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This is a question someone asked me the other day. At first I said no, but then I thought about it. Why not? But I’m no expert in feline genetics, so I asked around and did some research. Here is what I learned.
Can a tabby cat or a black cat have a Siamese kitten? Technically, no. A Siamese is a purebred cat while a tabby is not even considered a purebred; Instead, tabbies are considered house cats. A cat is purebred if its ancestors are of the same breed. However, since a tabby’s ancestry can include cats of many breeds, a tabby or black cat can breed and give birth to a cat that looks like a Siamese.
Technically, no doesn’t sound simple. I wish the answers were simple more often. A simple Yes or No would do. But with cats, the answer is never so simple. Sometimes a solution does not exist. Ask any cat owner; he or she has many unanswered questions: Why doesn’t the cat stay on the counter? How did the cat manage to open the door? Why did I decide to have a cat?
I promise to do my best to find a simple answer.
What is a cat breed?
I said that a Siamese is a different breed from a tabby. So what does cat breed mean?
For a cat to be part of a breed, it must meet specific criteria determined by organizations such as the Cat Fanciers Association. Standardized criteria allow people to decide which breed a cat belongs to by judging it against the standard. Anyone can say a cat is a Siamese, but if it doesn’t meet the criteria, it won’t be considered a pure Siamese.
If a cat is a member of a specific breed, all of its ancestors, siblings, and offspring will share enough traits that they have similar appearances, personalities, and instincts.
Typically, a breed is developed over several generations and then maintained through selective breeding. It is the practice of selecting cats that have desirable traits and breeding them to reinforce those traits. Many years of selective breeding create cats whose desirable traits – looks, personality, skills – are stable or predictable.
Cats of the same breed will reproduce faithfully, which means that their offspring will also be of the same breed. Raising a Siamese with a Siamese means you will end up with Siamese kittens. What will the kittens of a Siamese cat bred with an American Bobtail look like?
Your guess is as good as mine. And the next generation of kittens will be even more unpredictable since the genes they inherit will be more dissimilar. Can a kitten eventually appear that looks like a Siamese? It is certainly possible, especially if there are several Siamese in the family tree.
What is a purebred cat?
If an animal’s parents are both of the same breed, its breeding is “pure”. Pure means he has no ancestors of a different race. Concretely, this means that you will be able to predict what the kittens of a Siamese will look like. However, this does not mean that all cats will be the same. They will have different
- Energy levels
Still, they will share enough similar traits that you know the cat belongs to other cats of that breed. If the cat runs around all day, doesn’t leave you alone and won’t stop meowing, it’s a Siamese. Just ask a Siamese cat owner.
A weakness of purebred cats (and dogs too) is that their genetic makeup is not diverse. Animals with greater genetic diversity are more likely to be healthy while purebred cats are bred to maintain that breed’s standards, so their gene pool becomes limited.. Because there are fewer genes to choose from, purebred kittens are more likely to inherit health issues.
What is a non-purebred cat?
A cat whose breeding is not pure is sometimes called a non-purebred. Other people use the term “mixed race”. A much better sounding name that doesn’t sound like a bashing is domestic cats. The term a domestic cat is another term sometimes used. Whatever term you use, these cats are the result of crossbreeding.
And all this crossbreeding leads to such variety that there is no single description of domestic cats. They can be long-haired or short-haired, plain or striped, tall or short, thin or fat. An easily recognizable way to classify them is by coat length. Therefore, a cat can be a domestic shorthair or a domestic longhair. Many domestic cats fall into one of three categories:
|domestic cat||Common characteristics|
|Tiger||A coat that has stripes, polka dots, or swirling patterns
• A mark resembling an M on his forehead
• The most popular type of chat in the world
|Calico||• Typically female due to her two x chromosomes.
Usually between 25 and 75% white
Large patches of fur, usually black or orange
|tuxedo||• Have a distinct white and black coat
• Yellow or green eyes
However, none of these cats are purebred. Tabbies, for example, are not breed specific. Tabby is a word used to define certain coat patterns. This is why several purebred cats are considered tabbies, such as the Ocicat.
