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How to Identify A Cat Breed Through Its Colors and Patterns

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Identifying Cat Patterns and Color Markings

Cat Patterns, Patches, and Polydactyls

bicolor cat

When your cat has two different colors evenly divided, he is a bicolor. Black and white tricolors are known as Magpies. Bicolored cats also come in orange and white, blue and white, and cream and white. Ideally your bicolor cat won't be striped or spotted but will be a 50-50 density of two clear-cut colors without brindling or overlap. Show standards demand that a bicolor have white feet, neck, forelegs, chin, and lips with a white blaze on his face, over the top of his head, and running into and merging with the white at the back of his skull.

Tabby cat markings come in two different patterns, blotched and striped. Tabby hails from the word attabi which was used to identify watermarked silks from Bagdad; this is the sort of pattern the tabby has. The base color would be overlayed with darker-color lines forging a distinct pattern.

striped tabby

The striped tabby is tiger striped with the stripes going vertically from the spine to the stomach. The striped tabby is dominant over the blotched tabby, so the common household cats will carry some sign of these stripes in the patches of color on their bodies. Show standards prescribe that the dominant white cat be bred out of the pedigree tabby, but your precious pets, being incognizant of this assessment, carry it with pride.

blotched tabby

The blotched tabby cat will be clothed in a swirling pattern that bears a Rorschach quality. The pattern is separated down the middle of the cat and will be the same on either side. Tabby will have butterfly markings on his back, two bands over his chest like a necklace (these are known as Lord Mayor's Chains in England), two long ovals with a patch in the center on each flank, a ringed tail having a solid tip, and bracelets round his legs.  Remember that these are show standards, so if your pet has one out of six he's doing okay. The perfect tabby also has the letter M emblazoned on his forehead. Tabbies come out in a wide variety of colors (as the tabby patches on your cat will certify) like brown, red, silver, and blue.

Spotted cats are close to the tabby. The base color would be spotted having a darker shade most easily detected when the cat is in motion. In a reclining posture, the spotted cat might appear like a striped tabby.

When your cat is striped, he is a tabby striped; if he bears striped patches, he is a tabby patch. If he has orange, black, and cream patches on his white fur, your cat is most likely a female and a calico. Tortoiseshell and calico denote both color and pattern. When your long-haired cat has two colors, one of which is white, he is a bicolor. If he bears points, he is perhaps a Siamese or a Himalayan, based on the length of his hair. If his hair is curly, which is most improbable, he's a Rex. Your cat could also be spotted or ticked, and he may include a blaze going up from his nose.

polydactyl cat

Additionally, when your cat has six toes he is a polydactyl. This is a genetic mutation, and once it goes into a blood line, it stays. When polydactyls start to appear in any geographic area of the country, they'll proliferate and turn ordinary. In the part of Connecticut, they are quite popular. These big-footed felines appear like they are donning galoshes. If, when your cat extends his claws, his feet are the size of tennis rackets, you may count his toes. He probably has six, and this exceedingly sophisticated description would suit his unusual condition.

As you can see, your cat does not require a pedigree to be worthy of a courtly description or to have a little class.


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