Orange Cat Breeds: Where Red Energy Meets the Happy Yellow

orange kittens in basket
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

We all love orange cats. It is a common perception that orange cat breeds come with desirable temperaments. The orange cat characters that have graced the media probably helped popularize the image; think of the lead character in Puss in Boots and Garfield. Is this the case with all orange cats? If you’d like to adopt a feline friend from orange cat breeds, there are some things you need to know so you can be sure you’re making the right decision.

As we’ve mentioned, orange cat breeds tend to be associated with having cheerful, fun temperaments. Although this might not be true for all of them, there is no denying that these cats stand out from the rest. Apparently, there are 8 males for every 2 females with orange coats. In addition to this, we were able to gather very interesting facts about these ginger-colored felines.

We delved deep into the topic and were able to come up with several orange tabby cat breed varieties for you to choose from if you’re looking for a feline companion. You will also be able to compare and contrast their characters and judge for yourself if there is truly such a thing as an ‘orange cat thing.’

Fun Facts about Orange Cat Breeds

orange cat

The orange color in cats has always been a source of fascination for most cat lovers. Did you know that all orange cats are tabbies but not all tabbies are orange? The orange tabby coat can manifest in four different ways:

  • Ticked. This is a stripeless pattern which gives the coat a sand-like appearance.

  • Classic. The pattern can be said to be a tie and dye look; marbled or blotched.

  • Spotted. The tabby pattern is broken, making the stripes or swirls appear as scattered spots.

  • Mackerel. The pattern is mostly recognized due to the ‘M’ that it forms on the forehead. Cats with this coat look like tigers. Here is an interesting but debatable fact. Legend has it that the ‘M’ on orange tabby cats appeared after Mother Mary blessed a tabby for curling up with baby Jesus to help him fall asleep.

The pigment that is responsible for different variations of the orange color in cat coats is known as pheomelanin. The same pigment is responsible for red hair in humans. Most orange tabbies have black freckles on their nose, lips, and gums. The freckles are harmless though.

The orange color is associated with fun and playfulness; this is especially true in cats. However, the jovial nature has nothing to do with coat color but the fact that most orange cats are males. These are toms who are a bit randy and more mischievous than mollies.

6 Most Prominent Orange Cat Breeds

Many different cat breeds can feature orange as one of their coat color varieties, but the most prominent of them all would be these breeds:

#1: Kurilian Bobtail

orange Kurilian Bobtail

As the name suggests, the Kurilian Bobtail comes with a short and fluffy tail. The tail is a signature for any individual cat since no two tails are identical. Their coats come in orange—commonly referred to as red—and grey. It is not uncommon to find one with silvery highlights. These can either be solid or tabby. The coat is soft, sleek, and non-matting.

The Kurilian Bobtails are average to large sized with broad chests and compact bodies. They have large wedge-shaped heads, triangular ears, and walnut-shaped eyes. Males can weigh as much as 15 pounds while females weigh somewhere between 9 and 11 pounds.

The breed traces its origin back to the Kuril Islands, located between Russia and Japan. Short-tailed cats are believed to have roamed the island wild for about 200 years until scientists doing field research brought some to the mainland during the mid-20th century for further studies.

Their ability to easily adapt to surroundings and their prowess as mousers helped them gain popularity as domestic cats towards the end of the century.

The Kurilian Bobtail is smart, curious, and very sociable. They are loyal to their human companions and get along with children and other pets. They are also disciplined and remember what they have been allowed to do and what they shouldn’t do. They are not attention seekers, but they value time spent in your lap or just snuggled next to you.

They love to show off their jumping skills and also love to survey their surroundings while perched in high places. That said, you might want to safely tuck away any breakables out of their way.

They are full of energy and therefore require regular exercise to keep them occupied. An outdoor playing enclosure would do them a lot of good. Since their coat doesn’t need much grooming, brushing it once weekly should be enough to keep them in perfect condition.

Kurilian Bobtails are not very common cats, especially in North America. This can be attributed to the fact that female Bobtails only produce 2-3 kittens per litter.

#2: Exotic Shorthair

Orange Exotic Shorthair

The Exotic Shorthair looks like a Persian but with shorter, denser, and plush hair. This gives them a somewhat teddy bear look. They come in all varieties of colors accepted for the Persian. These include tortoiseshell, blue, cream, white, silver, black, gold, and many more colors in varieties of combinations and patterns. Garfield, the famous orange and white cat breed, belongs to this breed.