How do I know if my cat is purebred?
Just because a cat looks like a Siamese doesn’t mean it’s purebred. It is possible that a cat with a Siamese ancestor could have a kitten that looks like a Siamese. It is also possible for a cat that looks like a Siamese to have a kitten that does not look like a Siamese. These two signs indicate that the cats are not purebred.
So how does someone determine if their cat is purebred? Simple: ask the cat for its papers. Purebred cats usually have official papers that indicate the cat’s ancestry. Of course, they don’t carry these papers, that’s what the owners are for. If your cat does not have the documents, you may be able to examine its characteristics to determine the breed of your cat. But you won’t know until your cat has kittens, and maybe not even then. A cat trait may not appear for several generations.
There are now genetic tests that can help you determine your cat’s breed or breed mix. Tests use your cat’s DNA to determine your cat’s breed probably relative to. Some veterinarians and veterinary genetics labs offer this service. the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory contains detailed explanations that will answer many of your questions if you are considering doing this for your cat.
Are all thoroughbreds the same?
If someone says they want to sell you a purebred cat, ask to see the cat’s pedigree. A pedigree shows the names or titles of cats going back many generations. A careful breeder will ensure that the pedigree is accurate and will take pride in titles such as CH (for Champion) or DGCH (for Double Grand Champion). These titles show the dedication and hard work that produced the cat you see.
There is even a protocol for naming Thoroughbreds. A cattery is a name that a breeder uses, and it comes first. Next comes the name that the family or owner gives the cat. Then, if the owner is also a breeder, this name will come at the end. So Fuzzyslippers Fancy Felix Gumpha means that Fuzzyslippers is the cattery where the feline comes from, Fancy Felix is the surname and Gumpha is the name of the cattery that will use Fancy Felix to continue the lineage. At home, they probably call the cat Felix.
Not everyone who claims to breed Thoroughbreds is to be trusted. There are organizations that will grant purebred status to a beginning breeder. Unless the breeder is recognized by the Cat Fancier Association, stay away. Dishonest breeders are out to make money from gullible people. As you have learned, purebred cats tend to have genetic disorders. An honest breeder will perform these tests and not sell a cat whose DNA shows it has certain traits. A dishonest breeder will sell any litter cat regardless of its health.
People considering getting into cat breeding (starting their own cattery) should consider all of the steps involved.
- You may need to sign a contract stating whether you plan to breed the cat, show it, or have it neutered. Once you have signed, you must follow
- Find a stallion with a good pedigree
- Agree to terms of stud service – cost, choice of litter, etc.
- Order blood tests to rule out illnesses in both cats
- Traveling where Mr. Cat lives
- Visiting the vet several times to make sure mom’s pregnancy is progressing well
- Take time off to attend the birth of your kittens
- Visit the veterinarian again for check-ups
- Feeding and scooping up cat litter for the next 12 weeks
- Networking with others about kittens so that all is said and done
- Securing the deposits of everyone who wants to buy a kitty
- Facing the problem of not having enough pools for those who deposited money
Becoming a breeder takes money, time and patience. No wonder over 95% of cats in America are common cats.
So, can a tabby cat have a Siamese?
A tabby cat or a black cat can give birth to a kitten that looks like a Siamese cat. This can happen because regular cats have a large gene pool to draw from. Maybe somewhere in the family tree a Siamese mated with another cat, and now the characteristics of the Siamese cat have emerged. Most people would look at the cat and say it’s a Siamese.
However, there is no guarantee that the next cat will look like a Siamese. Maybe only one cat in the litter will look like a Siamese. Purebred cats will be high true, and each kitten will look like a Siamese. So, technically speaking, a tabby cat cannot have a Siamese cat. Only two Siamese cats can have another Siamese.
How important is that anyway? Unless you’re willing to pay the extra costs of a purebred cat, what really matters is how you feel about the cat. Shelters are full of cats that people have given away or abandoned. These cats need a good home, not a pedigree.