Guide to Cat Coat Colors and Patterns

Some breeds are based on their colors or patterns e.g. Siamese while others exclude certain colors. Some colors occur through careful selection, others appear out of the blue e.g. Lilac (Lavender) appeared in normally blue (gray) Korats due to mutation or recessive (hidden) genes. There are hundreds of possible color permutations; some are not allowed in pedigree cats but you may well see them in random-bred (moggy) cats. Some colors are rarely found in the moggy population as they only show up in selectively bred cats.

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White Cats and Deafness

There is an established link between the white coat color, blue eyes and deafness. The deafness is linked to the gene for blue-eye(s) and not to odd-eyed cats. Not all blue-eyed whites will be deaf since there are several different genes causing the same physical attributes (whiteness, blue-eyedness) so it all depends on the cat’s genotype (its genetic make-up) not its phenotype (its physical appearance).

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Is Cat Coat Color Linked to Temperament?

At the cat shelter where I work we refer to "naughty torties" and "laid back blacks". One of our vets also used the "naughty tortie" epithet and told us it is "well known that tortie cats are temperamental". However, the addition of white has a "calming effect" and tortie-and-whites are "not quite as temperamental as brindled torties. The naughty tortie tag is not applied to dilute torties (blue-creams), possibly because they are less common in the moggy population. Ginger cats are said to be spirited and fiery (and sometimes mean-spirited or sly) – very apt considering their fiery color and there is the epithet "ginger tom" to describe the supposedly typical alley cat. Blotched tabbies are "real homebodies" while their striped cousins are "more independent".

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