Polydactyl Callie showing off her opposable thumbs!
Here are the rest of the cat-related products using a calico’s image at my local Petco.
The first photo is of a birthday card featuring a calico Persian blowing a small bubble . . . unless that little pink blob is the cat’s tongue!
Callie’s food is at the bottom. Now please don’t write and tell me what an inferior food it is. They already told me that at the Centinela Feed near me, so I tried her on a food with higher quality ingredients–less grain and more meat, etc. Well, she got progressively sicker, and then with diarrhea, so it was back to what she was used to. She almost never has hairballs either, and this is one hairy cat, so it lives up to the advertising!
When I went to Petco yesterday to buy Callie’s food, I saw for the first time that her Iams cat food has a calico pictured on the bag.
I wondered if this had been a subconscious influence on why I bought that particular “Hairball Control” version of the food. I wondered how often a calico’s image was used to push a product. I wondered if tricolor dogs were common in marketing dog food and supplies as well.
And of course there are the fish and the rodents! I decided to take a photo of every item for sale in my local Petco that featured a calico cat, or a tricolor dog or rodent on its packaging.
I suppose the pet food and products industry could tell me exactly how much calico or tricolor is worth in sales, but that’s not a research area of mine!
My amateur marketing study makes me think the industry thinks it’s worth about 30% of the cat market share, 50% of the dog market share, and yes, 85% of the guinea pig/hamster part of the pie!
Here are the first five products featuring calico cats.
NPR ran a short story yesterday about the genetics for cat coloration (see link below). A study published in Science found that cat colors vary as stripes, spots, and blotches and that these colors may influence resistance to disease. They implied that this might have implications for human disease resistance as well, but they didn’t say how.
Thanks to Ada Berman for telling me about this!
Scientists unlock the mystery of cats’ stripes (cbsnews.com)
Now here is something of a weirder color–a chimera cat–with heterochromia (each eye a different color):
Chimera cat – Its own Fraternal Twin (neartownvet.wordpress.com)
In a later post I’ll link to info about calico genetics specifically–others have done a decent job of explaining something rather complex.
Calicos truly come in all colors! Here are ‘calico’ koi:
I’ve seen people on the internet refer to koi with these markings as calico. I’m sure there’s a more technical word for this among fish hobbyists, so I’ll keep looking. Aside from the range of colors and patterns, what I love about koi is the impression I have that they are conscious, curious and deliberate.
The collection of koi in this lovely pond at Fashion Island, Newport Beach, seem tame. That is, much closer to being a pet than to being sushi I’d want to eat.