They are medium sized with a sturdy build. Their head is large and round, completed by wide set ears, big round eyes, and a broad nose. The look is completed by a short and bushy tail. The Exotic Shorthairs generally weigh between 9 and 15 pounds.

The Exotic Shorthair comes from crossing either the American or British Shorthair with the Persian, hence the shorthaired Persian look. Their origin can, therefore, be considered British or American. There is a 1 out of 4 chances of ending up with a long-haired kitten which is usually recognized as a separate ‘Exotic Longhair’ breed.

The Exotic Shorthairs are cool and laid back but are a bit livelier than their Persian parents. They are loyal, affectionate, and typical lap cats. They thrive in the company of their human companions and therefore may not suit a household where they are left alone for too long. They need regular exercise and play, but simple toys can also help them initiate self-play.

Unlike Persians, the Exotic Shorthairs know how to groom themselves without much help. Their short hair only requires weekly brushing, and they are good to go. However, like all other flat-faced animals, their tear ducts may keep overflowing and dampening their faces, which calls for constant wiping to save your kitty from tear stains.

#3: Devon Rex

Orange Devon Rex

These cats are loved for their unique features that make them look like elves; they have large ears and high cheekbones. It’s their soft and wavy fur that gives them their characteristic look.

They come in a wide range of coat colors including orange, grey, solid white, chocolate, and lavender. Their orange coat is usually referred to as a rich, deep red color. Their fur is soft and fine which is different from most cats.

Before the breed was established, it was thought that these cats shared the same genetic makeup with Cornish Rex. However, with breed development, it became clear that Devon Rexes possess a separate and unique mutation.

The cat that brought attention to this mutation was named Kirlee, a kitten from a barn in Devonshire England. Her characteristic coat is thought to have come from her father who was a roaming tom. The kitten was aptly named due to her curly hair which is described as resembling that of a rex rabbit.

Devons are medium-sized cats with adults averaging 6 to 9 pounds. Males are slightly heavier than the females. Their bodies are lean and muscular, well boned with long and strong hind legs which are slightly shorter than the front ones.

These cats have been described as being 99% personality and 1% cat. This is due to their strong will. They will be at your heels as you move from room to room. Ignoring them is never an option; they will perch on your head or shoulders just to see what you are up to.

This kind of people-oriented attitude sees them being described as a dog-like breed. They are, however, well guarded and will walk away to rest if your activities become tiring for them.

They do not shed a lot and are non-allergenic, making them ideal pets for most households. Their hair is very delicate. Hence you should be careful during grooming. A smooth run with a soft brush will be sufficient to keep their coat clean; you can also use your fingers to brush their fur gently.

Baths are rarely necessary with these cats unless their coat has a lot of white in it. Baths should be given gently to avoid breaking off their fur which could leave them with bald spots.

#4: Scottish Fold

Orange Scottish Fold

Scottish Folds have been described as the most beautiful cats by many cat lovers. This could be due to their large penetrating eyes that give them a curious look. The characteristic look is enhanced by small folded ears and a rounded head. This gives the breed an owl-like expression.

Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears, so you get to watch them fold as they grow. The process is, however, fast and it only takes about a month for the ears to fold.

The matriarch of this breed was a kitten named Snooks. She belonged to William Ross, a Scottish shepherd who acquired her from a litter birthed by a molly that spotted the same dropped-down ears. When Snooks reached adulthood, William Ross and their wife started pairing her with local toms. When they noticed that her litter was consistently made up of lop-eared kittens, they sought to have the cats recognized as a new breed.

The breed was accepted by Great Britain in the mid-1960s, but there were concerns due to the ear folding. Speculations were rife that the breed could be prone to ear infections and weak spines. This saw the recognition overturned a few years later. The breed, however, found reprieve in the US where the modern Scottish Fold was developed by a crossbreeding with American and British Shorthairs.

The breed was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA) in the 1970s. Apart from recognition, the breed was given Championship status by CFA in 1978.

Scottish Folds have a cool disposition which goes well with their awed expression. They are not very vocal and will make good pets if you love some peace and quiet. These cats will keep you entertained with their weird and sometimes hilarious poses; they will sleep on their back with paws raised, crouch in a frog-like position, or sit up on their hind legs.

These cute fur babies thrive on human attention so be sure to keep them close. They also enjoy the company of other pets; getting them another cat as a playmate will ease their separation anxiety. Their play should include teasers toys and puzzle games to challenge their agility and intelligence.

