Cat Colors

When you think of cat colors, you probably think of a few basic coat colors and patterns that you most commonly see in cats, but many cat breeds are made up of totally rare colors.Did you know that there are red, white and blue cats? Or chocolate and cinnamon? 

There are two primary colors in cats - black and red. All other colors are variations of black and red with the exception of solid white. White is a masking gene. It hides - masks - all other color. So a solid white cat is either black or red but the color is hidden by the white.

The addition of different modifying genes changes the two basic colors. Red can change to cream. Black can change to blue, chocolate, cinnamon, lilac, or fawn. 

All colors are also seen with different markings - called patterns. The three most common patterns in cats are solid, tabby and pointed. All colors and patterns can have some white. Referred to as white spotting, this is also a masking gene. However, white spotting only hides some of a cat's color instead of all of it.

According to each breed standard, a breed may be accepted for registration in a variety of colors. Or some breeds are recognized in only one color. The same color and pattern can be seen in many different cat breeds.

We hope you enjoy the challenge of determining your cat's color and pattern.




Article Index:

10 identifiable grades of bicolor in cats

There are 10 identifiable grades of bicolor in cats, plus several patterns with their own names. The cat labeled “bicolor” is the preferred pattern in show-quality bicolor purebred cats.

Bicolor cats can be found across many breeds

A bicolor cat has white fur combined with fur of some other color, for example black or tabby. There are various patterns of bicolor cat. These range from Van pattern (color on the crown of the head and the tail only) through to solid color with a throat locket.

The genetics of coat colors in cats

The basic colors and patterns of cat fur are defined by fewer than ten genes. Cats with white color in their coat are thought to have a mutant white-spotting gene that prevents the formation of coat color in patches over the cat’s body.

Tuxedo Cats