The Surprising Symbolism of Orange Cats: A Guide to Understanding This Distinct Feline

2 orange cats walking away main

Cats have been beloved and worshiped since ancient times. Orange cats (gingers) have their own special meanings.  Most orange cats are males. They have a reputation for being friendly, affectionate, and lucky. Orange cats are also known to love food and getting a lot of sleep.  Some famous orange cats are Garfield, Morris, and Puss in Boots.  

Beloved Gingers Before Prince Harry 

Prince Harry is undoubtedly the most famous “ginger” these days.  

But, when I was younger, Garfield might have had that honor.  The grumpy orange cat who loves lasagna but hates Mondays was beloved nationwide.  We also had Morris, who promoted 9 Lives cat food.  Very impressive to find cat food to meet the high standards of such a finicky cat.  

And, there are many more.  The cat in Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Puss in Boots, and multiple cats outer space adjacent (including Aliens and Men in Black).  Maybe yours too.  

We talked all about cats before.  But, why do people go so ga ga over orange cats?  

Orange Cats 

Orange cats are not their own separate breeds.  They can be many different breeds, from Persian and Maine Coon to Domestic Short Hair.  Many are “tabbies.”

A tabby is a domesticated cat with a coat that features distinctive stripes, dots, or swirling patterns, usually with a marking resembling an uppercase “M” on its forehead.  

A Lot Of Males 

All those fictional orange cats being males is not a coincidence.  

Orange tabbies are much more likely to be male.  The orange color is transferred by the “X” chromosome.  Girl cats (XX) need both to be orange.  Boy cats (XY) only one.  

Around three of four orange cats are male.  

Friendly Fellows

Orange cats also have a reputation as being the most friendly and affectionate to humans.  Scientific studies back this up to some degree.  It is believed, for instance, that orange cats are more sure about themselves, so are comfortable with us humans too.  

How friendly? Well, the story goes that an orange cat comforted Jesus himself when he was a fussy baby.  A warm, cuddly, purring ginger tabby calmed the infant Jesus.  Jesus’ mom, Mary, kissed the pussy cat to thank him.  And, that is why there is a “M” on their forehead!  

Cat owners will be sure to tell you that orange cats still have lots of different personalities.  Still, Garfield aside, orange cats are not grumpy at all.  On any day of the week! 

Name fun: Garfield was not named after President Garfield.  Garfield was named after his cartoonist’s curmudgeon grandfather, James A. Garfield Davis.


Orange cats tend to live in rural areas and generally areas less dangerous.  

This leads orange cats to take more risks.  Male orange cats are also more “frisky” (seeking out more mates) than female cats.  Both of these things might explain Puss in Boots, the adventurous pussy cat Don Juan. 

Orange cats are adventurers and seeing one is a sign that you should take your own adventure.  They symbolize that it is a time for change.  

Fat and Lazy

Cats have a reputation as lazy animals since they sleep so much.  

We should remember that our cat companions descended from wild cats, who spent their lives hunting.  This takes a lot out of a cat.  So, they needed their sleep.  

Orange cats have a reputation as being lazy and lovers of food (okay … fat!) even more so than other cats.  Garfield loves his lasagna and would not chase a mouse even if you paid him.  

Orange cats are not stupid.  If they are going to be given food by their servants (I mean humans), instead of having to chase after it in the wild, they are going to enjoy it!  

Lucky Charms 

Black cats have a bad reputation.  White cats can be signs of purity and goodness.

Orange cats are considered lucky.  Orange cats are friendly, live longer, and are just so cute.  Why wouldn’t it be lucky to have one around?  

An orange Maneki Neko (“beckoning cat”), a waving Japanese cat figurine, is particularly a symbol of good luck and prosperity.  Make sure to get one to bless your house but if your cat knocks it over, they might be trying to tell you something.  Pussy Cat might be jealous!

If you are a spiritual person, orange cats are full of good vibes.  They are lucky, affectionate, and enjoy the good things in life.  A well-balanced tabby! 

Celebrating Orange Cats 

Grumpy Garfield and finicky Morris aside, orange cats have a great reputation. And, even those two cats are beloved by millions.  Orange cats stand out above the rest.

International Cat Day is August 8th.  Cats are celebrated the world over. Fish-flavored cakes and everything.  Well, so, I hear.  My mom chooses not to honor Simon the cat with those.

And, of course, orange cats have their own special holiday. September 1st is Ginger Cat Appreciation Day.  Chris Roy, the software engineer, started it to honor his own cat Doobert.

Recent Posts