From comic strip cut-ups of Garfield and Heathcliff to product mascots like Morris and Chester Cheetah to boisterous cartoon characters like Tigger, orange cats have earned a special place in the popular imagination. But all it would take is a slight change in a pigment called pheomelanin for these popular cats to appear yellow or red instead. Pheomelanin pigment is present in all ginger cats, but the level of pheomelanin determines where a cat’s fur coloring falls on a scale of yellow to red. That means that orange cat breeds can also commonly be born with red or yellow fur of varying brightness depending on the level of pigment, so they are often referred to as red cats or even yellow cats as well. There’s a lot of overlap where the pigment is concerned, but all orange cat breeds are also technicallytabby cats in addition to being ginger.
While it’s a common mistake to identify a tabby as a breed, it simply refers to a unique set of markings — and the gene that causes those tabby markings is present in all cats with ginger genes. As a result, no ginger cat breeds are solid colors, though they can express several different patterns in their fur. Like blue eyes, orange fur is a recessive gene and tends to appear in some cat breeds more than others. With that in mind, here are eight of the most interesting orange cat breeds along with ideas for how to name them.
#8: Turkish Angora — Royal Poise, Playful Mind
The name of this handsome long-haired cat is a reference to its place of origin — the Turkish capital that’s now known as Ankara. While it’s speculated that Vikings may have imported this breed to western Europe roughly a thousand years ago, a lack of interest in the breed led to their near extinction. It was only thanks to breeding efforts initiated by the Ankara Zoo that the breed was brought back to stable levels. Ginger is just one of 10 fur colors that appear in this breed, making orange Turkish Angora cats a rarity among an already rare breed.
Despite having the poised aesthetics of royalty, these cats have a playful personality and a playful streak throughout their lives. Due to their highly sociable natures, the Turkish Angora thrives in environments with attentive caregivers or other pets to play with.
Suggested Orange Cat Name: Poppy
Once a popular girl’s name in the early 20th century, poppy flowers are also grown in Turkey and can sometimes manifest vividly orange petals. That makes it a particularly cute choice for a Turkish Angora but appropriate for any orange cat.
#7: British Shorthair — A Common Breed That’s Uncommonly Calm
The blue-furred “British Blue” is the standard for this stocky cat breed, but their adorable round cheeks and big eyes are just as charming with orange coloring. The personality of this breed is conventionally British — pleasant and loving but somewhat reserved. Despite being resistant to shows of physical affection, these cats are known to form tight and loyal bonds with the entire family and aren’t the type to play favorites. Their willingness to adapt to their circumstances and their generally quiet and unassuming natures makes them an appropriate choice for apartment living. There’s no need to worry about coming home to find your furniture destroyed.
Suggested Orange Cat Name: Gingersnap
The recipe for the comforting cookie known as gingersnaps was brought to America by English settlers, likely on ships with British longhairs aboard. It’s a sweet and understated name for a sweet and understated cat.
#6: Munchkin Cat — Mischievous Little Felines
As a breed first introduced officially in 1991, the Munchkin Cat is typically the length of the average house cat but has significantly shorter legs. Their stubby limbs are the result of a genetic mutation that requires selective breeding — and they can be expensive as a result. And while they might not be able to jump as high as other breeds, these cats are otherwise physiologically normal felines, albeit ones with a playfully mischievous streak. They’re particularly notorious for their habit of hoarding toys, shiny objects, and trash in secret stashes. Munchkins are available in practically every coat and eye color, so it’s possible to find a munchkin with blue eyes and orange fur. Just keep in mind that their rarity means you may have to look a little longer and spend a little more.
Suggested Orange Cat Name: Tigger
While he may have longer legs and better jumping skills than the Munchkin, Winnie the Pooh’s loyal but hyperactive friend has a personality quite similar to this pint-sized breed.
