How many chromosomes do cats have? - Kitty pendant (2023)

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Genetics is a hot topic these days, even the average person gets hooked on DNA crime stories in movies.

So, as a cat lover, you must be curious about the genetic secrets that might explain your cat's adorable traits.

For example, how many chromosomes do cats have, and what does that have to do with a cat's legendary cuteness?

Humans come with 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 in total), whileviper tongue plant(a fern) has a staggering 1,000 pairs of chromosomes (2,000 in total).

That should leave you wondering, where do our beloved feline friends land?

First things first... What are chromosomes?

How many chromosomes do cats have? - Kitty pendant (1)

Chromosomes aren't exactly a household name, but chances are you've heard of DNA.

It's short for deoxyribonucleic acid, which should make you think, "Oh my god, let's go short."

In fact, DNA and chromosomes have a lot to do with each other. They are responsible for heredity or the collection of characteristics that are passed from parents to children.

Chromosomes are tiny, thread-like structures densely packed inside the nucleus of our cells.

They are made of DNA and proteins. Chromosomes carry information that acts as the recipe for making and operating the cell.

It is the chromosomes and the DNA they contain that ensure that a cat does not become a dog, a cabbage or a human being. They are also what give a pet its uniqueness as an individual.

Number of chromosomes in living organisms

Each living being or species has acharacteristic number of chromosomes. So that might help you identify a species like a cat, right? Yes, but don't always bet on it!

(Video) 20 Common Mistakes Cat Owners Make

For example, what organism has 48 chromosomes? Surprisingly, the answer is either a chimpanzee or a potato, as they both have the same number of chromosomes!

This should make you suspect that it takes more than just the number of chromosomes to make an organism.

It is the genes and how their contents are arranged or sequenced on the chromosomes that hold the key. So what are genes?

How genes fit into chromosomes

Genes are where the real action takes place when it comes to heredity. Genes are simply sections along the chromosome or DNA.

Each gene encodes a specific protein. Therefore, each hereditary trait that a cat has is due to a specific protein. It could be eye color, temperament, muscle size or ability to taste.

Genes can even code for diseases that occur when the protein they make is defective. Some good examples are sickle cell anemia or diabetes.

Bad proteins are usually caused by mutations in genes. FORmutationin a gene in the taste buds of cats causes them not to taste sweet. So they don't like sugary foods or fruit like we do!

In total, cats carry approx.20.000genes This is almost similar to the human number of genes which is between 20,000 and 25,000.

cats are diploid

How many chromosomes do cats have? - Kitty pendant (2)

Cats, like most mammals, belong to a group called diploid organisms. This simply means that they inherit paired chromosomes, with half of the set coming from each parent.

Therefore, cats receive 19 chromosomes from the father and 19 chromosomes from the mother.

Humans have 23 paired chromosomes of which chromosome 1 has 2 copies, chromosome 2 also has 2 copies, and so on up to chromosome 22.

For chromosome 23, which is the sex chromosome, females have 2 copies of the X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y chromosome.

Diploids differ from polyploid organisms in having more than two sets of chromosomes. for example, twodifferent mice rodents— the plains vizcacha mouse and the golden vizcacha mouse — have four sets of chromosomes.

Polyploids are quite common among plants and are also found among some fish, frogs, salamanders and leeches.

(Video) 5 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained: Understand Your Cat Better

production of chromosomes

To make new chromosomes, you always have to start with another chromosome that already exists.

Through a process of duplication, new chromosomes are produced from the old chromosome. This happens when one cell divides to form 2 new cells.

The process is called mitosis, which is how non-sex cells in our bodies multiply.

Two new cells with identical chromosome numbers are formed from the old cells.

So if you started with a cell that has 46 chromosomes (23 pairs), by mitosis you end up with two new cells, each with 46 chromosomes.

A second, different process called meiosis occurs in the reproduction of sex cells.

So how many chromosomes do cats have?

How many chromosomes do cats have? - Kitty pendant (3)

Most cats have38 chromosomes. But, oddly enough, not all cats have this number.

For example, heocelot species, a South American wildcat, has only 36 chromosomes.

If you breed this cat to other cats that have the normal 38 chromosomes, you will have offspring with 37 chromosomes.

Only the females of that offspring can reproduce, but the males will be sterile.

