How much is a male calico cat worth?

I am going to argue that a male calico cat may be worth upwards of £2000 (or US$2000). I will explain why I have come to this conclusion but at the same time please read Sarah Hartwell’s comment. She has a different opinion and I respect her opinion.

Firstly, it needs to be mentioned that calico cats can be either purebred or random bred cats and the word “calico” refers to the cat’s coat which is tortoiseshell-and-white. The word “calico” is an American term.

Most of us know that male calico cats are rare. It is said that about one in every 3000 calico cats are male. It is considered by many that the reason why nearly all male calico cats are infertile is because they have XXY chromosomes (but see below). It is said also that they are not particularly desirable in purebred breeding programs.

On the basis that the male calico cat is rare but infertile then the value of this cat will be solely on his rarity. If a person likes a rare cat they may pay handsomely for that cat and it depends on whether the cat is random or purebred.

The position is made more confusing by the fact that modern science has come to the conclusion that the most common cause of male tortoiseshell cats and calico cats has been found to be chimerism. Sarah Hartwell, a well-known expert on cats and cat genetics says that when chimerism is the cause the result is fertile males.

I will quote Sarah Hartwell if I may and provide a link to her page on the subject.

“A chimera is the result of two fertilized eggs fusing to become a single kitten. If the two fertilized eggs are both XY, this gives an XY/XY male chimera…. an XY/XY chimera would be fully fertile.”

Therefore, it seems to me, that the percentage of fertile male calico cats may be higher than we believe. If we are to value a fertile, male, purebred calico cat of handsome disposition and appearance then I would have thought that he could be worth up to $2000 or more to the right person

Updating note: Please see Sarah Hartwell’s comment. Click on this link to read it. It debunks to a certain extent my arguments! I don’t mind that although it is a little disappointing. Sarah is a renown expert on cat genetics and highly reliable.

It depends of course on whether the buyer has the money and particularly likes calico cats and in addition particularly likes rarity. If the cat is a purebred that too would enhance his value.

So under the right circumstances a male calico cat who is fertile could be worth up to $2000 or £2000. Under different circumstances the value of a male calico cat would depend on whether he is random bred or purebred in my opinion. The coat type would not have an influence in this instance.

Random bred cats are almost valueless relatively speaking while purebred cats can be purchased for around $500-$1500 depending upon the cat’s quality.

I would be happy for people to comment on this assessment. I have deliberately tried to state a price. This is unusual and perhaps foolish 😉 .

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Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


How much is a male calico cat worth? — 20 Comments

  1. This is my boy Zig. Would his markings be considered as calico? These photos do not do his coat (pinkish/orange patches against grey/black patches on white) justice, but it’s the best I could do, as he’s a kitten & never sits still.

  2. Oh it worked!
    That’s him sleeping just now. Kinda looks like one of those images of Jesus on a piece of toast.
    His name is Baby Cheeses… It’s a spoof on a Sofia Vergara line from Modern Family.

  3. My husband, Bobby, brought me and my red headed pit bull, Ginger Snapps (2.5 yrs) a male calico kitten (approx 4 mnths) from his Aunt and Uncle on Oct 10th. His Aunt’s cat had a litter of four. One solid black male, a solid gray female and 2 male calicos. How rare can they really be if she had 2 in her first litter? Now I do keep a close eye on my Oscar Kat.I know a lot of people would think he’s worth a lot of money and would not think twice to snatch him up. Just as I keep a close eye on my dog because saddly there are people who would want to breed her to make money off her pups or try to fight her. Many people want a rare animal cat or dog and dogs such as pit bulls as a status symbol and many times those pets are neglected. they are more than pets to me but are more like my children.
    I tell you what would be rare and I’d love to have is a six toed male calico with one green eye and one blue eye. I’d definitely adopt that kitty and add him to our happy little family.

    • “a six toed male calico with one green eye and one blue eye”

      Thanks for sharing and nice to know that you have two male calicos.

      Super rare. Unique I’d say 😉

    • Hi.
      I’m wondering if anyone purchased your calico male. I inadvertantly adopted a very young Calico female who turned out to be pregnant with four kitties born September 9, 2017 right before Irma hit. One of them is a beautiful calico with a very large crucifix design on it’s back in brown and white.
      When one idiot neighbor discovered this, he told two friends and they told two friends… I live in a neighborhood full of lowlifes and crackheads who have now taken to casing my house apparently under the belief there is someone nearby with an open offer of 4k$ for a calico male. I’m sure some lowlife is going to try and steal this cat if there are really people buying Calico males for this kind of money. I guess what I want to know is if these kind of offers are real. If what is stated above is true about the odds of them being chimera, I would have to concur, with my guy(Baby Cheeses) as he looks pretty symmetrical right down his spine.
      Any info would be helpful. Thanks.

  4. I often get asked this and I see hopeful seller listings on Craigslist (& similar) trying to get high prices for such cats and I have to disappoint them. Once these cats might be valuable for researching the genetic conditions that caused them. Nowadays all that is needed are tissue samples from the different coloured areas and possibly a blood sample.

    Male calicos/torties are actually not worth any more than a bicolour cat of the same variety. Several have been rehomed by various cat shelters for the normal rehoming fee. They are also neutered the same as any other cat.

    In pedigree cats there is no show class for tortoiseshell/tortie-and-white male and they have to be shown as Any Other Colour or Variety. If fertile they breed for either the red-based colour or for the black-based colour, but not for both so their value as studs is the same as for a normal stud of that breed. If not used as studs, they are neutered.

    Sorry Michael, with the advancement of science, tortie & calico toms aren’t valuable and are turning out to be more common than previously believed.

    • Many thanks for your comment. I need to thank you even though it is a very late thank you. I thought that you’d comment on this 😉

  5. This just came up with an old thread elsewhere with someone wanting to know how much a male calico would be worth for breeding. Which would be about zero unless they were fertile and had papers but you would likely not be able to reproduce more male calicos.
    I suppose someone would pay money for a beautiful cat but I’d worry they were only interested in having a novelty.

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