#5: Maine Coon — A Giant Among Its Peers
The back half of the 20th century saw this massively sized breed of cat surge in popularity — and now it’s not difficult at all to find one with orange fur. The Cat Fanciers’ Association lists five different variations of the orange Maine Coon. These include a solid orange with a pattern so thick it’s nearly indistinguishable. The longest Maine coon in history, Stewie, reached a length surpassing four feet — but these gentle giants are known for having a personality similar to golden retriever dogs. They sometimes seem to treat their human families as a pack and come when their name is called. They’re also highly curious pets, though any destruction they’ll cause is more likely a result of clumsiness than malice.
Suggested Orange Cat Name: Sunshine
Due to their big, boisterous, and vibrant personalities, Maine coon cats brighten any room they walk into. Sunshine is a name that can let your cat know they’re the light of your life.
#4: Scottish Fold — Designer Cats With Kind Hearts
Scottish Folds can be easily identified by their uniquely folded ears, though this isn’t a feature they have at birth. This creates a face and eyes that are even more rounded than that of the British shorthair, and they’re commonly compared to owls as a result. Unfortunately, selectively breeding that mutation carelessly can lead to major health issues, so finding a reliable breeder is an absolute necessity. That effectively makes the Scottish fold a designer cat, but that doesn’t mean it’s a diva. They’re relatively small in size and can adapt to practically any living situation, but they’re also known for the soft but fervent affection they show to their owners. The cats are some of the most expensive cat breeds in the world.
Suggested Orange Cat Breed: Garfield
The world’s most famous lasagna-loving cat might not have the folded ears of this breed, but he does have the same big eyes and pleasantly rounded features. Just keep in mind that they might get a little ornery on Mondays.
#3: Devon Rex — A Relentless Mischief Maker
Like the Scottish fold, the Devon Rex is best identified by its ears. These large, bat-like sensory organs help magnify their large eyes and compact muzzle. It’s a unique aesthetic to match a unique personality. The Devon Rex can be playful and mischievous to an extent that some might call destructive, and their incredibly sharp minds only make them more dangerous. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll find a cat like no other. These athletic cats love to play and can even be taught to perform complicated tricks and play games like dogs. They’re both curious and close with their families, and you can expect the Devon Rex to regularly follow you all over the house and express an interest in everything you do.
Suggested Orange Cat Name: Firecracker
Watching a Devon Rex at play can sometimes feel like watching a fireworks factory explode — but they always seem to walk away unharmed. If your cat has a short fuse and an active imagination, this could be the name for them.
#2: Persian — A Ball of Fluff With a Distinguished History
First bred in 17th century Iran, the Persian is one of the oldest cat breeds in history. The Persian’s flat face is its most distinguishing feature, but they’re also characterized by their incredibly fluffy coats. While that lends them an elegant appearance and makes them delightful to snuggle with, they also have much higher grooming needs than the average cat. Fortunately, their personalities aren’t especially demanding. Most Persians are happy to spend most of their day lounging around and cuddling with their owners — although they’re prone to quick and sudden bursts of energy that can startle the unaware. This fluffy breed appears in over a dozen different colors, including countless different shades of orange.
Suggested Orange Cat Name: Honey
It takes about three to four weeks for bees to produce honey. Honey, with its aging process, fits this old cat breed well.
#1: Egyptian Mau — Wild Look, Cosmopolitan Mind
All orange cats technically have markings, but the distinct spots of the Egyptian Mau are a rarity among domesticated cats and lend these lean and attentive cats the distinct aesthetic of wild cats. But these cats are descended from those kept by Egyptian royalty, and they’re more sophisticated than their wild appearances would suggest. The Egyptian Mau will initially give strangers the cold shoulder but warm up quickly. These cats are highly sociable and love humans, but they’re also highly intelligent and possessed of a fierce independent streak. But as long as they have a little bit of space and the means to fulfill their naturally athletic urges, the Egyptian Mau can be one of the most affectionate house cats around.
Suggested Orange Cat Name: Shere Khan
The Jungle Book’s antagonistic tiger may have been striped rather than spotted, but he had the swagger and wits that the Egyptian Mau is known for. Hopefully, your little tiger won’t pick up Khan’s sadistic streak.