Cats colors and genetics

Cat colors, postcard or not, is not an artistic question but a genetic one. Without detracting from the beauty of these animals and not even wanting to reduce the magic of the legends that have been built around the history of cats, it is interesting to know how they are formed. Who decides them and if they affect the nature of the animal itself.

Cats color and character

As anticipated, the Cats colors has nothing to do with the character, it is a purely genetic matter. The behavior of a cat, let’s look into each other’s eyes, it is obvious that it is the result of very complex mind-body-environment interactions and which can also gradually lead to changes.

It is poetic but it is not realistic to think that a feline, if you see the black or brindle fur, develops psychological characteristics in one way or another.

It has been proven that it is not possible to attribute specific behaviors to a color or design. Yet rumors are still often repeated as reliable: for example, it is said that black cats with red streaks have a temper, that red cats are particularly territorial and beige ones with colored appendages give a little snobbishness. These are all beliefs without scientific basis.

Cat colors and patterns depend on its genetic heritage: there is a set of genes that in the growth phase of the fetus begins to activate to “color” the cat that will be born. If it’s not a question of character, it’s not a question of race either: with a few exceptions, color does not identify a breed and most breeds have a wide range of possible colors.

Cat color matching chart

There are several mating tables around, but this one is special and surpasses any imaginative legend.

Change color of cats hair

It is strange for a cat to change color, except during the first phase of growth, when the extremities can begin to color. European cats usually have a brown “base”, wild type coat, which is called brown or black tabby if it has black herringbone streaks. They are very popular cat colors even if common, but the reason for their preponderance lies in the fact that they are perfect for camouflaging themselves in the grass, in the bushes or on the branch of a tree. Then, the genes decide.

There is what makes gray coats brindle (blue tabby) or completely gray (solid blue) and plays a great role in the case of the Chartreux Cat by interacting with the dilution gene, capable of converting black into a greyish shade. Or, in other breeds, red in a cream / pink shade. There is the gene that replaces the brown / black bands with cream / red bands giving us the spectacle of red cats, much sought after these days.

Color cats and eyes

So large compared to the size of the head, the eyes of the cat influence more than in other animals in the general appearance of the cat, aesthetically and otherwise. There are felines with hazel or copper eyes, even tending to yellow, with the years and the bad habit of wanting to create animals with the appearance that follow our desires, playing with genetics we have made sure that today there are eye colors that range from blue, to green, to orange.

In most cases the color of the eyes is not correlated to that of the coat although in some breeds there are standards that want to make simplistic associations that prove to be true only in a few cases.

There is a case, one of the few, in which the blue color is almost mandatory, and cats with predominantly white hair. It is not a rule but the probability is high, this is explained by the presence of a form of albinism that generates a lack of pigmentation both in the hair and in the iris. It also causes dryness of the fluid present in the hearing receptors, so much so that white cats with blue eyes are often deaf.

White cats and black cats

If black cats bring bad luck in Italy, if they cross the street, in the United Kingdom they have the opposite effect, but only if they are standing still at the door. It is not a question of different perception of color: every country or almost has its own truth about the color of cats, especially if it is black, also known as solid black, the result of a genetic mutation that has transformed what appears to be a brown “background”. in black. The black cat is not black, if you look at it against the light, it is dark brown with “ghost” streaks that carry secret genetic information to those who can notice them.

Even the white cat, as mentioned, often with hearing problems, is understood and described as a special animal. There is a gene that is believed to be responsible for producing white patches in particular and it is quite unpredictable.

When it wants, it makes snow-colored patches appear, inhibiting the effect of any other antagonistic gene, this moody character of the gene explains why in the universe of cats it is difficult to detect a certain regularity in the white spots, even if consanguineous specimens are observed.

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