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Cat colors (grey, orange..?)

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
These few threads about favorite cat breeds and colors have left me wondering, what do people mean when they talk about a grey or orange cat?

Is grey supposed to mean silver, blue, bad brown, smoke or what??
And what is orange? Red, cream, golden, amber, something else?

Or is it just random and they mean all of those listed above? If it's not, what are the other colors called? (For example if orange means golden, what is red called?)

I'm confusing myself in the middle of the night here..
post #2 of 43
I think by orange they mean red and by grey they mean either blue or silver (usually people who don't know anything about breeding can't tell the difference between a blue and a silver)
But when people say orange and grey it's usually just a way of describing a cat without knowing the proper terms for the colors, so it can really mean anything and it's ambiguous, that's why breeders have colors that are a lot more specific.
post #3 of 43
It comes from knowing specifics that others don't. I have that problem often…

By orange I think most people mean red, but the standard level of it that you see on a common DSH vs the rarer very vibrant reds that breeders can achieve.
Three of mine don't look the darker red so I consider the orange. The vet labels them apricot.

I think most consider blue to be grey, and silver tabbies to be grey as well.
post #4 of 43
Abby is orange and white. However, I consider her "red" as in red hair.

For me, grey is grey. There are various shades from light to silver to smokey.
post #5 of 43
I know what you mean! I have a pure bred Maia, she is one of a kind, ok, so maybe most others see her as a domestic short hair Tabby......But what color of Tabby? Golden spotted belly, silver striped body,
Shes my one of a kind!
post #6 of 43
Many people do not differentiate between orange vs. buff. For example, I've had potential adopters come to the shelter wanting an orange cat.....so I show them "red" cats. That's not what they want, they want buff.

So basically you had it right - they are very general terms to describe a variety of colors.
post #7 of 43
Because I know that "red" is the proper terminology, that's how my cats are listed on vet work and on their insurance papers. However, whenever I talk about them to people, I call them orange. Belle is light orange and Delilah is dark orange. Francis, the porch kitty whose colour is just about in between my to girls' would just be orange.

I also know that grey cats are called blue, but I'm not so sure about what "silver" refers to (other than the expression "silver tabby"). I always just call a plain grey cat grey and would call a silver tabby a grey tabby, as opposed to a just a tabby, which I think of as a typical tabby with black and grey in it).

I should also mention that Zoey's colour was considered buff. He colour was similar to Belle's, but when I look at Belle, I see her colour as closer to orange, whereas Zoey's was closer to tan. In reality, the difference between the two is actually probably very small.
post #8 of 43
^Zoey would technically be called a dilute red. My Tanna is the same color. The vet calls her cream.
Tanna's siblings are darker but still a lighter shade of red that looks like a light dull orange with no hairs that actually look red (there's strands of black in their fur though). MewMew is more of a proper red but still isn't that dark.
post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
I also know that grey cats are called blue, but I'm not so sure about what "silver" refers to (other than the expression "silver tabby"). I always just call a plain grey cat grey and would call a silver tabby a grey tabby, as opposed to a just a tabby, which I think of as a typical tabby with black and grey in it).

I should also mention that Zoey's colour was considered buff.
If (black) silver tabby is called a grey tabby, what do you call a blue tabby?
Would you call my cats grey tabbies? (Pics shown next to my username). It's hard to explain them to someone when you don't know what to call them..

'Buff' is totally new color term for me when talking about cats.
post #10 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
^Zoey would technically be called a dilute red. My Tanna is the same color. The vet calls her cream.
Yes, the dilution of red is cream.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post

'Buff' is totally new color term for me when talking about cats.
Many people consider my Dory to be "buff" colored.
post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Many people consider my Dory to be "buff" colored.
So cream would be 'buff'. It's good to know these things so I'm not so confused all the time.
post #13 of 43
I wonder where the term buff came from when describing that color. Anyone have any ideas where it started? Before seeing people use it on here I had only seen the term describing color in labels for foundation (buff beige for example) or leather, which is a more yellowish color.
Other uses of the word aren't color descriptions.
post #14 of 43
Not sure where it came from, I tend to see farmers be the ones who use the term 'buff' to describe a cat's color more than other people.
post #15 of 43
Odd. I can see how a lighter orange (but not dilute) would have the more yellowish tone that fits that color. But not a dilute red. But then again I doubt farmers are very picky about colors - few have to rely on that skill.. unless you know some that do interior design as a side job.

When I say my red kitties are just not very red, I mean this . Blann is not a good example of what a red can really look like. Instead he's average (but snuggly ). ...I need to upload newer pictures.
post #16 of 43
I'll give you one more.... if you have a Himalayan with a white body and her "points" are "orange".... she's considered a flame point....(unless you are arguing with CFA and they tell you that she has to be a tortie when there are no other colors on her body, lol!!)
post #17 of 43
Thread Starter 
^But she's a red or a cream point, so againg "orange" is red?