With 38 chromosomes, the cat shares the same number of chromosomes with non-cat creatures such as:

  • El Coatimundi:A loving and intelligent raccoon that lives in South America and can be kept as a pet.
  • marta de faia: A weasel-like creature found in Asia and Europe and can also be kept as a pet.
  • Baja California Cobra-mouse: A slender snake with big eyes.

When the 'chromosome number' goes wrong

If all goes well with chromosome production, expect to get a normal, healthy cat.

However, abnormalities can occur and feline experts have found250 diseasesthat can be transmitted to the offspring of cats. Many of them resemble human genetic diseases.

However, not all anomalies are problematic. In fact, some lead to what appears to be a feline beauty enhancement, making them more attractive to cat owners.

(Video) Why do cats have vertical pupils? - Emma Bryce

tabby and tortoiseshell cats

How many chromosomes do cats have? - Kitty pendant (4)

Tabby cats are not a specific breed. They are just cats with specific coats of unique colors and patterns. Therefore, they can be cats of any breed, such as Manx, Main Coon, Siberian, etc.

Tabby cats are admired for their coat colors. They usually come in 3 different coat colors: black, orange, and white.

This feature arises due toinactivated chromosomes. It is a process in cats where one of their X chromosomes is silenced or deleted, effectively reducing the number of active chromosomes to 37.

Calico cats are almost exclusively female, with rare male exceptions.

Tortoiseshell cats are often confused with tabby cats. They differ from calico cats in that they lack the white color.

Related posts:

Are tabby cats sterile?

What exactly is a Torbie cat?

Klinefelter syndrome in male cats

In rare cases, you may also have male tabbies. This is a condition called Klinefelter syndrome. This is similar toKlinefelter syndromefound in men that can make them infertile.

One of the genes that give a cat its orange and black coat is located on the X chromosome.

Remember that women have two X chromosomes, but men have one X and one Y chromosome.

Because they have two X chromosomes, females can inherit the colors orange and black together.

However, male cats can only get one of these colors, orange or black, as they only have one X chromosome.

(Video) Why is my cat ginger? Cat science - Colours and chromosomes!

Klinefelter syndrome is an unusual situation where male cats can end up having an extra X chromosome, so they have the orange and black colors like calico females.

This gives cats an XXY chromosome - which results in an extra chromosome.


By spending so much time loyally by your side, your cat can pass for a human.

Fortunately, it's the differences in the number of chromosomes and their genes that will help to tell them apart.

That's why they have the whiskers, the slow, agile movement, and that telltale purr.

Related post:How many hairs does a cat have?

How many chromosomes do cats have? - Kitty pendant (5)

Eleanor price

Hello! I'm Eleanor Price. I started this site after my cat, Louie, nearly died from a case of botulism (a type of food poisoning usually caused by bacteria growing in food). Turns out my cat's diet was the problem. I am committed to providing the best information and advice on everything cat lovers need to know about the health and well-being of their felines. My goal is to find the most informative content about all things feline and share it with other hard working kitty lovers.

(Video) 14 Surprising Facts About Female Cats You Need To Know


How many chromosomes do cats have? ›

Karyotype of the domestic cat. Domestic cats have 38 chromosomes, including 18 autosomal pairs and the sex chromosomes, X and Y.

What cats have 36 chromosomes? ›

Ocelots have 36 chromosomes. Most of the other species of cats have 38.

How many chromosomes does a calico cat have? ›

A: Calico cats have orange, black and white fur, while tortoiseshell cats — "torties" — sport orange and black fur. Because of the genes that code for coat color, both types of cats are almost always female. Domestic cats have approximately 20,000 genes on 38 chromosomes, two of which are the sex chromosomes X and Y.

Does a cat have 19 pairs of chromosomes? ›

Cats have 19 chromosome pairs, 18 autosomes and the sex chromosome pair, X and Y. Females are 38, XX and males are 38, XY. The chromosomes of a cat can be easily distinguishable under a microscope due to their various shapes and sizes and banding patterns with chemical stains.

Do all animals have 23 chromosomes? ›

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46 chromosomes. In fact, each species of plants and animals has a set number of chromosomes. A fruit fly, for example, has four pairs of chromosomes, while a rice plant has 12 and a dog, 39.

