After a recent change to the rules enforced by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Dawnstreader Texas Calboy can never win the award of “Best in Show.” The cat’s name comes from a combination of his Texan home, “Dawntreader Maine Coons,” and the fact that he is a rare male calico.
Dawnstreader Texas Calboy’s genetics place him within the group of 1 male in every 3,000 calicos, a fur color trait known for its patches of black, white and orange coloring. The genetic combination that results in a male calicos is nearly mythical. Angela Berger, a veterinarian affiliated with the Human Society Silicon Valley, remarked that she had never encountered a male calico in her two decades of shelter work.
The factors that go into what a cat’s coat is colored are typically linked to the cat’s sex. Brittney Barton, a Dallas veterinarian, remarked that Calboy’s coloring makes him a genetic impossibility. Despite his relatively unique circumstance, the CFA determined that Calboy’s status as a male calico is sufficient grounds to classify him as a genetically deficient feline. Calboy is a “chimera,” a lifeform that contains two sets of DNA. The CFA claims that Calboy’s chimera status could be detrimental to his breed.
Although Calboy was recently permitted to compete in a CFA competition for best in breed in Houston, Texas, the recent rule change stipulated that any cat with a genetic anomaly is ineligible for a CFA championship. Michelle Stevenson, owner of the cattery Calboy was born in, remarked that the CFA’s decision not only made it impossible for Calboy but for all male calicos, regardless of breed. Stevenson went on to express her desire for the organization to see Calboy as an exceptional feline and to look past his sex.
Since the Houston competition where Calboy appeared, Calboy has participated in at last one event hosted by The International Cat Association. TICA is a competitor to the CFA and Vickie Fisher, its president, has stated that Calboy is more than welcome to compete in TICA events.
While the term “chimera” originates from the monstrous hybrid of a snake, goat, lion from Greek Mythology, its usage has expanded to describe something as otherworldly or to refer to any creature with multiple sets of DNA. Genetic chimeras can exhibit such traits as hermaphroditism or having more than one blood types. An animal chimera results when multiple eggs are successfully fertilized and merge.