Facts Regarding Cat Coats

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Fascinating Facts Regarding Different Cat Coats & Patterns

Did you know that the fictional cat Garfield whom we all adored during our mellow childhood days was actually a red tabby Exotic Short hair? But as baffling as “red tabby Exotic Short hair” might sound, it is a cat’s distinct coat colour, pattern and fur length that makes each and every little feline so magnificently stunning and charming. These little furballs have the most eclectic and diversified range of coat colours and patterns that not only sets them apart from each other, but also speaks volumes about their demeanour
in general.

It is really exciting for all the feline admirers, ailurophiles and potential cat parents to learn and acquaint themselves with the various different types of colours and coats that a cat comes in. Genetic mutations or selective breeding are primarily the major reasons of each kitty having the most resplendent and beautiful coat patterns, but however in case you are bewildered between the adorable calicos or the cute as a button torties, the opulent bi-colours or the wonderful tabbies and amongst several other kitty’s coat colour prints, well then fret not as we are here to your rescue. We’ll help you recognise and classify these gorgeous felines, and by the end of this blog, you would undoubtedly be flaunting your newly acquired “cat” expertise by distinguishing amongst the differently patterned cattos.

The main cat coat colours are

  • White
  • Black or Ebony
  • Red (Ginger) that is Orange
  • Grey or Blue
  • Cream or Beige
  • Fawn
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown or Chocolate or Sable

Furthermore the majorly observed coat colour patterns in a little feline are as

  • Self – Colour/ Solid
  • Bi- Colour
  • Tabby
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Calico / Tri Colour
  • Colour Point

However the above variations amongst the cat coats are solely the physical properties and should hence not be confused with cat breeds. A cat might also have the coat of a certain breed even though she might not be of that breed. Nevertheless let us delve into the nitty-gritty details of some of the above mentioned cat coat patterns.

Self – Colour/ Solid Coat Pattern

A cat that has a single coloured coat evenly distributed all over her body is the one with a solid coat pattern. There are primarily four basic solid or self – colours in cats namely black, red (orange), cinnamon and chocolate. White however is considered as an absence of colour rather than a colour, per se. Also when a kitten is really young, it might have a few tiny patches of a secondary colour, but as the kitty matures, the odd fur colour fades away and the cat’s coat pattern becomes solid coloured all over. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the same colours are referred to by different names in different breeds, and even if the same breed, the colour might have different names depending on which country the cat is from. If a cat possesses any other coloured splotch on her coat, she is not regarded as a solid coat type.

  • The jet-black coloured kitty is referred to as “Ebony “.
  • The Abyssinian cat also has a solid coat pattern with a deep and a warm reddish-brown base.
  • Red cats are the Red Tabby cats because of a non – agouti gene ( the gene that is responsible for turning a tabby into a solid/self colour) which does not manipulate with the way the red pigment is deposited. Also a variety of other genes that are known as the modifiers or the polygenes control the intensity of the cat’s coat colour. Selectively breeding cats with least red markings has
    successfully produced solid red cats who have a self – colour coat pattern.

Bi- Colour Coat Pattern

  • Bi – Coloured cats are those who possess a coat that is primarily white with one other colour. The other colour might be solid such as black or could even demonstrate a tabby pattern. The Bi-Colour pattern is extremely common amongst the mixed breed cats but it is widely prevalent in several feline breeds. This coat type is originally caused by the presence of the white spotting gene.
  • Bicolour coat patterns can occur in different breeds such as Cornish Rex,
    British Shorthair, Exotic Shorthair, Cymric, Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cat,
  • Manx, Persians and the Turkish Van and also in most domestic cats.
  • Harlequin is used for cat that has an almost all white coat.
  • A black cat that has a white belly, paws and also a white face is usually alluded to as a “Tuxedo” cat.
  • A black cat that has a single, small white patch on the chest, is referred to as a “locket” on the chest.
  • Van is a term for a specific variation wherein the cat’s coat is almost white, but has coloured patches only on the head, in- between the ears and has a coloured tail.

Tabby Coat Pattern

-The most common and widely prevalent coat type in cats is the Tabby coat pattern. This coat has four variations that are succinctly explained below.
Striped (Mackerel) Tabby –
– A striped or a mackerel tabby has vertical stripes that run from his spine to his belly. Their stripes appear like narrow fish bones which may break up into spots or bars.
Spotted Tabby
– As the name suggests, a spotted tabby has stripes that break into spots that may be arranged horizontally or vertically. These spots are primarily caused by modification of the mackerel stripes.

