Cat Colors and Marks

When you think on the solid blue color of the British short hair cat, the delicate shaded cloak of a lilac Persian, or the uniformed cream with a subtle contrast at the tips of the so called Himalayan, it is difficult to remember that the basic colors and designs of the felines hair are the patterns of the brownish tabby: irregular marks of a golden brown tone over a more clearer background, the classic tiger like design. This pattern has the evident advantage of giving the cat a camouflage that is frequent in wild animals, including several members of the feline family, as are the several and the African wild cat.

The chromatic spectrum of the feline hair depends on a dozen of genes, with a diversification of combinations.

The genes agouti called this way due to a rodent with this same name, of the size of a rabbit and that has its habitat in Central America), and one or more of the T genes, that gives place to several varieties of tabby patterns. These genes are present in the genotype of all cats, in a way that they all have the potential of presenting brownish tabby marks.

The agouti gene is dominant with respect to the non-agouti mutant gene, which inhibits the presence of tabby marks.

 In this case it is applied, as always, the laws of inheritance: all mating with a tabby will give place to a tabby whelp, due to the presence of the dominant gene A, but two fathers without the tabby pattern, each one with a gene A, will have as a results whelps without tiger like patterns.

Anyhow, this law is not infallible. Even the whelps without tabby marks have a tendency to it, due that they frequently show in the marks barely perceivable on their adult cloak.

It would seem, that defying the genetics, the cat resists abandoning its natural tiger like hair that in freedom protects him from predators.

Solid Colors
When the dominance of the agouti gene doesn’t exist, other genes enter into the game that, depending on the genetic mixture, will give place to cloaks of several flat colors, denominated solid or uniformed colors.

One of the basic tones is the color black, produced by the B gene, that permits the presence of a black pigment, the melanin in the animal’s hair.

The mutations of the B gene can give place to the colors blue (in reality bluish gray), chocolate, cinnamon (light brown) and lilac. The orange O gene is the responsible for the color red Y, and its diluted version, of the cream color.

The gene that inhibits the presence of agouti hairs is not effective with the orange gene, so the inherent tabby pattern tends to appear in these cases that difficult the breeding of red and solid cream.

Cats, due that there usually appears tabby marks in the face, legs and tail. On the other hand, the dominant white W gene produces the color white, but it also mutant and one of the less trust worthy genes from the point of view of the breeders.

A homozigotic mating for the W gene produces a litter of white whelps, but a heterozigotic gives place to an amazing variety of colors transmitted by an ancestor of the litter.

You mustn’t confuse the white W gene produces a litter of white whelps, but a heterozigotic gives place to an amazing variety of colors transmitted by an ancestor of the litter.

You mustn’t confuse the white W gene with the gene responsible for white spots, denominated S, and that in difference from the W, id not associated with deafness.

But this is just the beginning. Also from the solid basic colors, there exists other genes that affect the distribution, the pattern and the relative intensity of the colors of the cloaks, the definition of the tips (face, ears, legs and tail) and what could be denominated as “special effects”: the shadings and the spotting.

Cat Houses Cat Facial Features Cat Tail, Feet and Paws Cat Colors and Marks Opposite Types of Cats Classification by Breeds Selective Cat Breeding The Cobby Type Cat and Foreign Types of Cat The Tabby Cat Pattern Smoke and Gray Cats Cat Points