What is a Caliby Cat?

What is a caliby cat?

A caliby is a type of coat colour/pattern which consists of areas of orange (red) and brown tabby with white. The name is a mix of calico + tabby = caliby.

Most cat lovers are familiar with tortoiseshell and calico cats. The tortoiseshell cat has patches of black and orange, brown and orange or grey and cream and the calico has patches of black and orange, brown and orange, grey and cream with the addition of areas of white. Cats displaying red and brown or cream and grey tabby patterns without the presence of white are known as patched tabbies.

Caliby cats can display the classic, mackerel or spotted tabby pattern. The photo below shows a caliby with spotted markings.

Difference between a calico and caliby cat

What breed is a caliby cat?

The caliby is a coat colour/pattern and not a breed and can be found in mixed breed cats as well as some breeds of cats that accept all coat colours and patterns. This includes the Devon Rex, Cornish Rex, Exotic Shorthair, Persian, Oriental shorthair, Manx, American Curl, American Wirehair, Munchkin, and Scottish Fold.

Are caliby cats rare?

No, caliby cats are not rare. They are most prevalent in random-bred cat populations.

Are caliby cats female?

Almost all caliby cats are female. The red (orange) is located on the X chromosome, which makes it sex-linked. As the male (XY) only has one X chromosome, he will either be red and white, or non-red and white. The female (XX) has two chromosomes, so if she inherits one copy of the red gene, and one copy of non-red (black, brown or grey), she will display both colours at random. The addition of white is due to the white spotting gene which masks all other colours by preventing normal pigment-producing cell replication and migration to the skin during embryologic development

The incidence of male tortoiseshell, calico and other sex-linked colours is reported to be 1-3,000. The most common cause is Klinefelter syndrome, in which the male inherits two X chromosomes, so instead of being XY, he is XXY.

Caliby cat personality

As the caliby is a coat colour/pattern and not a breed, their personality can vary depending on early experiences as kittens. An attentive mother and positive human interaction in the critical early weeks shape how the cat’s personality will develop.


  • Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio