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Can you tell a strays parents by their coat color?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I always wondered if you could tell a strays parents by the color of the offspring?

I know the mother to my cats, but I would like to know who the Fathers are if possible? Each new generation of siblings had similar coat colors, gray or black with white, white with black, and a calico.

Mom is white with black. Potential dads are solid black, light orange with white, or mackeral tabby.
post #2 of 12
That's a really good question, and I'm sorry I don't know the answer to the question!

We're almost positive the first litter we got involved with there were three dads. The cats were just SO different - and as adults are SUCH different shapes and sizes. The kittens were a HUGE long-haired orange tabby with white, two black & white kitties, a male gray tabby that grew into a gigantic frame, and a small brown/orange female tabby. We'd never seen a male orange cat around - and the mom was a soft gray. In two years of TNRing, never saw another orange cat. But one we adopted, Shelly, a tuxedo kitty - we totally knew who his dad was once the kitty grew up. He was one of the really wiley ones we had trouble trapping. Shelly now looks EXACTLY like him - very tall, very thin and wirey - and if Shel were still living outside, he'd be creeping and slinking around just like his dad was.

Laurie
post #3 of 12
The orange and white must be dad to the calico, if mum doesn't have any red herself then the red must have come from dad.

If the tabby was dad to the other litters, you'd expect a black & white x tabby mating to produce at least some tabbies or tabby & whites, but because genetics is mostly about probabilities, it is possible, if a tabby dad is carrying the non-agouti (ie solid rather than tabby) gene, for that mating to have all solid or non tabby bicolour kittens... BUT statistically speaking it is far more likely if there were no tabby kittens that the solid black is dad. If it was the red and white, all girls in the litter would be calico or tortie & white - so that is a possibility if the only girl in the litter was the calico and all the boys were black/grey with white.

The fact that some of the kittens were grey shows that mum is carrying the dilute gene, and that one of the males is also carrying that gene. A cat needs to have 1 copy of the dilute gene from each parent to have a blue/grey coat.

It is also possible for a litter to have more than one dad if the mum mates several times within a few days - just to complicate matters further - hence my several answers! But orange & white is definitely calico's dad, if all the girls in the litter had red on them then he could have been the dad of all of them, if you had any black/grey girls without red then solid black male is the most likely culprit for those, and mum must have mated twice so it's a 2 dad litter.

I think I've got that right, I am feeling extremely tired today so if I come back and edit it's because I realise I've made a 'schoolboy error' in my thinking
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow cool! Mabye if I post each litter/gender that could help more.

MOM: white and black

1st litter
gray and white (male) black and white (male)

2nd litter (COULD be possible males from 1st litter mated with their mom for 2nd litter)
white and black (female, almost identical to mom) black and white (female) black and white (male)

final litter
gray and white (male) black and white (female) calico (female)
post #5 of 12
I was wondering the same thing.

Our kitten was a stray and the couple that found him feed about 8-10 strays/ferals. They found no other kittens just Jack (a medium to long hair red tabby) he was about 10-12 weeks old.

Not to ambush your post but what are the odds of a short hair having a long hair kitten?

Leslie
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack31 View Post
I was wondering the same thing.

Our kitten was a stray and the couple that found him feed about 8-10 strays/ferals. They found no other kittens just Jack (a medium to long hair red tabby) he was about 10-12 weeks old.

Not to ambush your post but what are the odds of a short hair having a long hair kitten?

Leslie
If it mates with another shorthair either 25% or 0%; if mated with a longhair, 50% or 0%, depending on heterozygous or homozygous. (hope that's right, I did it without a pencil)
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Not to ambush your post but what are the odds of a short hair having a long hair kitten?

Dont worry thats a really good question i've wondered that too.
post #8 of 12
Basically speaking - ie. there are a few exceptions and oddities but to go into them here would be irrelevant in answering the question - the longhair gene is recessive and the shorthair gene is dominant - meaning that if a cat has a shorthair gene from one parent and a longhair gene from the other, the cat will have short hair. BUT it can pass on that longhair gene to its offspring.

