All cat lovers know there are countless reasons to fall in love with a cat. This species has an adorable look and a distinct character. They can twist their bodies, sprint, and jump in a manner that puts the best human athletes to shame. Their little eyes and sounds are just irresistible. But the first thing most people notice about a cat is its diverse coat colors and patterns.
Many of us are attracted to cats because they own the most stunning coats. Cat lovers simply go crazy for those coats. So, in honor of these beautiful companions to men, we dedicate a whole article to show you various coat colors and patterns of cats.
Cat Coat Patterns
The term “solid coat” refers to cats that have only one color. In fact, many kittens are born with some hair of different colors. During the maturing process, they shed those hairs and retain only one color. A cat is not regarded as a solid anymore if it has some spots of a different color on its coat.
Calico cats are very unique in their look, and it is said that you can hardly see 2 calicos having the same appearance. They are also referred to as tri-color cats because their coats usually have 3 colors. What’s interesting about these felines is that they are mostly females. Very rarely can you find a male calico, and if you do, the male is always infertile.
Felines in this category have 3 separate color patches on their coats, which can be red, orange, reddish-brown, black, white or yellow. These colors do not mix with each other like other patterns of cat we will discuss later.
Calico cats are widely accepted candidates for breeding with a purebred cat. A purebred Scottish Fold, Persian, Maine Coon, etc. can have the calico pattern. However, calico cats are not accepted for breeding with pointed breeds or breeds that allow solid colors only. The pointed breeds are Siamese or Himalayan. British Shorthair, Bombay and Russian Blue are those only accepting solid patterns. Thanks to such a wide acceptance in breeding, the calico pattern is among the most popular around the world.
This is considered the most ubiquitous cat coat pattern in the world. Tabby cats come in 4 varieties, which we will discuss in detail after some basic knowledge of the making of the tabby coat.
There are two layers of colors which contribute to creating a stunning tabby coat:
- The first layer is the background. The color of this layer is usually light. The term “agouti” is applied to this layer. The background agouti hairs are themselves very diverse because each one of them contains little bands of various colors.
- The second layer is the main factor that gives a cat a tabby pattern. This layer often comes in dark shades, making a beautiful contrast with the light background. It can be in stripe form or spot form.
Nearly all of the tabby felines have dark lines extending from around the eyes to the back of their heads as well as an “M” mark on the forehead. These special features are referred to as “tabby mask”.
Let’s find out 4 varieties of a tabby pattern:
- Striped: Striped tabby cats have stripes in the vertical position distributed all over their coat. Another term “Mackerel” is also used to indicate this stripe pattern.
- Blotched: Blotched tabby cats have blotched round stripes as well as circles. To understand this kind of pattern better, people call it marble pattern.
- Spotted: Spotted tabby cats usually have dark-colored spots all over their coats. Not all spots are evenly distributed and in a perfect circular shape. Cats competing in a show must have beautiful spots equally spreading on their coats in order to win.
- Ticked: Ticked tabby felines do not have any distinct marks on their coats except for the tabby mask and the agouti hair.
The tortoiseshell pattern is all about a wonderful harmonious mix of orange and black. Sometimes you can see another version of diluted cream and blue. The tortoiseshell pattern differs from the calico pattern in that it shows a blend of colors, whereas the calico has separate color patches.
Bicolor cats have a white color on their coats plus another color which takes either the solid form or the tabby form. This is one of the easiest patterns to recognize. Bicolor cats are mostly mixed breed. One outstanding example of bicolor is the tuxedo cats.
Tuxedo cats are probably no strangers to you. They make a pretty strong impression on people at first glance. Their unique look is a black and white coat that resembles a formal suit of a businessman. No wonder they are called “Tuxedo”!
Some tuxedoes have a beautiful white stripe on their noses. The white stripe may also extend to their chins. Sometimes you can even see a white moustache shape around their pretty little mouths.
This pattern is also very easy to tell. It is basically just some dark colors covering the face, tail and paws of a cat while the rest is in a lighter color. The darker points can be in different shades such as lilac, dark brown, blue.
Cat Coat Colors
You may hear cat experts describe cats using “red”, but in reality, the color is more orange or ginger. Most red cats are males. There is no such thing as a wholly red cat because this color often comes with other shades to make a tabby coat.
You may have seen some very black cats and thought that they are completely black but the case is rarely so. Black cats often have tabby marks under their coats.
This is the only pure color without any tabby markings. The pure white is very elegant, but it can get dirty. The bonus point is that you can easily see fleas or any bugs that stick to your cat’s fur. Other popular colors include blue, brown, cream and cinnamon which add to the great diversity of cat coats.
Now you can inspect your own feline friend to see how many coat layers it has and how colorful they are. For extra handy information to help you understand your cat even better, we have a post about classifyingdifferent cat breeds for you.
We hope this post provides you with useful insights into a cat’s complex coat. We want you to have no difficulty whatsoever in identifying cat coat colors and patterns. Feel free to send us any questions and thank you for reading!