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Old 02-03-2012, 01:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do cats get their coloring?

I feel like I post such random threads on this forum...
Maybe this belongs on the breeding board, but I feel like that board is more specific to breeding, but I'm just curious.
I know cats' coloring has something to do with genetics because most Calicos are female because of something to do with the chromosomes.
But it makes me curious because I've seen whole litters of black and black and white kittens from a black mommy cat (and I'm assuming black daddy cat), like my first cat, Sylvester. all his siblings were black, and he was the only one with white on him (that's why I picked him- because he was different... not only in color but also personality ).
But other cats seem to give birth to wide range of colorings in one litter. Like my Callie and Puffy. From what I remember, their mom was a brown tabby. No one knew who the dad was because she was a stray cat from the neighborhood that someone took in because she was pregnant. But she had 4 kittens- two were calico, one was tabby/torbie, and one was solid gray. So how did this cat give birth to kittens of such a wide array of colors?
Callie is one of the calicos we took home, and Puffy was the torbie/tabby. I'm still not sure whether Puffy was tabby or a torbie... there's a picture of her in the "meet my kitty" board. But she had a white stomach, chest, and chin, white paws, but the rest of her was brownish gray with dark black tabby stripes on her body and legs, and black rings on her tail. She had small splotches of orange with darker orange stripes (small splotches on her face, on her legs, and the border of her white fur on her stomach). So I guess that sort of makes sense because her mom was a tabby and her sisters were calicos. But where did the random solid gray kitten come from? lol.

Last edited by Krista2882; 02-03-2012 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Here is a article that I found very informative on cat genetics. If you are only interested in colors, you can jump to section "Color Conformation Genes".
Bengal Cats: Genetics of Cats, Domestic Cat Genetics & Wild Cat Genetics, Chromosomes, Mutations, Alleles, Color, and MORE!

In color genes, there are dominate and recessive. Black is dominate so cats that get one copy of black gene will be black (solid or tabby, tabby is a pattern not color, which is controled by different set of gene). However, if both parents carry recessive gene (like diluted which generates blue, i.e., gray cats), and a kitty gets recessive genes from both parents, then (s)he will be a different color.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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PS: Puffy looks like a black (or "brown" in US term) patched tabby with white to me
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krista2882 View Post
But other cats seem to give birth to wide range of colorings in one litter. Like my Callie and Puffy. From what I remember, their mom was a brown tabby. No one knew who the dad was because she was a stray cat from the neighborhood that someone took in because she was pregnant. But she had 4 kittens- two were calico, one was tabby/torbie, and one was solid gray. So how did this cat give birth to kittens of such a wide array of colors?
It's quite possible that Callie and Puffy's mom mated with more than one tom. Sometimes, in larger litters (and even small litters), the mom cat will have mated more than once. I'm not quite sure on this, but a female cat only releases an egg after she's mated. If the toms were different colors, then it would show up in the litter...hence the gray kitten.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by my4kitties View Post
It's quite possible that Callie and Puffy's mom mated with more than one tom. Sometimes, in larger litters (and even small litters), the mom cat will have mated more than once. I'm not quite sure on this, but a female cat only releases an egg after she's mated. If the toms were different colors, then it would show up in the litter...hence the gray kitten.
Oh, that's interesting! I had heard that from someone before, but I didn't think it was true. lol
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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PS: Puffy looks like a black (or "brown" in US term) patched tabby with white to me
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A black (brown) parent and a red parent will give calico kittens. Blue is a dilute, both parents have to carry dilute to produce kittens in those colours.

Last edited by spotty cats; 02-05-2012 at 03:44 AM.
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