Here are a few possibilities - each cat has 2 genes which help determine the hair length, one from each parent - a shorthair cat can either have 2 shorthair genes, or 1 shorthair and 1 longhair gene. A longhair cat must have 2 copies of the longhair gene.

1 parent shorthair with 2 copies of the shorthair gene
1 parent longhair with 2 copies of the longhair gene
= all kittens will be shorthair, but all will carry 1 longhair gene

1 parent shorthair but carrying the longhair gene
1 parent longhair with 2 copies of the longhair gene
= 50% shorthair kittens carrying the longhair gene
= 50% longhair kittens with 2 copies of the longhair gene

Both parents shorthair but both carrying the longhair gene
= 25% shorthair kittens with 2 copies of the shorthair gene
= 50% shorthair kittens carrying the longhair gene
= 25% longhair kittens with 2 copies of the longhair gene

Both parents longhair, if they are longhair they must have 2 copies of the longhair gene
= All kittens longhair with 2 copies of the longhair gene

So you can see that it is possible for two shorthair cats to have some longhair kittens, but it depends on what genes they got from their parents, and in turn which genes their parents received from the grandparents and so on into infinity! Which is why cat breeders spend such a lot of effort studying the pedigrees of their breeding cats - if you want to breed only shorthairs, it's very important to make sure that there is almost no possibility of any longhair genes in their lines, because recessive genes can 'hide' for generations, only showing up when bred to another cat carrying that same recessive gene - this is also important for some genetic conditions and health problems which can hide in the same way.

The percentages I give are only statistical probabilities - it is possible that in 1 litter there will be no longhair kittens even if both parents carry the longhair gene, but if you imagine them being mated thousands of times (which of course is only an imaginary scenario, the poor things would be exhausted!) the numbers of kittens of each type would roughly average out to those percentages.

I hope that helps

EDIT: Because I just want to emphasise that the way I've described it is a kind of shorthand - anyone who's been around cats for a while will know that cats don't either have 1/2" hair or 8" hair with no variation in between, that a show quality Persian will have a longer, fuller coat than a pet quality, and that a Siamese has shorter hair than a Burmese although they are both still shorthairs - but for the purposes of explaining inheritance of recessive traits my example is pretty much standard and I have avoided trying to get my head around and explain more complex factors that give even geneticists a headache
post #9 of 12
LOL, much better than what I was trying to say!
post #10 of 12
Awesome explaination (definitely printing that off). Now we will definitely be observing the strays.

There is a long hair black and white that approaches you and talks and talks and talks to you. My kitten talks and talks and talks. Because of the long hair they havent determined whether the black and white is a male or female. When they start TNR maybe we'll have a better idea where my kitten came from.

Leslie
post #11 of 12
If you know basic genetics you can guess who the father might be.

Tabby is dominate, so any kittens with tabby, would have to have at least one parent a tabby.

Calicos are produced from the mom carrying the red or black gene (or both) and the dad would have the opposite.

e.g. mom is black/white, dad would have to be red/cream tabby (with or without white) to get a calico.

The colors you describe in the litters could result in all of the mentioned parent's colors.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
If I had to guess I think it would have to be the red/cream tabby for the Father, he seems to be the boss around here and he is very healthy and fit. But that is just a guess another male could have snuck a chance.



To continue the question, does behavior/socialability also get passed on and by which parent?


For example, that red male isnt friendly at all and never meows, and mom has never let me pet her but she does meow sometimes, but most of the offspring have been very social with me letting me pet them and enjoying my company and meowing like crazy for attention, and i've never really socialized them just feeding them each day was enough to make them trust me.

So who passed on the genes for them to depend on people?

I also noticed the black and white cats are always the most social, whether there male or female, but the calico is the least social. Is there also color related studies with socialability?
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