White, Tortoiseshell, Color-point, Chimera, Merle (what we know) Explained
- Depigmentation gives the red-eye with camera's flash.
- There is also a gene(s) for blue eyes which is inherited separately from coat color.
- Sometimes bi-color cats with white faces have blue eyes.
- Not all blue-eyed cats are white, nor are all blue-eyed non-white cats "Ojos Azules". The blue-eyed trait turns up surprisingly often in random-breeding cats.
- There are various known & unknown genes involved in white spotting & in blue-eyes
- There is an established link between the white coat color, blue eyes & deafness, HOWEVER, this only pertains to specific genes.
- There are five "known" alleles for albinism: blue-eyed albino ("ca"), pink-eyed albino ("c"), Burmese pattern ("cb"), Siamese pattern ("cs")and full color (non-albino, "C").
Male tortoiseshells are rare!
A tortoiseshell, or torties for short, are a combination of two colors other than white, either closely mixed or in larger patches.
The primary gene (B) for the colors brown, chocolate, cinnamon, etc., can be masked by the co-dominant gene for the orange color (O) which is on the X Chromosome.
It has two alleles, the orange (XO) and not-orange (Xo), that produce orange phaeomelanin and black eumelanin pigments. The tortoiseshell and calico cats are indicated: Oo to indicate they are heterozygous on the O gene. The (B) and (O) genes can be further modified by a recessive dilute gene (dd) which softens the colors. Orange becomes cream, black becomes gray, etc. Various terms are used for specific colors.
"Normal" tortoiseshells have patches of black and red. The nose and paw-pads may be mottled between black and pink.
"Chocolate torties are patched with chocolate and red. The nose and paw-pads may be mottled between chocolate and pink."
"Cinnamon torties are patched cinnamon and red. The nose and paw-pads may be mottled between cinnamon and pink."
"Dilute tortiess are blue and cream. The nose and paw-pads may be mottled blue and pink."
"Lilac torties are lilac and cream. The nose and paw-pads may be mottled lilac and pink."
"Fawn tortoiseshells are fawn and cream. The nose and paw-pads may be mottled brownish-pink and pink."
"Caramel torties are caramel and apricot. The nose and paw-pads may be mottled caramel and pink."
This gene has not yet been identified in felines, but is found in dogs. We're currently still searching for the gene to better understand the communication between genes. Broadly speaking it manifests as patches of dense color on the equivalent dilute e.g. black patches on a blue background, black patches on caramel, red patches on cream. This is different from tortie where the patches are a mix of a black-based color with a red-based color. The only instances of this phenotype in cats have been chimeras where one cell line has the dense color (e.g. black) and the other has the corresponding dilute color (e.g. blue). Theoretically it could combine with existing colors and patterns, but would only show to good effect on dilute-coated cats e.g. a blue/cream tortie with black patches, or a lavender (lilac) tabby with chocolate patches. Theoretically these could also be combined white spotting, colourpointing and silver/golden series. The chart shows how merle might manifest in cats should the mutation occur.
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