One of the wonderful things about cats is the vast range of coat colors and patterns that makes each cat unique. You best bet it will be an exciting journey to learn about all the different types of coats they come in. Believe or not, some cats even look like they have moustaches. Most of the cat breed can have varieties of pattern but some have fix pattern that have been genetically breed from ages ago by breeders. Some of them are Bengal, Himalayan, and Ragdoll. Genetic mutations can cause the most wonderful colored coats, and selective breeding has also produced some beautiful patterns.
Patterns are combinations of colors in a specific layout. There are six basic varieties that you should know about. There are Solid, Bicolor, Calico, Tabby, Tortoiseshell, and Colorpoint.
The easiest one to recognize is a coat of one solid color that is evenly distributed all over the body. Interestingly, when they are very young kittens, some solids may display a few hairs of a secondary color. As the cat matures, the odd hairs disappear and the cat becomes solid colored all over. There are cat breeds that only have solid color such as Nebelung, Russian Blue and British Shorthair.
The term bicolor refers to a coat of white and one other color. The other color can either be solid or show a tabby pattern. The Bicolor pattern is common among mixed-breed cats but it is also acceptable in many breeds. When a bicolor cat is mostly colored, the patches of white may have names that describe their location, locket (chest), mittens (paws) and buttons (patches on the abdomen).
A black cat with white paws, belly and sometimes face, is often referred to as “Tuxedo”. If a cat has mostly white coat, it will be describe as the Harlequin.
Tricolor / Calico
The tricolor pattern comes in white, black and red (orange), or their diluted versions of cream and blue. Basically, the ratio between white and color determines the number and distribution of the patches of the other two colors. This pattern mostly be found on a female cat only and rarely on male.
Where there is little white, the other two colors will be intermixed – a pattern that can also be referred to as a “tortoiseshell and white.” As the amount of white increases, the patches of red and black become more clearly defined – this patched pattern is known as calico.
This is the most common coat type in cats around the world. There are 4 variations of a tabby:
- A striped tabby also known as a mackerel tabby.
- Cat has vertical stripes running from its spine to its belly.
- A classic tabby also known as a blotched tabby
- Cat has a swirly pattern, creating a marbled effect.
- Spotted tabby
- as the name suggests this tabby variation has spots.
- Ticked tabby
- Ticked tabby’s usually have striped legs and tail (but not always), with the rest of the body appearing mottled from the agouti hair. Agouti hair is when each individual hair is more than one color.
Cat has a mix of orange and black. There also a diluted versions of cream and blue which both of these colors create most unique coat pattern. Being a mix of black and orange, this coat pattern like the tricolor, can be seen almost exclusively in females. Tortoiseshell males are rare and probably always sterile. Torties (a favorite abbreviation) can also display an underlying tabby pattern – this is sometimes referred to as “torbie.”
In this pattern, the face, paws and tail (tips/points) can be seen having a darker color than the rest of the body. This pattern is actually temperature-related – the cooler parts of the body develop a darker color. The contrast between the points and the main body color can vary, but this is usually one of the most easily recognized coat patterns.
The points can be in various colors and shades, including dark brown (seal), red (flame), blue, and lilac. In fact, in some breeds, the points can be in a tricolor pattern or in a tabby pattern in any of these colors (tabby colorpoints are sometimes called “lynx”).
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