What animal has 38 chromosomes? ›

List of organisms by chromosome count
Organism (Scientific name)Chromosome number
Cat (Felis catus)38
Beech marten (Martes foina)38
Baja California rat snake (Bogertophis rosaliae)38
American marten (Martes americana)38
134 more rows

Which animal has 98 chromosomes? ›

Chromosome Number of various Animals
AnimalChromosome number
97. Myrmecia pilosula (ant)2 for females, males are haploid
98. Opossum22
99. Orangutan (Pongo x)48
100. Oriental Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea)38
137 more rows
Feb 18, 2012

What animal has 64 chromosomes? ›

Horse diploid cells contain 64 chromosomes (2n=64). How many chromosomes will be present in primary oocyte cells? Horse diploid cells contain 64 chromosomes (2n=64).

What animal has 48 chromosomes? ›

Humans have 46 chromosomes, whereas chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan have 48.

Are 3 colored cats always female? ›

Because the genetic determination of coat colors in calico cats is linked to the X chromosome, calicoes are nearly always female, with one color linked to the maternal X chromosome and a second color linked to the paternal X chromosome.

Can male cats have 3 colors? ›

Although it is rare, some male cats can display the calico pattern. Every now and then, male cats are born with a genetic disorder in which they gain an extra X chromosome. The condition is called Klinefelter syndrome and since these cats have two X chromosomes they can in fact display all three colours.

Are orange cats male? ›

Orange tabby cats are usually male.

In fact, up to 80 percent of orange tabbies are male, making orange female cats a bit of a rarity. According to the BBC's Focus Magazine, the ginger gene in cats works a little differently compared to humans; it is on the X chromosome.

Are calico cats missing a chromosome? ›

Two X chromosomes are needed for a cat to have that distinctive tri-color coat. If a cat has an XX pair, she will be female. Male cats have an XY chromosome pair, so they can't be Calicos.

Who has 19 pairs of chromosomes? ›

Cat and sheeps are the two animals having 19 pair of chromosomes.

Do cats have chromosome 21? ›

Humans have 23 chromosomes. Cats have 19. As such, having an extra chromosome 21 is clearly impossible for cats.

Did Jesus have chromosomes? ›

Being fully human, Jesus had normal appearing human chromosomes - so a paired set of 22 autosomes and an X and Y (note that Dylan refers to “alleles” in his question. Alleles are forms of genes that are contained on chromosomes).

What animal has 78 chromosomes? ›

A dog (Canis familiaris) has 78 diploid number of chromosomes.

Do any animals have 47 chromosomes? ›

Mitotic and meiotic chromosome preparations of the tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus) were studied to elucidate the sex-chromosomal polymorphism evidenced by this species. Females had 2n = 46 or 47 chromosomes, whereas males had 2n = 47 or 48 chromosomes.

What animal has 500 chromosomes? ›

The animal with the most chromosomes per cell among diploid, non-polyploid eukaryote species is the Atlas blue butterfly (Polyommatus/Plebicula atlanticus). Native to Morocco and Algeria, it possesses 448–452 chromosomes (i.e. 224–26 pairs) per cell.

What has 100 chromosomes? ›

Members of the genus Ophioglossum (adder's tongue fern, an apparently rather ancient lineage) have 100's of chromosomes. Ophioglossum reticulatum, for example, is estimated to have from 240 to 510 chromosomes in the haploid state, or up to 1020 chromosomes in the diploid state!

What animal has 1,000 chromosomes? ›

Bacteria all (or at least almost all) have only one chromosome, fruit flies have four pairs, and a plant called the Adder's Tongue Fern(Ophioglossum reticulatum) has over 1,000 chromosome pairs!

Which animal has 1600 chromosomes? ›

The maximum numbers of chromosomes is found in a protozoan (Radiolarian), where total number of chromosomes are 1600 i.e. 2n = 1600.

What animal has 104 chromosomes? ›

Humans have 46 chromosomes. Dogs have 78. And a small South American rodent called the red viscacha has a whopping 104.

Is there an animal with 1 chromosome? ›

But being more complex or multicellular doesn't necessarily mean more chromosomes: the male jack jumper ant has only one chromosome, for example, but the single-celled, amoeba-like organism Sterkiella has 16,000 chromosomes – almost one for each of its 18,500 genes.

Which animal has 80 chromosomes? ›

A pigeon's somatic cells have 80 chromosomes: A pigeon cell in metaphase of meiosis has chromosomes and is Select one: a.

