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Cat Coat Color Possibilities and Common Markings
The Domestic Cat is found with a wide variety of colors and
markings. It isn't unusual to see varied colors and patterns
within the same litter of kittens, especially, of course, in
the Domestic Shorthair.
The two primary colors that are present in cats are black
and red. Every other color is a variation of black or red,
except for white. The white coloring in cats is caused by a
masking gene, meaning that the gene masks or hides the black
or red coloring of the cat.
Every color of cat can have a variety of markings or
patterns. The most common patterns or markings in cats are solid,
tabby, tortoiseshell and pointed. Some color patterns have
some white mixed in. This is called white spotting and is
still caused by a masking gene, but this gene only hides
some of the coloring, not all.
Patterns in a cat are determined by genes and can show up as
any number of differing patterns even within the common
Here is a list of common patterns seen in cats:
Solid - They coat has one solid color with no markings,
stripes or splotches. The most common solid coat colors in
cats are black or white.
Tabby - Tabbies have unique and distinctive striping
patterns and can also have splotches mixed in with the
Tortoise Shell - The coat of these cats is a mixture of
black, and red markings, sometimes with gold and brown
added. This pattern is very distinctive, usually with the
colors all swirled together, but sometimes there are
distinct patches of color. This is a dna-linked pattern and
cats that have this type of pattern are usually female.
Pointed - Color is only seen on the feet, face and tail and
the colored areas may be tabby-striped or solid. Point
colors can range from light seal brown to a pale grey-blue.
The primary body color of cats with this coat pattern is
usually beige to light brown.
With Whites or Particolor - These are cats with any of the
markings above but with white splotches added into the
The mark of a specific breed of cat is defined by its
physical characteristics not by it's coloring, even though
there are some common colors and patterns associated with
particular breeds. For instance, the Siamese cats usually
have a cream to white body with deep brown points and feet.
Domestic Shorthair cats can come in any variety and range of
colors and patterns.
There are official names for the different colors and
patterns used by TICA or The International Cat Association.
Here is a list of the common colors:
Red (AKA: Orange, Rust, Marmalade, Yellow and Ginger)
Blue (AKA: Gray, Grey)
Chocolate (AKA: Brown)
Seal (AKA: Brown)
Silver (AKA: Grey, Gray)
Black Tortie and White (AKA: Calico)
Cream (AKA: Buff)
With the addition of different genes the two basic colors
can be modified. Red can be cream. Black can change to
chocolate, cinnamon, fawn, lilac or even blue. Lilac, fawn,
cinnamon and chocolate are not color commonly seen in the
cat population but are found in certain carefully bred
breeds such as the Siamese.
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