Cat Coats: Varieties
Everyone associates tabbies with stripes. But there are several types of tabbies. My Zeke is what is called a spotted Tabby...he has both spots and stripes. His tail and legs have stripes but most of his body is spotted. His color is what is called orange or apricot.
Spotted Tabby Zeke
Types of Tabbies
Among cat experts, what we call a swirled tabby is a classic tabby. Then our tabbies with straight stripes are called mackerel tabbies. These names originated in Europe and must make some sense to them. Zeke's best buddy is Blaze who is a "classic" tabby ....the lines in his coat are swirled
Do you have a favorite cat coat?
Calico cats are three colored cats and typically (but not always) white is the predominant color. Calicos can be long haired or short haired. Typically besides white, the calico coat has orange and black or dark grey. They are favorites here in the USA. The photo below is a beautiful Calico cat I cat sit for....Cally. She is a petite short haired tabby.
Calico is not a breed. It is a coloration. Among show cats, the calico coloration is allowed in the Manx, American Shorthair, British shorthair, Persian, Japaenese Bobtail, Exotic shorthair and Turkish Van. Calicoes are almost always female. Occasionally a male calico survives birth and is almost always sterile.
Cat coat markings and colors are totally determined by genetics and calico gene is carried on the X chromosome. Male kittens that get this gene usually don't thrive and are sterile. Cat experts say that all cat colors came from red and black cats and their genetics. The fact that white cats came along is a real mutation.
All white cats are a rare mutation. The mutation occurs in the Tyrosinase (TYR) gene and produces an albino phenotype of a white coat with blue eyes. I cannot fully explain the word "phenotype" but it refers to the way a gene makes an organism look.
classic (swirled) and mackerel (striped)
Tri-colored primarily white
Two colored- primarily black always a combination of black and red
Two colored usually black and white
both male and female
mostly females, males sterile
male or female
usually white red and black
some areas can be cream colored
traditionally they are black and white but can be grey and white....it is the white feet, vest and whiskers that matter
Tortoise Shell Cats
Tortoise shell cats or Torties for short are bi-colored cats. They are a combination of red and black with black almost always the dominant color. The cats can be long haired or short haired but are always female because the genetic code for tortoise color is carried on the X chromosome. Below is a photo of Coco, a cat I fostered who was adopted by very nice people.
Typical Black and Red Tortoise ShellClick thumbnail to view full-size
Tuxedo Coat Cats
The cat known as a "tuxedo" cat in the USA and Canada is typically white a black. The name tuxedo came because it bears a resemblance to the formal wear men don at wedddings etc.
Usually "tuxedo" coat cats have four white paws, white whiskers, and a white vest with the rest of its body parts being covered with black hair. They are very striking and attractive. Some cats are called "tuxedo" even though they have some white spots on their face.
Are Tuxedos Different?
Lots of owners claim that their tuxedo cats are smarter than the average cat and have a sweet disposition. Studies cannot prove this but our Tuxedo cat, Mr. Mittens gets along with everyone and every other animal.
What Are Points
There are many types of cats with points including Siamese and Burmese. The way point colorization comes about is really very strange. The genetics of points is related to the genetics of Albinism. For example, in the case of Siamese kittens, they are typically born white because the womb is warm. When the kittens start to grow the cooler parts of the body become dark such as the extremities. However the warmer parts of the body (closer to the heart) stay pale (albino).
These are the typical point colors: seal, blue, lilac, cream and red.