What species has 80 chromosomes? ›

Abstract. Bird chromosomes, which have been investigated scientifically for more than a century, present a number of unique features. In general, bird karyotypes have a high diploid number (2n) of typically around 80 chromosomes that are divided into macro- and microchromosomes.

Is there an animal with 92 chromosomes? ›

The mitotic and meiotic chromosomes of the semiaquatic rodent Ichthyomys pittieri (Rodentia, Cricetinae) from Venezuela were analyzed by means of conventional staining and several banding techniques. The diploid chromosome number of this rare species is 2n = 92, which is the highest value known for mammals.

What animal has 68 chromosomes? ›

The karyotype of the Chinook salmon has been characterized as 2N = 68, with 16 pairs of metacentric chromosomes and 18 pairs of acrocentric chromosomes (Simon 1963).

Which animal has more than 200 chromosomes? ›

So, the correct answer is 'Amoeba'.

What animal has 30 more chromosomes than humans? ›

The animal with the largest number of chromosomes is the hermit crab, with 127 pairs of chromosomes for a grand total of 254! For comparison, humans have 23 pairs, for a total of 46; cows have 30 pairs, for a total of 60; and a Tasmanian devil has 7 pairs, for a total of 14.

Should you let your cat lick you? ›

Cats carry bacteria in their mouths, which can lead to local or systemic infection if a cat licks an open wound. Immunocompromised people are most at risk. Acquiring a disease from your cat is very rare, but to be safe, don't let your cat lick your face or any cuts on your skin.

Are white cats deaf? ›

Researchers found that only 17 to 22 percent of white cats with non-blue eyes are born deaf. The percentage rises to 40 percent if the cat has one blue eye, while upwards of 65 to 85 percent of all-white cats with both eyes blue are deaf. Some of these cats are deaf in only one ear.

Are orange cats rare? ›

Females must have two copies to be orange. So while female orange cats are not rare, females are just as likely to inherit genes for other colors, making them tortoiseshells or patched tabbies.

What is the rarest cat? ›

The Amur leopard, however, still remains one of the rarest and most critically endangered leopard subspecies in the world. "Amur leopards are such beautiful animals, and sadly, critically endangered.

Why are orange male cats rare? ›

*This is because the “ginger gene” which produces the orange color is on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes and so need two copies of this gene to become ginger, whereas males need only one. This means there are roughly three males to one female ginger cat.

What is a tabico cat? ›

– Calico Tabby or “Tabico” for short – A calico mixed with a brown tabby, so you get brown and orange tabby markings plus larger patches of white.

Are black cats rare? ›

It's Rare To Find an All-Black Cat

While some cats are indeed black from head to toe, this is actually rare. Most black cats have some other coloring in their whiskers, paw pads, or random patches of fur.

Are ginger cats rare? ›

Why are ginger cats rare? Female ginger cats are very rare because of genetics. The red colour is in fact dependent on the Orange gene with a dominant 'O' and a recessive 'o' gene. Its peculiarity is that it can only be transmitted by females.

What is the friendliest color cat? ›

Orange cats were regarded as the friendliest by respondents, while white cats were labeled aloof, and tortoiseshell cats were thought to have too much "attitude." The subject was revisited in a University of California Davis study a few years later. This time, results were tabulated from 1,274 completed surveys.

What breed is a white cat with black spots? ›

Magpie: white cats with random black spotting. Harlequin: similar to the magpie with random black spotting, but with a black tail as well. Cap and saddle: coloured head with a saddle patch on the cat's back, these felines might also have a black tail. Van: Splashes of black colouring between the ears with a black tail.

How rare is a chimera cat? ›

How common are chimera cats? While chimerism among animals is exceedingly rare, among cats, "chimeras are really not all that rare", explained Leslie Lyons, a professor at the University of California, Davis. In fact, Lyons explains that most male tortoiseshell cats are probably chimeras.

Can a calico cat get pregnant? ›

Calico Cats Can't Be Bred

Due to their unique genetic makeup (and the fact that male calico cats are born sterile), calico cats cannot actually be bred.

Who has 69 chromosomes? ›

Infants with triploidy have 69 total chromosomes. The extra set of chromosomes happens when: The egg is fertilized by two sperm. The egg is fertilized by a sperm that has an extra set of chromosomes.

What animal has 60 chromosomes? ›

The goat (Capra hircus) also has a chromosome number of 60 (Sokolov, 1930; Shiwago, 1931). The chromosomes of the goat were recently studied by Basrur and Coubrough (1964), who found all chromosomes to be acrocentric.

