Maryland designated the calico as the official state cat in 2001. Its colors of orange, black, and white are shared with the Baltimore oriole (the state bird) and the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly (state insect). Calico is not a breed of cat, but an unusual coloring occurring across many breeds. Virtually all calico cats are female; a male calico is a genetic anomaly and usually sterile.
A calico cat must be a tri-color (with three colors in distinct patches, not mixed as in a tortoiseshell cat). Some standards specify what percentage of the body must be white; others allow tabby striping in the color patches. To be a true tri-color, a calico cat's colors must be: white; red or cream; and black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, or fawn. Cats are also recognized as state symbols in Maine (Maine coon cat); in Massachusetts (tabby cat), and in Colorado (adopted shelter and rescue dogs and cats).