As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
It’s interesting to see all the different patterns in cats. There are scratches, stains and mixtures of colors. If you have had a cat since it was a kitten, you will definitely notice color changes in the coat as it ages. The model itself, however, does not change.
Can the pattern of a cat’s fur change over time? The patterns on different cats can vary greatly, depending on the breed. There are even specific names for many models. The color of a cat’s fur may become lighter or darker over time. However, the scheme remains the same.
If you choose a cat because of its pattern, you can be sure that the cat will keep it. You should, however, allow changes in color shade. If you prefer a particular color or pattern, get a cat from someone who has the parents. This way you can see what your cat will look like as an adult.
Can the pattern of a cat’s fur change over time?
The pattern on a cat has to do with combinations of individual genes. Certain colors and patterns also clearly mark the cat as male or female. Genes mixed by selection have caused many variations over thousands of years.
The patterns are all a variation of two primary colors that cats shared early on. They are black and orange/red. This seems incredible given the many colors that cats show today. White cats and Siamese cats, for example, are far from black or orange.
The colors of cats are complicated, because these animals originated in Egypt centuries ago. They traveled through Asia and Europe before landing in Canada in the late 900s and South America in the 1400s.
The Basics of Cat Fur Colors and Patterns
The basic colors of the cats are orange/red and black. Every color you see today is a genetic mixture of these two colors. As with most domesticated animals, humans began breeding specifically to bring out a specific aesthetic.
Genetics determine how much of a certain color appears on a cat’s coat. Genes and polygenes are responsible for color variation. It takes a lot of mixing over a long period of time to dilute the genes of cats and notice significant changes.
You can refer to a solid color cat as no pattern. Since patterns are determined by genetics, they are set from birth and do not change.
The age of the cat
A cat’s fur doesn’t change much as it grows. Like many animals, they are sweetest when they are babies. They shed their kitten coats at around five months. If you get a kitten with a pronounced pattern, you can expect it to stay the same.
On some cats that become solid colored, you may see a slight pattern when they are kittens. You can tell, however, if a pattern is barely noticeable. This gives you a hint that the cat should be solid as an adult. Some solid color cats also show a bright pattern when the sun shines on them.
Kittens are generally lighter in color than adults, whether they have a pattern or not. Once they shed their baby fur, expect them to darken as they age. Older cats may show silver or white all over their coat.
All about tabby patterns
Patterns on cats are often a variation of Tabby. It’s common to call a cat a “tabby” if it has curvy lines all over it. A typical color combination is gray with black lines. These can swirl in many directions. Experts call it a classic tabby, however.
Tabby cats have an “M” on their forehead the same color as the stripes. Even solid-colored cats can be tabby. The pattern appears if the agouti gene is dominant. The solid colors are the result of the predominance of the non-agouti recessive gene. You can better understand the different tabby patterns by learning about the different types.
- Spotted – various sizes and shapes of spots, Bengals and Ocicats
- Patched female cats only, any tabby pattern with added red/orange spots
- Ticked – each piece of fur is light at the root and darker on the surface, cats look freckled
- Classic – stripes in a myriad of directions, spotted, a target pattern in one area
- Mackerel – stripes along the sides of the cat and down the middle of the back
You can find a variety of cat colors in the modern world. However, since they all come from the basic black and red/orange genes, it’s fascinating to see the diversity. There are about ten basic colors that you can expect to see on a solid color cat.
- Tan, cream, yellow
- blue grey)
These colors appear in different combinations on patterned cats. You may hear other names that refer to the same colors, such as sable, brown, or ebony. Some colors are also variations or dilutions of others.
Shading is not just a combination of colors. It’s a model. This model is exactly what it sounds like. The fur is a different color at the ends on certain parts of the body. This pattern is a stroke of the cats with a white base coat.
There are three different types of ombre fur patterns. They are smoky, chinchilla and shaded. The difference between them is the depth of the color on the individual strands of white fur. This depth is uniform across all shaded strands.
Smoke-patterned cats sometimes seem solid until you disturb their fur. Then you can see the white coat underneath. The color goes from the tip of the hair halfway down to the skin of the cat. Chinchillas only have the color on the tips of the fur, making it easier to see the white basecoat.
Even though most people consider white a color choice for cats, it really is a lack of color. Recessive genes from both parents lead to loss of pigmentation. A fluffy white cat might be your idea of a dream pet, but it can have a lot of health issues. They tend to be sensitive to the sun, develop skin allergies, and even get more cancers.
These health issues only apply to pure white cats. Even a hint of color on the fur anywhere on the body can indicate a healthier genetic makeup. A little shading or a splash of color means there is some pigmentation. White cats with blue eyes are most at risk.
White cats are often deaf. There are many who are not; However, there is a good chance that a white kitten will end up deaf. The lack of pigmentation extends to the receptors in the inner ear, causing deafness.
Siamese cats have a unique pattern called a limited point pattern. Albino genes play a role in exhibiting a Siamese pattern. The face and the tips of the paws have darker fur. The tail is also darker.
Darker fur is only found on parts of the body that stay at a cooler temperature. The warmest core of the body is a light fawn or cream collar. Technically, the darker color is a mutation of the original lilac. The darkest color gene is heat sensitive.
Some Siamese mixes have less distinctive color differences between their core and outer parts. They are a mix of Siamese and Burmese cats. Burma is close to Thailand, where the Siamese cats originated. The country of Thailand was once called Siam, which gave its name to the Siamese cat.
A cat’s orientation can also affect the pattern. Specific patterns with the addition of red/orange are always feminine. They may also have other colors that form patches. Tortoiseshells and Calicos can be bicolor or tricolor cats. The primary color is usually white or black, with additional colors in various places.
Females are a color combination with red/orange, while males are just one or the other. It has to do with the chromosome that carries the gene. You need an XX to combine black and red.
The patterns of these color combinations can also be one of many tabby patterns. It is easy to tell immediately if there are females in the litters when they show certain color combinations.
too many cats
It is easy to find stray cats in many countries because they are not native to many regions. It is an invasive species as it has no natural predators in many areas. The cat population is spiraling out of control, leaving many cats on the streets.
This allows them to reproduce uncontrollably. It also increases the dilution of many colors and patterns. For example, an ordinary cat may have the gene for a Siamese color and pattern, but the offspring do not show it. Both parents must have this gene for a cat to look Siamese.
Unique breeds and colors are often more in demand, leaving strays to continue living compromised lifestyles. Many designs have become more prevalent due to the large wandering population and the recent popularity of animal rescue.
Where to find a cat with the pattern you want
If you’re interested in a specific pattern or color, you can find the cat you want in a variety of places. There aren’t as many cat breeders as there are dog breeders, but there are a few luxury breeds that some people prefer to buy from a breeder.
You can find almost any type of cat in a shelter. Before you commit to buying from a breeder, scour your local shelter. You can find exactly what you are looking for. If you plan to breed, however, you must obtain a cat with a pure line from a breeder.
Breeders can charge up to $5,000 for a purebred cat. There are many cat rescue organizations that focus on specific breeds. You can easily find the breed you want in one of these, and they are much more affordable.
The genetics that determine patterns in cats can be quite complicated. There are many patterns that often occur when cats breed naturally. Breeders often try to get rid of particular traits or encourage others. Appropriate genetic testing of the parents is needed to achieve this. You can find a cat with a pattern you like through a breeder, shelter, or rescue organization.