Do Calico Cats Change Color As They Age?

Calico cats are said to be rare and special because of their colorful fur. But will their coat's colors change as they get older? We're here to share with you what we've found out based on our research.

The color of the fur of calico cats, just like all other cats, changes over time. But age is just one of the reasons why their coat changes colors. It can also be due to their environment, exposure to the sun, or diet.

Hang on as we explain further what causes their color to change. We'll also tell you what makes these cats special, if there can be gray and white calicos, and if cats can also get white hairs due to stress.

Sad, calico cat sitting, looking through small front door window on porch. Do Calico Cats Change Color As They Age

Do Calico Kittens Change Color As They Get Older?

Before anything else, let us just be clear that calico doesn't refer to a specific breed of cats. Rather, it pertains to the color of their coat. To be specific about it, calico cats have tri-colored coats.

The most common color of their coat is a combination of orange, black, and white. But there are also calico cats with patches of cream, vivid red, chocolate brown, or bluish-black colors in their coats. This is why they are often referred to as the world's most colorful cats.

It is also important to note that calico kitties aren't bred. Most of them are females and if ever there are male calico cats, they are born sterile so there's no chance of a calico mating with another calico to produce baby calicos.

Having pointed this out, when we talk about calico kittens, we are basically referring to different breeds, each with their own unique temperaments, personalities, and physical characteristics.

Again, the only thing they share in common is having a tri-colored coat. It can be the amiable American Shorthair, the friendly Maine Coon, or the intelligent Japanese Bobtail.

So the question if calico kittens change color might as well refer to cats in general. And yes, like other cats, the colors of their fur can change as they age. Their coats can also change colors due to their environment, sun exposure, diet, stress, and medical conditions.

Can Calico Cats Be Grey And White?

Calico cats are known for their tri-colored coats. White is the predominant color and there are large patches of other colors usually in the shades of orange and black.

There is one variety called dilute calico cats. These cats carry the dilute gene which causes the colors of their fur to be muted.

This explains why there are calico cats with patches of gray (which is the diluted version of black). Some also have cream-colored fur (which is diluted white) and strawberry blonde patches of fur from the orange hue.

Female domestic calico Cat with green eyes lying on cardboard scratch board

What Makes Calico Cats Special?

Calico cats have been around for a long time and all through these years, people all over the world have given them special regard. They are said to be bringers of luck and money. The famous Japanese Maneki-Neko figure or beckoning cat was patterned after these tri-colored cats.

The reason why calico cats are so special and rare has something to do with their genetics. Do you remember your lesson in X and Y chromosomes?

Females have two X chromosomes while males have the X and Y chromosomes, right? A cat's color is determined by the X chromosome. So there is a higher probability for female cats to inherit the calico genes because of the dual X chromosome and that's why almost all calicos are females.

Well, except for a 0.01 percent chance that a chromosomal abnormality can happen, thus giving birth to a male calico. However, their sex organs are usually malformed, causing them to be sterile.

Is It Normal For A Cat's Fur To Change Color?

You might be wondering why the color of your cat's fur is very different from when you first brought it home. Most of the time, there's no reason to be alarmed. It is normal for the coats of cats to change color over time.

There are various reasons for this. Here are some of them:


Some cats start off with a light-colored coat that eventually darkens as they age. An example is the Siamese cat. They only develop their distinctive dark spots in the nose, ears, tail, and paws later on in their life. Cats also have gray hairs as they age.


The environment where you live also affects the color of your cat's fur. Those in cooler areas have darker coats.

Also, their color can change according to their skin temperature. The parts of the body that are cooler such as their extremities have darker coats while the rest of their body has light-colored fur.

Sun Exposure

The sun can bleach the color of your cat's fur when she spends a lot of time outdoors. Constant exposure to the sun causes cats' fur to lighten in color over time.


Watch out because what you feed your cat can cause her coat color to change. When their diet lacks tyrosine, an amino acid that produces the dark pigment called melanin, those with black fur can lighten or turn red. This can also happen to those with lots of zinc in their diet or insufficient copper.

When this happens, or if there's a sudden change in the color of your cat's coat, consult with your vet immediately to know if it is related to any medical issues. You can also ask for diet recommendations so that their coats will be healthy and shiny no matter what color they may be.

Pregnant calico cat in the forest

Can Cats Get White Hair From Stress?

Research tells us that stress causes white hair in humans. Stress, together with age, cause the loss of pigment-producing cells and without them, the new hair that grows is white or gray in color.

Apparently, this is also the case among our furry friends. When a cat isn't that old yet to be having gray hair, it could be due to stress brought about by sudden changes in their lives. It could be moving to a new house or staying at the vet for a long time.

Distressing situations can cause them to lose their pigment-producing cells that will result in having gray patches of fur. It can be temporary for some cats but it can also be a permanent change for others.

When you notice that your pet cat is stressed, kindly attend to their needs. Make sure they are eating and drinking well to avoid further health problems. Give them lots of cuddles, play with them, and just let them know they are loved.

Give them the space that they need while doing your best to ease their worries so they would be back to their usual outgoing self in no time.

Closeup of a senior calico cat looking at the camera. Do Calico Cats Change Color As They Age

Final Thoughts

The color of calico cats' fur can change over time but no matter what their color is, these cats will always be special and loved for how much joy they bring to the lives of their families.

American Shorthair cats can be calico. Read more about this affectionate breed of cats in these posts:

What Are The American Shorthair Coat Colors And Patterns?

How Long Do American Shorthair Cats Live?

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