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Old 05-17-2010, 03:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What is this chocolate brown cat?

I just acquired this young female from a local rescue organization. She is about a year old. She was turned into the local Humane Society nursing 4 kittens, various colors and patterns. She was described as a Havana Brown, and she meets the description more or less - brown nose, rose pads, ears forward, 6.5 lbs., break at the eyes... except her eyes are only barely greenish yellow. Sort of like Black Hills green gold if you've ever seen that. She has a very faint tabby shadow, very very faint, but she is still only about 12 months old. I'm in Minneapolis, and as far as I know there are not any Havana Brown breeders anywhere near here, and this is supposed to be a pretty "rare" (read expensive) breed.

I'm having a hard time believing that I happen to have acquired a Havana Brown from a rescue organization, but I do not find any information anywhere about the existence of any other totally chocolate brown cats, other than Burmese, and I don't think she looks much like one of those. She is pure chocolate brown, (the belly is shaved), and there is not a spot of any other color anywhere. My understanding is that this color should not appear spontaneously, but I guess that is part of my question. Any ideas how my kitty came to be solid chocolate brown?

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Old 05-17-2010, 03:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this pure chocolate brown cat?

Wow, she's stunning.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this pure chocolate brown cat?

Many years ago, in a place far away (from me now) I remember seeing a chocolate brown cat running free. It looked healthy, so I expect it had a home, but I have no idea if it was male or female.

The remark that she's stunning can only be repeated. Plus, don't fret the breed, just count your good luck. Have her cloned. We'd all like one. What's her name, Hershey?
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this pure chocolate brown cat?

Is she *really* brown or is it just shading on her fur?

All cats are tabby cats, carrying at least one or two forms of the
patterns; mackerel, classic and abyssinian. They require the
agouti gene (Aa or AA) to show their tabby markings. Anyhow,
pure-bred cats can find themselves falling on hard times and wind
up in shelter/rescue situations.

My only other thought, is if her fur is 'burnished' or 'sun bleached'.
Sometimes, black cats' fur will fade to a red, orange or a burnished
brown. Can you post more pictures?

Here is my "black" cat, Blaze: ...and a few months later:

Finally, I also want to comment about the many genetics that affect
cat coat-color. I am fascinated with these myriad pairings and how
they affect each cat. You could simply have an unusual cat, one
whose coat genetics are similar or the same as what developed the
Havana Brown cats. I had a brown/brown tabby. I thought he was
*very* unusual in that he truly was brown/brown and not the common
brown/black tabby. So, it happens...
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this pure chocolate brown cat?

There was an episode of Cata 101 where a cat like that wandered up to a home and was adopted.

They talked about how rare Havanas are and one couldn't possibly just wander by becasue there are only a few in the US. They ultimately determined that it was a Havana. I don't rerember how but they did.

They must have brown wiskers and the face looks wrong.

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Old 05-17-2010, 05:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this pure chocolate brown cat?

From what I've been able to determine, Havana Browns in Great Britain are much more oriental looking than Havana Browns breed in the US. Her head is a little longer than it is wide. Her face breaks into a snout, like a blunt strawberry, her ears are definitely forward leaning and her nose is brown. Her whiskers are brown too, but they are lighter brown than her coat, and they reflect well, so in the picture they look white, but they are not, nor are they black or gray or banded. She is only about 12 months old and has been an indoor cat the whole time. I have seen sun-bleached black cats. She is not that red, but is much browner and lighter than that. The tabby pattern is not very easy to see. It is in the picture, if you look. That's as much as you can see up close. She won't sit still for a good picture right now, she'd rather nap.


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Old 05-17-2010, 07:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this chocolate brown cat?

She is a lovely girl. It is a rare breed...most have never heard of it so it doesn't sound very likely that the people who surrendered her would have come up with the name on their own.

Generally I don't give much credence to "breed" info on a cat (unless it comes from a breeder) but as solid brown is exceedingly rare in the general cat population, I would suspect this girl had a kitten mill or backyard breeder in her background somewhere (a reputable breeder would never let a kitten out of their house without spaying unless it was going to another reputable breeding/show home). Those types of breeders generally breed more for color than body conformation, so her "faults" (eye color and the other things you describe) -ie the things that are not up to breed standard - could be explained by that.

The only other thing I can think of is that she might be a DSH whose parents both carry the pointed gene (Siamese-type coloring) and as a fluke she just turned up all brown. If I recall correctly (I never was a breeder) all cats are tabby, but in "solid" color cats the stripes and the background color are the same (or very close to the same) color so it doesn't 'show'. Faint tabby markings are very common even in cats that aren't 'supposed' to have them and this is more or less penalized (depending on how faint, and what other good qualities the cats have) in the show ring.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this chocolate brown cat?

The person calling Marley a Havana Brown was from the Humane Society, a cat person who also works for a vet, and is supposed to know what they are talking about. That doesn't mean I believe it, but I do not find any information that would indicate that a solid brown cat is otherwise easily explainable, hence my post. She was surrendered to the Humane Society with her 4, one week-old kittens, including one little girl that was also solid brown, but a darker brown than her mother. She herself would have been only about 9 months-old at the time. She was vicious towards other cats when she had her kittens; they called her a slasher. I guess that's why she was given up with her litter. She talks a lot, but very quietly, and she follows me everywhere. She uses her foot to touch everything too. She'll poke a newly opened can of cat food before she smells it. Very comical.

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Old 05-17-2010, 08:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this chocolate brown cat?

She's beautiful!

Even vets don't know breeds sometimes. One of Cinderella's vet visits before she adopted me lists her as Burmese. Beautiful cat, but not one I'd think you'd confuse with a Birman.

Speaking of Burmese, though, they can look a little like your kitty.

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Old 05-17-2010, 08:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is this chocolate brown cat?

in the picture of her with her litter, especially, she looks more like a "rusted" black than a truly brown cat. and that kitten certainly looks black.

rusting can be cause by lots of things, other than just sun bleaching (which is normally more orange-y or reddish). diet (too much iron, i think?), stress (too young a mama, being abandoned, new home, ect, yea, i'd say she's stressed), hormone changes (again, being pregnant too young, nursing, weaning, spay) are all the sort of things that can cause rusting. also, dead fur, right before they go through a big shed, is often brown. i once fostered a black great dane who, every year when she shed her winter coat, turned a lovely chocolate brown.

how long have you had her? how long ago were her kittens weaned? how long ago was she spayed? you said you just got her.... while she may look brown now, she may turn black after she's settled in, been on a better diet, and her hormones return to normal.

if her nose truly is brown, then maybe she is a misplaced havana brown. no matter what, though, she is beautiful, and i am so glad she now has a loving home.
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