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The Wonderful Secrets of Colorful Cats

Cats comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Whether you’re curious about cats or absolutely obsessed with them, it’s highly likely you’ve encountered several cats. Aside from stature, the cat world is full of different colors, patterns and markings, making cats the purrfect companion to marvel around. Genetic diversity is a wonderful thing and these give rise to beautiful coats through breeding. We enjoy admiring various kitties as they stroll by.  

If you’re curious about how cats get their color and markings, come with us and let’s explore the colorful world cat coats.

 

Colorful Cats

 

Cats have become the cute and cuddly friends we adore as pet lovers. If you own a cat or have an interest in them, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll start taking notice of the friendly street cats around the neighborhood. The many colors and patterns are a result of many years of genetic adaptation and gene pool mixing. Natural selection has had its processes in place and cats who have survived in their environments have contributed to generations of forthcoming cats, this is the element of survival. As the world began to discover itself and eventually cats, human domestication introduced its own form of selective breeding. The various breeding regimes introduced over the years have provided even greater variation in the genetic pool, producing the broad range of colors, patterns and markings that we know of today.    

 

 

Genetics and Color

Melanin is responsible for color in many parts of the body. It gives color to eyes, skin and of course fur coat too. Regardless of fur color, melanin is responsible for the pigmentation of a cat’s coat. Varying arrangement and size of melanin gives rise to the variety seen in patterning and colors seen in our feline friends. Pigmentation is a product of phaeomelanins, responsible for yellow/red hues and eumelanin, responsible for darker black/brown colors. Genetic combinations result in various dominant and recessive genes that will determine the overall color of a cat’s coat.

  

Deficiencies and Genetic Conditions

 

Did you know that some cats can lose their color? An interesting piece of research explores the dietary effects in cats that can influence the color of a cat’s coat. In this case, if a cat is observed to be losing their fur color a red/brown tinge may appear, an indication of Tyrosine deficiency. To supplement, research suggests feeding prescribed amounts of amino acids during growth.

White cats have melanin present and their eye color can be many different wonderful colors. In some cases however, the presence of the albino gene is linked to a mutation of Tyrosinase, an enzyme that is partially responsible for the production of melanin as a catalyst (meow). The lack of melanin production means there is no pigment to produce color around the body, this isn’t restricted to just the coat either. It influences the color of eyes and skin too. Not all white cats possess this genetic condition and it’s important to make a clear distinction that white cats and those with albino gene are not the same. Partial albinism can also be observed in cats of different colored coats too. A distinct trait of albinism is the pink appearance of the skin.       

 

 

Love All Cats

 

Genetic mixing comes from the available gene pool of the parent sire and queen. In some instances, a new litter may yield kittens that are different from their parents. This is due to the combination of genes that have been present in their lineage, passed down over time. If you’re a CryptoKitties enthusiast, it’s a similar concept of pairing and waiting to see which genes dominate their overall genetic makeup. Selective breeding and regulation has created segregated genetic pools that guarantee certain traits in pure breeds. While this limits the color variation in cats, it does ensure that chance genetic defects are kept out of the pool, avoiding known health concerns.  

Cats come in all varieties of shape, size and color. We adore them all the same and beyond these visual appearances, pet owners should get to know the personality of their cats too. As intelligent animals, forming a special bond with your kitty is a magical relationship that should be cherished. Meow! 

 

Sources

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11277764_Cats_Require_More_Dietary_Phenylalanine_or_Tyrosine_for_Melanin_Deposition_in_Hair_than_for_Maximal_Growth

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1464423/

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