Blotched (Marbled) or Classic Tabby

– A classic tabby has a swirly pattern on its coat that creates a beautiful marbled effect. The classic tabby pattern comprises of whorls, wide bands and dark-colored spirals on pale background that generally has an oyster pattern on flank or has bulls-eye. These marbled tabby cats are extremely common in Great Britain, Iran and in lands that were erstwhile under the British and the
Persian Empire.
Ticked ( Agouti) Tabby –
– The ticked tabby cats usually have striped legs and tail, albeit the rest of the body appears mottled by virtue of their agouti hair. Agouti hair is when each individual hair strand possesses more than one colour, that is generally black with an orangish / reddish brown.

  • Tabby cats generally demonstrate the following traits –
  • M on their foreheads with narrow pencil lines on face. ( This is particularly visible in ticked tabby cats, albeit hard to recognize on shaded golden or silver, and also tipped cats)
  • A Black “eyeliner” look with white or pale coloured fur that surrounds the eyeliner.
  • The lips and paws are pigmented
  • The nose of a Tabby is pink, albeit it is outlined in a darker pigment.
  • Torso, leg, and tail banding. (Torso banding ceases to be visible in the ticked tabby.

Tortoiseshell Coat Pattern

  • The cats with the opulent tortoiseshell coat pattern are a mix of orange and black or their subtle version is that of cream and blue coat. It is interesting to note that all tortoiseshell and calico cats are almost always female with approximately one in three thousand cats being a male tortie or calico, who took are always sterile right from birth. The reason for tortoiseshell and calicos always being female is because the orange coloured gene is carried on sex-linked X chromosome. Males however are XY that is they only have one X chromosome, and they can hence only be black or red, or of some other variation of each due to the modifying factors.
    Females on the contrary are XX, and can ergo be both black and red, and that’s how we get the splendid tortie females who fundamentally have black coats with red splashes on it. If the female cat inherits the dilute factor, she would have a blue-cream coat colour, that is quite common in tortoiseshell cats. Torties can also have brindled coats wherein the two colours are mixed in
    equal proportion, or they might even have distinct patches.

Torbie is a female kitty who is a mix of a Tabby and a Tortoiseshell. Torbie cats have unique and distinct markings of both the coat patterns.

Male tortoiseshell are extremely rare but can occur by way of certain chromosomal abnormalities such as Klinefelter syndrome, by a phenomenon namely chimerism wherein two early stage embryos are fused into a single kitten or also by mosaicism.

Calico / tri-color Coat Pattern The adorable Calicos are known as mi-ke that means “triple fur in Japanese and lapjeskat that in Dutch, refers to a “patched cat”. Also as the name elucidates, the tricolor coat pattern is a mix of white, black and red (that is
orange/ ginger), or the subtle versions of blue and cream. A calico has large amounts of white with well defined patches of cream/red and blue/black coloured fur. However with intermediate amounts of white, a feline may even exude a tortie pattern, a calico pattern or something in between, that primarily depends on various epigenetic factors.

  • It is interesting to note that Calimanco or Clouded tigers are diluted calico cats with lighter coat colouration.
  • Just like Tortoiseshell tabbies are known as torbies, calico tabbies are refered to as Tabicos or Calibys.
  • Colour Point Coat Pattern
  • The colourpoint coat pattern is usually associated with Siamese cats, but it may be found in any domesticated cat. A colour pointed cat has a darker coat color on the face, ears, tail and feet, and has a lighter shade of the same coat colour on the rest of its body, along with some white. The exact name of the colourpoint pattern is based on the actual color, and hence there are the following categories under the colour point cat coat pattern –
  • Seal Point (dark brown)
  • Blue Points (dark gray)
  • Chocolate Points (warm lighter brown)
  • Frost or Lilac Points (silvery gray-pink)
  • Tortie Points (tortoiseshell mottling)
  • Flame or Red Points (Orange)

The colour point coat pattern is primarily caused by virtue of a temperature sensitive mutation in one of the enzymes of metabolic pathway, such as the melanin, and hence almost little to no pigment is produced except in case of extremities or at points wherein the skin is slightly cooler. The colour pointed cats therefore darken with age as their body temperature drops, and the coolest part of the cat’s body becomes darker in colour.

  • Colour point pattern is actually temperature centric, and herein the body parts of a cat’s body, that are essentially cooler, tend to develop a darker coat colour as the cat grows up.
  • The colour points, as elucidated above, can also be present in tricolour pattern or in a tabby pattern, and the tabby colourpoints are referred to as “lynx”.

Well we have succinctly illuminated on the various fascinating cat coat patterns, and this blog is a must read for all the feline enthusiasts and the ailurophiles, or simply for newbie cat parents who need help in identifying their cats.
However should you still have any further questions regarding your beloved queen cat, or in case you wish to get your own majestic furbaby, please feel free to contact us at +91-9168880648.

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