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Black cat turning white

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My daughter hasa black long haired male cat. He was a stray so we don't know his age. This cat is turning gray. He now is about 40% white. I never heard of animals turning gray. Anyone have this experience?
post #2 of 17
Cat fur can lose its melanin the same way human hair does. In fact, it is common for cats with dark whiskers (already pretty rare since whiskers delve deeper into the skin than melanin) to have those whiskers turn white as they age.

Since you mentioned the cat is black, there is also a possibility that the cat is sitting in the sun a lot. The sun causes the fur color to oxidize, which turns it grey or brown in an originally black cat.
post #3 of 17
Whats the pattern of color change? For age I believe just like in people it starts on the head/face. For sun bleaching, I'd wager you'd see more bleaching on upper surfaces, but likely more of a browning/tanning than white hairs. Could also be health related (thyroid, liver, etc), nutritional deficiency, or just genetics.

Does your daughter nag the cat a lot? I'm pretty sure female nagging is what turned some of my hair prematurely gray.
post #4 of 17
Is the cat a kitten? Midnight started off all black at 3 weeks old, then he got grey/silver fur, got stripes as weeks went on.
post #5 of 17
Two of our b&w boys turn nine in April. They're starting to get white hairs growing in on their ears, cheeks, and around their eyes. We were just at the vet with one of them, and I asked if cats go grey like people do, and he said they surely can.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Moody is strictly an indoor cat. The change is mainly on his back. He is half white now. I don't think he sits in the sun very much through a window. He's not due for a vet visit but my daughter is going to take him in.
post #7 of 17
Magilla, my feral kitten is eight months now, and she is a long-haired black with a pure WHITE undercoat!!! Just gorgeous when she moves about, you can see the white undercoat as she moves. Interesting to me. I found out that is called Black Smoke??? If she were to get shaved, she would be white. Isn't that unique?

Also, on her face, and it is so cute, where her whiskers come out she is turning a bit white/grey there and it gives her the cutest looking cheeks and face. And, on her face/head she is getting some stray white hairs too!! I wonder what color she will change out to be if any? But, I am noticing more white/grey hairs appearing on her face as she gets older.
post #8 of 17
Jamie will be twelve in April, and he's getting white hair mixed in with the black on his back. It started about a year ago. We had an all-black cat when I was a kid, and he got "gray" (white) mixed in with the black as he aged, too. it's not common, but it happens.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralvr View Post
Magilla, my feral kitten is eight months now, and she is a long-haired black with a pure WHITE undercoat!!! Just gorgeous when she moves about, you can see the white undercoat as she moves. Interesting to me. I found out that is called Black Smoke??? If she were to get shaved, she would be white. Isn't that unique?
My Tomu's mommy is also black smoke. Also all of my cats would be "white" if they were shaved (they are silver too).
eta: smoke=silver
post #10 of 17
My ginger cats whiskers are turning black - about 50% now and on the increase. He also has a lot of black hairs when you look closely. I'm sure they weren't there when he was younger, is he going dark with age???
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
My Tomu's mommy is also black smoke. Also all of my cats would be "white" if they were shaved (they are silver too).
eta: smoke=silver
This might be a dumb question... but, if I were to ever shave Magilla, she would be white, would she grow back the black tips??? In other words, what color would grow out??? Would she still grow out black with the white undercoat again? I would not shave Magilla, she has a gorgeous coat, I was just wondering....

I used to have a long-haired pure black that I would shave periodically to help with shedding. She would get the lion cut.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralvr View Post
This might be a dumb question... but, if I were to ever shave Magilla, she would be white, would she grow back the black tips??? In other words, what color would grow out??? Would she still grow out black with the white undercoat again? I would not shave Magilla, she has a gorgeous coat, I was just wondering....

I used to have a long-haired pure black that I would shave periodically to help with shedding. She would get the lion cut.
She should grow back the black tips but the coat might look different after that (more black or more silver, maybe uneven). I've never shaved any of my cats but plucked out a small matt out of Luna and later noticed that when she grew new hair, that small spot had black tips when the rest of her coat has more like seal brown tipping. (She is a seal silver shaded point, in some registries black silver shaded point. Same thing genetically). During the very hot summer I trimmed Luna's and Utu's tummy hair short with scissors, but that didn't change anything as their bellies are silver without black patterns.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernGlow View Post
She should grow back the black tips but the coat might look different after that (more black or more silver, maybe uneven). I've never shaved any of my cats but plucked out a small matt out of Luna and later noticed that when she grew new hair, that small spot had black tips when the rest of her coat has more like seal brown tipping. (She is a seal silver shaded point, in some registries black silver shaded point. Same thing genetically). During the very hot summer I trimmed Luna's and Utu's tummy hair short with scissors, but that didn't change anything as their bellies are silver without black patterns.
Thanks, I would not want to shave her, as I will keep her brushed daily. I would be worried if she did get shaved, a "funky" looking coat color would grow in, not all black and not all white..... Would be interesting though. Luna is absolutely a beautiful cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow, am I surprised with all your responses. Very interesting replies. Since Moody was a stray we have no idea as to age. I would guess he's really mature. He was neutered and had one injured, cloudy eye. ( He got his name from a Harry Potter character, Mad Eye Moody.)The vet said most likely from a fight. he's a wonderful house cat. It seems that it can be a natural thing for him to gray. Once again, thanks for your replies.
post #15 of 17
One of my totally black cats, Lulu, who lived to be over 18, had her whiskers - by her nose, eyes, and ears - turn white when she got old. Her fur didn't though.

We had a black kitten in the shelter a few months ago who had white hair sprinkled throughout his coat. Sort of "salt and pepper" though still definitely a black cat overall.

I have or have had 7 black cats, and I believe all of them had/have very white skin. Does anyone know if there are black cats with dark skin? Do most/all cats have that white skin?


Robin
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralvr View Post
Magilla, my feral kitten is eight months now, and she is a long-haired black with a pure WHITE undercoat!!! Just gorgeous when she moves about, you can see the white undercoat as she moves.
I just remember that my black, DSH, Sherman (gone, but the sweet boy is not resting in peace as he haunts me) had this white undercoat, too. I loved it.


Robin
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bastetservant View Post
I just remember that my black, DSH, Sherman (gone, but the sweet boy is not resting in peace as he haunts me) had this white undercoat, too. I loved it.


Robin

I have noticed that Magilla's face is getting more white hairs throughout too!! Very strange, I wonder what color she will finish. Her hair is about two inches long and from the skin to about 1/2 way up the hair shaft is pure white!!! The the other half is pure black!!
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