Tabby, Bi-Color, Calico, Solid, Pointed…What do these terms really mean when it comes to a cat’s fur colors and patterns?

This first section is part of a two-part article that explains, “What color is my cat?” Colors and patterns are seen in a cat’s fur.  It is also interesting as to why we may be more attractive to a particular color of cat over another.  As I mentioned, I own two black cats and two blue and white cats.  I have always had black cats in one form or another.   I really love the rich, black coats and also love my blue and white cats who have a delicate, refined look.

A cat’s color or pattern is based on genetic factors and can be used as identifying factors in a particular breed.

Colors and patterns are used in descriptions and are for identification purposes, but are not actual breeds of cats.

According to that article, What Color is Your Catin the May 2018 Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, “Several genes can affect fur pattern and shading.”

The next section will examine cat colors.

In the first part, we will examine cat fur patterns.  In the second part, we will examine color.

I have shown cats with the Cat Fanciers’ Association.  They have such great information about colors and patterns on their site.   Info from both the Tufts article and CFA is very helpful in defining cat patterns.  In sum, they said,

“The different pattern classifications are:

  1. The Agouti or A Class affects the solid or striping pattern within the hair shaft.
  2. The T or Tabby gene, is the most popular and is identified by striping and whirling hair color patterns. There are four variations: Striped or Mackerel; Blotched or marbledis the Classic tabby with a “bullseye” appearance on the cat’s body; Spotted; and Tickedwith individual hair colors on alternating light and dark bands.
  3. The C or Color point pattern, cause the “Siamese” look with light body and sections or ‘points on the cat’s legs, ears, and nose.
  4. The G class or Glove gene cause white paws as seen in the Birman breed.
  5. The S Class or Spotting gene causes different amounts and patterns of white color on the body.”