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Black or Black Smoke?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My family is lucky enough to own a gorgeous young British Shorthair, aged just over sixth months. She is pedigreed and registered. On her certificate, she is labelled 'black smoke'.

However, today when we took her to a cat show, there was some controversy over whether she is in fact 'black smoke' or not.

On the top of her head and on her tail, her fur is black nearly all the way to the tips. However, on her sides, legs, haunches and back it is clearly not black to the tips. It is not entirely white either - appearing a sort of ash grey - but clearly nowhere near 'black to the tips' which was the show's definition of a 'black cat'.

The controversy arose over the fact that since neither of her parent's are 'smoke' coloured, it is genetically impossible for her to be a 'smoke', or so we have been told. Her father is a black, her mother a blue-cream. However, she clearly does not fit the standard for black.

This led to her being re-classified by the judges today as 'black' - and we were told her coat colour was 'unstable'. Since she is not black, she then lost points for being 'the wrong colour'. I have searched the net for a definition of 'unstable' and have come up blank. And how can they label her as 'black' when she doesn't fit the standard - which is a cat with black to its roots - which she is not.

Anyone who could shed light on this matter, I would much appreciate it!
post #2 of 7
A true black smoke will be white at the roots of the hair - not grey/ash color. Sometimes its difficult to tell. Sounds like (age wise) its a kitten coat and that turns grey looking on a black. Breeders sometimes call it "fever coat".

I would wait another 6 months to decide, but its probably a black. Usually one parent is a smoke if its a smoke ktten.

What color is the parents and grandparents? And do you have picture or link to one?
post #3 of 7
Sometimes a smoke will have unsound color and appear to be a solid. Once way to tell if a cat is a true smoke is to breed the cat to a brown tabby with homozygous agouti (only will produce tabby) If any silvers are produced, then the cat is a genetic smoke. However, such a smoke would not be competitive as a show cat since the white undercoat would be off-color or non-existent. Low grade smokes can sometimes have a yellow, tan, or grey undercoat. The undercoat will be most clear behind the ears and around the neck.

A Japanese Bobtail breeder is known for having imported a pregnant cat who produced a cat that later proved to be a smoke, although that cat did not appear to be one at birth. It was only through breeding that the cat's true color could be determined.

The coat color is called unstable because the judge is assuming that genetically the cat is black, but there is some other factor that is preventing the color from having the density that is required by the standard. It could be genetic, but it also could be environmental. Only time will tell.

Goldenkitty is correct that one of the parents would have to have been a smoke in order for your cat to be a smoke. The gene that causes cats to be smoke/silver is dominant. I would tend to agree that it is likely a fever or kitten coat.
post #4 of 7
Ferris you are right, but I would caution about testing by breeding. If the cat is not a show quality purebred, you don't want to "experiment" just to find out a color That would mean a lot of mixed breeds might be bred on purpose.

I've had two mixed breed unusual cats that I would have loved to breed just because of their genetics or to find out exactly what they were (my color changing black & white who was blue tabby at birth, then changed to pointed and now is black & white) BUT she was spayed so we never will really know.
post #5 of 7
Of course I wasn't advising that the OP breed their PET to a domestic!!!!!!!!! Good lord, I was simply explaining that test-breedings are sometimes the only way to tell what color a cat really is! Where in the world do you see that I am telling them to breed their PET cat?

I would have hoped that you would assume better of me. But you know what they say when people assume things. . .
post #6 of 7
Sorry - but I was concerned about others reading this that own mixed or pet quality - and they might think its ok to test breed. I'm sorry if it was misunderstood on my part.

If they intend on showing this cat in shows, it will have to be determined what color - the harder part is if the cat is altered (which was not stated I think). We just had a show where a blue Maine Coon (champion) was questioned on the color - one or two judges said it should have been a blue smoke, not a solid blue - which meant the cat lost the champion status due to the wrong color). They showed it as an Open blue smoke on Sunday to start over.

I didn't see a lot of white at the base from my seat (and didn't check it later), but the cat was an off color "blue" to me - not the normal shade of blue you see.
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by Caterell View Post

The controversy arose over the fact that since neither of her parent's are 'smoke' coloured, it is genetically impossible for her to be a 'smoke', or so we have been told. Her father is a black, her mother a blue-cream. However, she clearly does not fit the standard for black.
Non-smoke parents can have smoke kittens, I know few (and they are also BSHs), but atleast one of the parents has to be silver to produce a smoke kitten.

To me she sounds like a bad quality black. Pedigreed smokes are usually very easy to tell apart from solid blacks, and bad smoke will usually have too much markings and too much silver so they are easy to notice.

Any chance we could see a pic of your kitty?
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