Consider cat insurance to help offset possible medical costs. Read on to learn about other factors that will play a role in your cat’s life expectancy.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Unfortunately, your cat’s lifespan reduces if you let them spend time outdoors. Indoor cats live 10 to 17 years, and outdoor kitties average only two to five years. Wild animals, distracted drivers, toxic substances, and dangerous microorganisms can threaten your feline and significantly reduce the lifespan of your furry friend.

If you want your Calico to roam free, know that this can affect their health. It’s best to always monitor your pet when you let them outside. If you live in an urban area, keep your cat leashed or in a carrier to protect them from vehicles and other dangers.

Fixed vs. Intact

Spay or neuter your furball to promote a longer lifespan. For both male and female cats, you can expect an additional few years added to their life from being fixed. Research by Banfield Pet Hospital, reported by The Humane Society of the United States, says spayed cats live an average of 13.1 years, 39 percent longer than unspayed cats. The report also noted that neutered males live 62 percent longer than unneutered cats, with unneutered males three times as likely to be brought to the vet to treat animal bites.

Even though male Calicos are sterile, you should still neuter your cat to provide health and behavioral benefits, such as preventing testicular cancer, reducing prostate problems, and stopping territorial spraying. Spaying females lowers the risk of breast cancer in all breeds of female Calicos and eliminates the risk of uterine infections, including life-threatening pyometra.

Finally, spaying and neutering can improve your feline’s overall mood. Fixing your pet can relieve stress and put your cat in a calmer mood year-round.

Nutrition

The food you feed your Calico gal will directly affect their health. All cats are obligate carnivores and require at least 70 percent of their diet to come from meat. Purchase quality pet food from various sources, avoiding cat food that uses filler ingredients or animal by-products. Quality cat food will be nutritionally balanced to provide proper amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

You may also wish to boost your cat’s nutrition with multivitamins, omega-3s, or other supplements. Always buy supplements from a reputable brand that uses high-quality ingredients free of fillers, synthetics, GMOs, and artificial ingredients. Try to purchase a brand that uses third-party testing for all of its products to ensure your kitty is getting what you’re paying to get.

Exercise

Like humans, kitties need regular exercise to support their cardiovascular system and boost overall health and well-being. Scheduled playtime is also a great way to reduce destructive behavior, often caused by boredom. Give your Calico plenty of space to run, jump, hide, scratch, climb, and explore.

Grooming

Grooming does more than give your feline a delightfully-sot coat. Brushing is also a great way to monitor your cat’s skin. Skin is an excellent indicator of overall health; if something is going wrong internally, it may show up on the skin first. Try to brush your cat at least once a week to catch any health problems early.

Tips To Expand Feline Lifespan

While not even the most diligent pet parent can control every factor in their cat’s health, there are many tips to improving the odds of your cat living a long and healthy life.

  • Keep your Calico inside as much as possible. Always supervise your cat if they’re let outside. Use a leash or cat stroller to give your furry friend the outdoor experience without the trouble and danger. Keep your indoor cat in a clean and supportive environment to help them live longer.
  • Reduce your cat’s stress by cultivating a calm home environment. Remove any physical hazards that are in your cat’s way. Remember that your cat can sense your mood as well. One person’s stress affects the whole family.
  • Keep the litter box clean. A cat’s litter box can get super messy and create the perfect environment for spreading diseases and germs. Clean your feline’s litter box twice a day, and consider using an air purifier near the litter box to keep the air cleaner and more sanitary for everyone.
  • Feed your cat high-quality pet food that fits their age and nutritional needs. A feline’s dietary needs will vary throughout their lifespan, so purchase cat food specific to your pet’s stage of life. Avoid feeling human food or treats in excess, as this is essentially junk food for your furry friend.
  • Schedule regular checkups with the veterinarian to catch any health issues early on. You should also check your cat’s teeth, ears, and eyes regularly at home to make sure your kitty’s in tip-top condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Male Or Female Calicos Live Longer?

Female calicos tend to live longer, as males are prone to symptoms associated with specific genetic health problems.

What’s The Best Cat Insurance For My Calico Cat?

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a pet insurance company. Our guide on the Best Pet Insurance For Cats breaks down the best options when considering coverage, customization options, and pricing.

How Much Does A Calico Cat Cost?

You can easily find a female Calico at a shelter and pay less than $100 for your new best friend. Purchasing from a breeder is a different story, especially if you’re looking for a male Calico. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 for a male Calico.

Final Thoughts

Genetics, nutrition, activity levels, and environmental factors affect your Calico’s lifespan. While every cat is different, expect your cat to live to around 15 years of age. Are you curious about the lifespan of other popular cats? Check out our articles on Bengal Cat Lifespan and Maine Coon Lifespan.

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