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Hello!

I'm new to the board. I have been an avid cat lover my whole life (I have literally never gone a day in my life without owning a cat). I currently have a 6 month old tabby and white male (George Michael), and a 9 week old male kitten (Hermy). The kitten's colour is what I'm posting about, because I'm just really not sure what it would be called. I agreed to adopt him sight unseen, and was told he was solid black (except a tiny white tip on his tail). Upon picking him up I've realized he is not black at all. He is a very dark brown, with faint tabby stripes and a white undercoat. He also has white hairs whisping out of his ears, which I would "blame" on his smokey undercoat.

Here are some pictures of him. Unfortunately his strange colour is hard to capture in photos (even to an animal photographer) but I'll try my best:


You can see in this photo that he is definitely brown, not black at all.


Here is another that you can see he's brown in, as well as at the top of his head you can see his (very, very faint) tabby stripes.


Here is another where I really upped the contrast to show his stripes a little more (over his eyes).


And a last one, fresh from the bath, white undercoat showing.


And this is my lovely George, the sweetest cat I've ever met...although he only purrs if he's out of food!!

It's really of no importance what Hermy's colour really is, but I just wanted to know out of my own personal curiosity! Any help would be great!
 

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Well, I can't be of any use to you since the pictures are blocked here at work. But I just wanted to say welcome to the forum! :blackcat
 

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Welcome!
I am avidly interested in cat coat colors and agouti markings. I have a thread that discusses it in Cat Chat, I'll try to bump it up for you.
Melanistically speaking, your kitten most likely is black, with sun fading. That is what usually causes black cats to have a reddish tint to their coats. Your black kitten doesn't have *agouti*, which is the gene that gives tabby cats their distinctive visual pattern, but since you have already observed the stripes on his head/body...all cats carry one of the forms of the tabby gene: T=mackerel and spotted mackerel, Ta-abyssinian and tb=blotched or classic (target). When a cat does not have agouti working on their coat, they look like a solid color (black, gray) and when agouti is working on their coat, they have the distinctive tabby markings easily visible and bands of ticking on their hairshafts.

Now, there are color modifiers that will cause the brown/reddish-brown color, though this is usually found in Burmese cats. However a cat having a double recessive black (B=black) would have bb (b=recessive black, brown) and their coat color would be brown, possibly with reddish undertones.

Anyhow, great pic of his undercoat showing his 'smoke' coloring!
George looks adorable, like a cat I had named Webster when I was a child.
Heidi
 

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Heidi:

Thanks so much! Thats exactly the info I was looking for! I'm pretty sure it's not sun fading as he was born in Canada in November, lived in a tack room without windows in a barn until Christmas, then came home here where he's an inside kitten and we don't get much sun now anyway! Coat colours are so interesting!

Anita
 

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I think the coloring you're seeing is very typical in black cats. I've had 3 and only one was truly black (Kobi). When Maggie lies in the sun she's a mahogany color, very reddish brown. Onyx (Bridge kitty) also looked reddish brown in the sun and had very visible mackerel tabby markings. Both Maggie and Onyx have the stray white hairs here and there, with a tiny little patch on their chest (like 8-10 clustered together).
 
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