How about lilac, what would that be? Grey? (My lilac point BSH shown in my kitty list). A friend of mine called him white...
post #18 of 43
And you wonder one of the reasons that I was happy to get out of the biz? LOL!
post #19 of 43
In my vocab there is no such thing as a buff, flame, gray or orange cat!

I have to deal with apricot now because we have Apricot point Siamese!

I'm just sick of explaining colours to people now and let them call them what they want The term I despite the most is flame *shivers*
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
If (black) silver tabby is called a grey tabby, what do you call a blue tabby?
Would you call my cats grey tabbies? (Pics shown next to my username). It's hard to explain them to someone when you don't know what to call them..

'Buff' is totally new color term for me when talking about cats.
Oy...see, that's where I don't really know what silver means. Here's a pic of two tabbies:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24956202@N04/4685602823/

Zoiberg there out front - to me, he's a grey tabby. Bender, in the back, she's a regular tabby to me.

As for your cats, gosh, I wouldn't even know where to start. LOL...my experience lies mostly is plain old domestic short/longhairs, rather than purebred cats. But, no, I don't think the word tabby would really factor into the description I would use for your cats, unless I was possibly talking about certain markings they may have.
post #21 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats View Post
In my vocab there is no such thing as a buff, flame, gray or orange cat!
That's why I made this thread, they are not that familiar to me either. And it annoys me that I don't know what color people mean when they say that their cat is 'grey' or 'orange'.

It seems like it's a matter of opinion. If people are not familiar with the basic kitty colors, they just call them something which may resemble a bit what they see in the cat instead of what the cat really is?
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
How about lilac, what would that be? Grey? (My lilac point BSH shown in my kitty list). A friend of mine called him white...
Some would say so, but it doesn't look grey to me since I'm familiar with lilac.

And yes, orange = red. But if you see us DSH/DLH owners saying orange you can probably safely assume we mean red as in the picture I posted. Not a deep red, the common moggie coat of red instead. Hence the confusion there, I suppose?

Apricot just seems odd to me.. But if talking about a breed or a pointed cat I will use the proper names for the colors.
post #23 of 43
Thread Starter 
To make this even more confusing, what would you call this handsome fellow: click?
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
To make this even more confusing, what would you call this handsome fellow: click?
Squishy! He's adorable, that's for sure. He certainly went through some changes as he matured.
I'm not as caught up with some breeds (there's not much reason for me to be), but I'd just cheat and say what the site listed. Without looking at that and if I saw him in person and needed a description for someone who wouldn't know the color, I'd probably say golden and describe the coat a bit more from there.

BTW - does that site seem slow to anyone else? (aside from NorthernGlow)
post #25 of 43
He looks like a "ruddy Abyssinian" to me - for the closest color resemblance.

I've had many people come in wanting to adopt a "calico" cat - they want a black/gold tortie. I've even had people tell me their vet labeled their "tortie" cat a "calico"!
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
That's why I made this thread, they are not that familiar to me either. And it annoys me that I don't know what color people mean when they say that their cat is 'grey' or 'orange'.

It seems like it's a matter of opinion. If people are not familiar with the basic kitty colors, they just call them something which may resemble a bit what they see in the cat instead of what the cat really is?
Exactly, but when you really think about it, the correct ways to describe cat colors aren't very accurate either. You just happen to know what they are, because they are agreed upon words that summarize the color of a cat that has a specific phenotype....
No cat is truly red, and no cat is truly blue either. Jake is a brown mackerel tabby with white, but he also has black and red and orange in his fur too, if I was to accurately describe what he looks like, I would have to include all that. But, most people who have dealt with cat genetics or know something about cats know that brown mackerel tabbies don't have only brown in their fur, they have a wide range of tones.
post #27 of 43
Thread Starter 
^Actually I'm more familiar with a system where the cats are registered according to their genotype instead of phenotype, and they for example call brown tabbies black tabbies (because that's what they really are). Brown mackerel tabby would be a black mackerel tabby etc.

I do think it's good to know the other terms as well. It's a nightmare trying to explain someone what color my cats are if the person I'm talking with isn't a cat person (who is familiar with the colors). Kuura and Luna are definitely the hardest out of mine..
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats View Post

I'm just sick of explaining colours to people now and let them call them what they want The term I despite the most is flame *shivers*
Add to that the differences between countries. Ruddy/Usual or Red are not Aby colour terms here for instance.

Calico is not used here either, same for NZ I think?
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by missymotus View Post
Add to that the differences between countries. Ruddy/Usual or Red are not Aby colour terms here for instance.

Calico is not used here either, same for NZ I think?
Isn't there a sorrel or something in Aby's too? and then the seal/brown burmese thing. Yeah we don't use calico or torbie or dilute tortie here
post #30 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonCats View Post
Isn't there a sorrel or something in Aby's too? and then the seal/brown burmese thing. Yeah we don't use calico or torbie or dilute tortie here
Yep but I forget what sorrel is to us Isn't it sable/brown/seal, platinum/lilac for the Burms.

Same on the torbie... tortie tabby (& white). Do they not specify the colour before tortie in other parts of the world? Lilac tortie for example
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