Long-haired Scottish Folds will do with several sessions of brushing every week. This should be done with special care to untangle knots that may have developed. Shorthaired ones can, however, do with weekly brushing. Bathing prompted by the coat’s condition will be adequate to keep your cat looking clean and glossy.

#5: Somali Cat

Orange Somali Cats

This is one agile and playful cat that resembles the Abyssinian but with a much fuller coat. Somali cats have a wedge-shaped head which is slightly rounded; this combined with alert ears and a long bushy tail makes the breed appear fox-like.

One of the main colors that the breed comes in is red. This is usually described as sorrel, a brownish orange to light brown color. These orange coats are punctuated with a pink nose and paw pads. The breed also comes in other vibrant colors such as blue, fawn, and ruddy brown.

The origin of the breed is not well known. Among the theories put forward is that the modern Somali cat was a result of a mating between Abyssinians with Burmese, Russian Blues, and Siamese cats. This resulted in litters with the build of the Abyssinians, but with a longer and more vibrant coat.

The new breed was not welcomed at first with critics terming it as ‘polluted genes.’ With time, however, these beauties were accepted as a breed. The name ‘Somali’ was deemed appropriate since the country is located next to Ethiopia, a country formally known as Abyssinia.

Somali cats are known to be quite active, highly intelligent, and very curious. If you go for these cats then expect them to climb up high places, jump great distances, and generally play harder than other cats. Their inquisitive nature will see your kitty constantly jumping up and down near the window to watch birds.

They won’t leave you alone as you cook, clean, or even work on your computer; you fur baby will be there to supervise every keystroke you make.

These bundles of energy need lots of play and mental exercises. If yours is a busy home with kids and lots of toys to keep them busy, then you are in luck. You will, however, need to pair them with other energetic mates if you spend lots of time away from home; if left to their own devices, Somali cats can wreck your house trying to find a fun thing to do.

Their long fur needs to be brushed regularly to avoid knotting and remove any tangles. This is especially true during spring, when Somali cats shed their coat. A bath is also advisable to hasten the removal of dead hair and debris. Pay close attention to their tail which has a tendency of accumulating dirt.

#6: Abyssinian Cat

Orange Abyssinian Cat

The breed is known for a short, sporty, and ticked coat that resembles wild cats. This wild look is what gives the Abys, as they are also known as, their captivating beauty. Their coats come in four main colors just like their Somali counterparts. This includes red or what’s commonly known as a brownish orange color.

Although the two breeds share the same coat colors, they are still a bit different from each other. For starters, Abys predate Somali cats. They also look like cougars while Somali cats are more fox-like.

The history of Abyssinian cats is shrouded in mystery. There have been claims that they originated from the cats that are depicted in most Ancient Egyptian arts. This claim is due to the likeness that Abys share with the felines in sculptures and paintings found in ancient ruins.

The modern breed can, however, be directly linked to Zulu, a kitten belonging to Lord Robert Napier. The gentleman was an officer in the Indian Army under her Majesty’s banner during the British-Abyssinian war of 1868. The breed’s name was a nod to its country of origin. Abys were being showcased in England as early as 1871 or 1883 depending on different sources. In the US they were imported in 1900 and gained popularity in 1903.

This is one of the most active cat breeds ever. Ideally, their home should have high places they can climb to quench their need for height. An open enclosure will also come in handy for them to jump and down, and run all over to blow off much of their energy.

Other forms of play like laser games will also help in keeping your fur baby occupied. They are also good with other pets; hence an equally active mate will help your kitty to keep boredom at bay.

The grooming needs of an Abyssinian cat are pretty standard. Their coat requires weekly brushing. However, when they are shedding, you should increase the brushing frequency to get rid of the dead and loose fur.

Wrap Up

orange cats on grass

Cat breeds come in a wide range of coat colors and patterns. Orange coats are some of the most conspicuous coat colors in cats. They hardly come in solid orange. Instead, they come in ticked, mackerel, classic, and spotted patterns.

Orange cats do not belong to an independent cat breed; they are just orange colored cats from breeds that come in such coat varieties. Some widely popular orange cat breeds include Kurilian Bobtail, Exotic Shorthair, Scottish Fold, Devon Rex, Somali cat, and Abyssinian cat.

Do you feel attracted to orange cat breeds? Which breed appeals to you most? Do you know any other orange cat breeds? We would love to hear this and more from you. As usual, leave us your feedback below. We have also mentioned that orange cats tend to be more energetic than cats of other colors. Although in the end, this depends on the cat’s own personality, you might want to prepare some DIY cat toys if you are going to adopt an orange cat.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.