Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.),
Rescue / shelter organization
Posted Mar 14, 2016
These cats are certainly one of the most versatile of the breeds. They can have a variety of coat colors and are pretty hardy. I've owned one that was black and white, a calico, and two gray tabbies. They are pretty easy to maintain and don't need anything particularly special beyond the standards of cat needs such as litter boxes, food, and some form of toys.
Beyond coat color they can be very different in personality. The cat my family had when I was young, Mini, was a very aloof outdoor cat. He would be outside in the garden during the day and would come in at night. If you were patient with him he would come and sit with you so that you could pet him, but it was always on his terms. With Em, our female calico, she is very companionable most of the time, quite fond of sitting on the back of the couch behind your head or next to you on the cushion for attention. However, when she is done with you she let's you know with aggression. She is not beyond biting (not too hard) or taking a swipe at someone she is displeased with. They younger male cats, the two tabbies, were a lot more rambunctious but generally friendly.
All of our cats were indoor/outdoor cats because our dogs had a dog door. I think this arrangement was fine for where we lived (suburban) but I wouldn't recommend if you live somewhere with a lot of vehicle traffic or natural predators. Even in our suburban neighborhood sometimes we would be out after dark calling for the cat worried that they would become snacks for coyotes or foxes. The cats were pretty savvy though and we never lost one.
In my experience, these cats can be prone to getting fat if they aren't exercised. For quite a few years Em was the only cat in the house and she got quite pudgy around the middle, especially after an issue with a neighbor's cat made her disinclined to explore outside. Another warning is these cats are enthusiastic climbers and will climb up anything they can including your drapes unless you train them.
Overall, a simple cat to own and an easy enough starter cat that is available in a variety of colors.