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Tortie colors

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Punky, our newest addition to the family, is a tortie with mostly black and peach/apricot markings. But if you look closely, you will notice darker orange/red patchy fur with the peach and black. She has one front paw with lots of peach/orange and one orange paw pad among the black ones. What determines the peachy/apricot and darker reddish colors of a tortie?

Another thing I've noticed about torties is that they seem to have an orange line running down their noses that almost divides their faces in half. When we first saw Punky with that orange line down her face and her smaller ears, she reminded us of a little owl. Any info on these color pattern peculiarities of torties?
post #2 of 3
A lot of the funky stuff that goes on with tortie colors relates to the fact that the second X chromosome is randomly switched off during embryo development. So the size of those color patches is influenced by how soon an X is switched off. The extreme example is in the calico as the white-spotting gene makes the switch-off occur very early, resulting in big spots of color rather than the mix of black-and-orange in a tortie.

All colors are influenced by modifier genes that make subtle changes in shade. I think you must have some of this going on in your cat. The "peach/apricot" is a modification of the red. It's certainly not the dilution gene to cream, as that would have also diluted the black to blue.

Don't forget that environmental factors during hair growth can also influence color! For example, temperature (very important for siamese as hair growth in cold temperatures gives much darker points than if growth had been in a warm environment), nutrition, health, etc.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
That explains all of the peachy/apricot on Punky. You don't notice the red/orange fur tht much until you take a pic with the digital camera, and then the darker reddish/orange fur really stands out.

At first we thought Punky had a large cream colored patch on her neck and chest, but on further inspection, it was peach. And you're right, the rest of Punky is black, unless it's intermingled with the peach and red/orange.
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