What animal has 24 chromosomes? ›

We humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and interestingly, chimps, gorillas and orangutans have 24 such pairs.

Can a cat have 3 eyes? ›

Being born with three eyes is extremely rare for an animal, and there's little research into just how often it can happen. Titled "My newborn kitten was born three-eyes," the post received over 17,000 votes in just a day, with users left as equally confused as in adoration for the unique feline.

Can cats have ADHD or autism? ›

While some vets and animal experts seem to agree that cats can get ADHD, the condition isn't recognized by all. Cats can exhibit symptoms or personality and behavioral traits that are often linked to ADHD in humans, especially human children.

Can cats have both sexes? ›

A tiny kitten handed into Cats Protection turned out to be one of nature's rarest finds – a hermaphrodite puss with both male and female organs. Nine-week-old Bellini was part of a litter of kittens taken in by the charity's St Helen's Adoption Centre in Merseyside in February when they were just a few days old.

What chromosome number is cat cry syndrome? ›

Description. Cri-du-chat (cat's cry) syndrome, also known as 5p- (5p minus) syndrome, is a chromosomal condition that results when a piece of chromosome 5 is missing . Infants with this condition often have a high-pitched cry that sounds like that of a cat.

How many chromosomes do autistic humans have? ›

This slow and complex process allowed researchers to create a detailed catalog of all 46 chromosomes for each autistic person, to find any missing blocks of these chromosomes.

Are there XXY cats? ›

In rare cases, cats can have an extra X chromosome making them XXY. These cats present as male, but can be Calico because they have two X chromosomes. This XXY configuration can cause Klinefelter's Syndrome, which is a health issue we'll get into later.

Which animal has most chromosomes? ›

The animal with the most chromosomes per cell among diploid, non-polyploid eukaryote species is the Atlas blue butterfly (Polyommatus/Plebicula atlanticus). Native to Morocco and Algeria, it possesses 448–452 chromosomes (i.e. 224–26 pairs) per cell.

What chromosome is cat color? ›

Cats: One X-linked Gene with Two Alleles for Coat Color

In cats, one of several genes controlling fur color is located on the X chromosome. The gene has two versions, or alleles. One form of the gene codes for orange fur (XB), and the other form codes for black fur (Xb).

Why do cats cry like babies? ›

Yep, according to science, some cats can meow at the same frequency as an infant's cry. This may prove one of two things: Cats have manipulated humans' love of babies to their favor; or. Cats and babies are actually the same.

Is Cat Eye Syndrome Real? ›

Cat eye syndrome (CES), also known as Schmid-Fraccaro syndrome, is a very rare genetic disorder that's usually evident at birth. It gets its name from the distinctive eye pattern present in about half of affected individuals.

What chromosome is Down syndrome? ›

Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21. A medical term for having an extra copy of a chromosome is 'trisomy.'

Which parent carries autism gene? ›

Due to its lower prevalence in females, autism was always thought to have a maternal inheritance component. However, research also suggests that the rarer variants associated with autism are mostly inherited from the father.

What chromosome is missing in Down syndrome? ›

Most babies inherit 23 chromosomes from each parent, for a total of 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome however, end up with three chromosomes at position 21, instead of the usual pair.

Can male and female cats mate? ›

However, a tom (male cat) that has reached full maturity (typically 6-12 months) can mate with a female cat whenever she allows it.

What can't cats taste? ›

Cats Can't Taste Sweetness, Study Finds : NPR. Cats Can't Taste Sweetness, Study Finds Some scientists have long suspected that cats, which are strict carnivores, are "sweet blind." Now there's proof: Cats lack the receptor for sweetness. The discovery opens a window on what taste is for and how it evolved.

What animal has 92 chromosomes? ›

The mitotic and meiotic chromosomes of the semiaquatic rodent Ichthyomys pittieri (Rodentia, Cricetinae) from Venezuela were analyzed by means of conventional staining and several banding techniques. The diploid chromosome number of this rare species is 2n = 92, which is the highest value known for mammals.

What animals have 96 chromosomes? ›

Chromosome Number of various Animals
AnimalChromosome number
96. Mule63 (semi-infertile)
97. Myrmecia pilosula (ant)2 for females, males are haploid
98. Opossum22
99. Orangutan (Pongo x)48
137 more rows
Feb 18, 2012


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