How Long Do Calico Cats Live?

Do you own a calico cat? Or are you planning on having one? If yes, then you came to the right place. Owning a calico cat or any other pet entails a lot of responsibility. You want to make sure that they live a healthy, happy, and long life. And with that, you may want to learn more about a calico cat's background, especially its lifespan. We have done some research to give you an idea of how long calico cats live.

Calico cats' lifespan ranges from approximately 12-15 years. However, there are some calico cats who have lived up to their 20s.

Read through as we discuss more on the topic and the factors that could influence a calico cat's lifespan. Additionally, we'll answer relevant questions pertaining to their possible health problems and if they are considered high maintenance. Lastly, we'll explain why calico cats are considered special.

A Calico cat lying on the wooden plank at a small outdoor park, How Long Do Calico Cats Live?

Factors That Influence Calico Cats' Lifespan

The following factors will definitely influence your calico cat's overall health and will determine whether she will live longer than 15 years or not:


First and foremost, just to clear out misconceptions, calico is a fur color and not a type of cat breed. Calico refers to a variety of cat breeds that have a tri-color coat.

Commonly a mixture of white, black, and orange, they include Japanese Bobtail, Maine Coon, American Shorthair, Cornish Rex, and Persian, to name a few. Hence, a calico cat can either be mixed or purebred as long as they resemble the tri-color fur.

Generally, a mixed-breed cat lives longer than a purebred. This is because they are less likely to carry the genetic disorders and other hereditary health problems that are associated with certain breeds since they have a wider gene pool. So if your calico cat is a mixed-breed, she will most likely live longer.


Just as how unique the calico cats' fur colors are, so is their chromosomal makeup. A male cat carries X and Y chromosomes while a female cat has two X chromosomes.

For a cat to be a calico, he or she should have two X chromosomes. This is because the X chromosomes are the ones responsible for carrying the genes that give the black and orange color of their coat.

That is why according to a study, out of 3,000 calico cats, only one is male. It is very rare to find a male calico cat since their chromosomal makeup comprises of two X chromosomes and one Y.

Because of this extra X chromosome, they generally suffer from Klinefelter’s Syndrome and other health defects, including sterility.

Klinefelter male cats would develop health problems associated with their genetic condition including diabetes, heart disease, broken bones, and behavioral problems. This will definitely affect their overall health and lifespan. Thus, we can conclude that male calico cats are expected to have shorter lives than females.

Living Environment (Outdoor or Indoor)

A Calico cat peaking at something in his small cat door

The living environment of your calico cat would definitely affect his or her life expectancy. According to statistics, indoor cats live longer than those staying outdoors. Indoor cats typically live for approximately 10-15 years, while outdoor ones live for an average of 2-5 years only.

Outdoor cats are more exposed to danger especially from vehicles passing by. They are most likely to acquire life-threatening infectious diseases from other animals, too.

They are also more exposed to toxins and other environmental hazards that may harm their health. Hence, keeping your calico cats indoors will help them achieve a longer life.

Diet And Lifestyle

Calico cats need to be fed with nutritious and well-balanced food to be able to maintain their overall health. They also need regular exercises in order to prevent health problems that they may acquire over time due to lack of physical activity.

Cats are known as one of the animals that are considered obligate carnivores. Their diet should consist mostly of meat which provides protein.

Generally, the recommended minimum amount of protein adult cats need in their daily diet is 26 percent. Since they are obligate carnivores, sugar and carbohydrates are not required in their daily diet.

You may give your cats toys, or make use of your lasers at home to keep them active. Playing with your cats using cat wands is also a great exercise for them.

You may want to check out this post to learn the lifespan of an American Shorthair cat: How Long Do American Shorthair Cats Live?

How To Ensure A Longer Life For Your Calico

A cute Calico cat sleeping on his cat tree

  • You should regularly schedule a visit to your vet for checkup and other examination in order to ensure that they are in their best quality of health. Make sure that their annual vaccines are up to date.
  • In order to help you cover the medical bills your calico cat may incur, sign-up for a cat insurance. In this way, your cats will surely be given the needed medical treatments they need to live longer.
  • If your calico cats are furry, it is recommended that their fur should be brushed weekly. You should also check on their skin closely for possible rashes or flea infestation.
  • Don't let them stay outdoors. Instead, give them toys, cat trees, or scratching post to keep them busy.
  • Closely monitor their diet. Ask your vet about the right food to give your cat and the needed amount per meal.
  • Keep an eye of their weight as well. Make sure to set at least 30 minutes of physical activity for your cats each day.
  • Regularly empty and clean their litter box.
  • Always take note of any behavioral changes that may be indicative of possible health problems.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Calico Cat?

A calico, like most cats, lives for around 12-15 years. Some, however, can live up to 20 years depending on many factors, as discussed above.

Do Calico Cats Have More Health Problems?

Aside from Klinefelter's Syndrome and its associated health problems, like the risk of fractures, insulin resistance, disorientation, and abnormal weight gain, there are no other illnesses mentioned or linked with calico cats.

Since calico cats comprise of different kinds of cat breeds, the health issues, if any, will likely be linked to the kind of breed a certain calico cat belongs to. Female calico cats are generally healthy.

Why Are Calico Cats So Special?

A sleeping Calico cat on his cat tree

Because of their unique tri-color coat pattern and rarity, Calico cats are considered special in the sense that they are considered lucky charms and a sign of good luck around the world, especially in Japan and the USA.

It is believed that if you own or adopt a calico cat, it would bring good fortune to you and your household.

Are Calico Cats High Maintenance?

Calico cats, as mentioned above, are a variety of cat breeds that exhibit a tri-color coat. Hence, they are so different from one another and could display different characteristics depending on their kind of breed.

Some are low-maintenance such as Maine Coon and British Shorthair. Others, including Manx and Munchkins, are considered high-maintenance calico cats.

In Closing

A calico cat's lifespan generally ranges from 12-15 years, depending of course on the many factors that affect their overall health. Although some calico cats achieve the ripe age of 20, others, especially males, do not.

Before you go, speaking of cat colors and patterns, you may want to check this interesting post: What Are The American Shorthair Coat Colors And Patterns?

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