"The hundreds of colors and patterns displayed in domestic cat coats are caused by modifying factors that include both genes and polygenes, which change these basic two colors," she says, citing the dilute gene, which changes cat colors from black to blue (commonly referred to as gray) and red to cream. Also responsible for coloration are mutations caused by polygenes, which are multiple genetic markers located on the same chromosome that affect a single trait; for example, albino mice are missing one allele of their pigmentation gene. Finally, environmental factors can play a role in determining coat color; for example, an underfed kitten may appear pale because it is lacking essential nutrients that would otherwise give it pigment.
Cats have more than 250 variations of coat color alone. This variety is due to several modifier genes at work. For example, individuals with only one copy of the dilute gene appear white or very light blue, while those who also have one copy of the deafness gene appear completely white. The dilute/deaf mutation combines when two such cats mate; therefore, all descendants will be some form of white or light blue regardless of which parent carried which mutation. There are three types of color blindness found in cats: blue, green, and amber. These are all due to defective photoreceptor cells in the eye that result in visible color distortions when illuminated by certain wavelengths of light.
The more white a cat has, the more solid the color patches are. Dilution genes can soften the fur to a combination of cream and blue, lilac, or fawn, and tortoiseshell cats' patterns are frequently asymmetrical.
They have fascinating genetics. Tuxedo cats are born with a gene known as the "white spotting gene," which prevents black fur from growing in areas throughout the cat's body. The coloring of a black and white cat exists on a scale, which helps to convey how much of his hair is black and how much is white. For example, there are solid black cats like Oliver Tate and Creamy Leeky who have very little white hair at all, while others like Smoky Mike and Sam White include many white hairs in their coat.
Black and white cats have been popular companions for centuries because of their striking appearance. They also tend to get along well with other animals and people. However, because of the nature of their colorings, these cats should not be allowed to be alone for long periods of time or they may become anxious or angry.
In conclusion, black and white cats are interesting because of the differences in their genotypes. Their phenotypes (their appearance) help them to communicate what part of their genome is responsible for each trait. This has implications for breeders as they try to develop purebred cats that contain only the most desirable traits.
If your cat's coat changes color, don't be worried. It might be a normal development in many circumstances. Some cats' hair, particularly those with black coats, grays with age. This is not abnormal. Others develop white patches on their paws or tails due to age or illness. These are also not abnormalities.
Cats' hair grows continuously throughout their lives. The hair on their bodies will grow longer as they get older, so that their skin can cover more area. This is why older cats generally have shorter hair than younger ones. Younger cats may have long hair initially but they will cut it off after about six months because their mother won't let them go naked all the time. However, some young cats keep their mother-knows-best and don't cut their hair at all!
On top of this, certain genes may cause hair to fall out, or be lost due to illness or trauma. This is why babies' hairs are usually black while adults' hairs are gray or white. Sometimes these lost hairs are replaced by new ones but sometimes they're not. That's why some cats have white spots or bald areas while others don't.
Color variations in cats are very common. They often attract attention even when they aren't sick or injured because they stand out like a mark of pride or defiance.
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In cats, the X chromosome has a gene that regulates fur color, and calico cats have two distinct forms (or alleles) of this gene. One allele results in orange fur, whereas the other results in black fur. Females can be any one of these three colors, but males can only be white or black. Because they have two copies of the X chromosome, calico boys are rare: about 1 in 200,000 births. Calico girls are more common -- about 1 in 500 births.
Calico coloration in cats is due to an abnormal number of melanocytes, which are cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color. These cells develop normally but often contain an additional set of chromosomes called trisomies. A trisomy of chromosome 11 is most likely responsible for calico coloring in these cats; others have included chromosomes 2, 9, 10, 13, 17, and Y. The presence of extra genetic material can cause problems with cell division and lead to premature aging and death. However, not all calicos will show signs of aging before they are 12 weeks old, so this trait is likely inherited rather than caused by environmental factors.
Calico coloring in cats is not harmful but does make them highly visible in certain light colors.