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What's the difference between a black and chocolate colored cat?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Both of my black cats are chocolate colored tabby cats in the "right" light. What causes this coloring? My roomates black cat is straight black, the kind that gets a blue sheen if you flash photograph it.

this image shows where my "black" kitten has black spots on her ears with chocolate fur surrounding it?

here are the two cats shown without "right" light.. what makes their fur brown?

post #2 of 11
Chocolate is modified genetically. Its not the same thing as black, but black can either be agouti or non-agouti. Agouti is the modifier that brings out the tabby pattern in the coat - if a black is non-agouti it will appear all black. If its agouti, you will see the tabby pattern as "ghost" spotting.

I'm not really good with explaining all genetics, but know that "sable" brown like a Burmese is genetically a black cat and not a chocolate cat.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok cool so burmese are the ones that look sable/brown all the time, but theyre really black? Also would you call these two cats as black or chocolate or sable? and theyre agouti Im sure!
post #4 of 11
Your cats are black. Sometimes the color can fade to look brownish in sunlight, and the ones with ghost patterns are usually a bit lighter in color than the totally solid blacks.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
awesome thank you! I never knew if I should call them black or chocolate before. What breeds are chocolate and sable cats most likely to be?
post #6 of 11
Too many breeds to list I think.. xD But here is an example pic of a chocolate british shorthair male to give you an idea of what chocolate usually 'should' look like: click.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
ohh ok like a chocolate labrador vs a black lab. thanks for the reference picture!
post #8 of 11
Yes your cats would be considered to be black.

I had a black smoke rex one time and we had a hard time deciding if she was a black or a chocolate smoke. One parent was tortie and the other was chocolate smoke.

In the summer time she would shed out to chocolate tipping on the coat and legs - seriously she was brown as could be; yet in the winter she was dark black! My rexes don't sit in the sun and don't go outside, but she would change colors every season. We determined genetically she was black (never bred her so we could not be 100% certain). And the paw pads were two different colors which did not help things either.

So you can see that the black and the chocolate are not the same thing.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for all the useful information! I've never bred cats before, nor do I have any breeds to enhance the standards of, so I dont plan on it happening. But I've always found the genetics behind things interesting! Especially with colors, and fur. I had a hairless rat breed with a standard rat, some of the babies came out half fur and half bald. Can cats do the same thing? Like the chinese crested dogs, but a cat version?
post #10 of 11
I had 4 black domestics in the past which all had shades of brown in the right light, but they were all black cats.

Regards to chocolate, that comes in several shades depending on breed - and even different shades within the breed.

Here are some of my chocolates, each of them different.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
They are gorgeous missymotus! I can definitely see the difference between your darker chocolate and the lighter chocolate.
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