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What color is my kitten?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Lusa is my little foster kitty that I found on the side of the road. Obviously she's not any particular breed, but I'm curious what her color is called. She's black in some light and very dark brown in other light. She has some very faint striping on her sides and legs, so I guess she's a tabby. She reminds me of a mink coat.

Here's a link to her pics in the Fur Picture gallery:
http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95643

So is she chocolate, seal, mink...?

Thanks!
post #2 of 17
She's black

The striping usually disappears with age though sometimes the ghost markings stay.
I've never seen a black cat that didn't have varying degrees of browns or reds in the coat under certain light conditions.

They'll also start turning a ruddy red color with exposure to the sun.
post #3 of 17
She's black. The striping is called ghost striping, you can see it in some black cats. Basically, she's a tabby under it all, but the stripes are not usually visible.

The red/brownish color is normal too. My princess looks like she has a chocolate undercoat if you put her in the right light. It's probably more visible in a kitten, since they are one mass of fuzzy undercoat! I've actually noticed that Princess color changes through seasons, based on how much undercoat she has. In winter, she's more of that brown color in sunlight, but in summer she's totally black. Princess doesn't have any of the ghost striping, but I have seen it on other black cats.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you both! When I first saw her (early evening in full sun) she looked pure black. I didn't notice the stripes until the next day. She definitely has a chocolate or reddish-brown cast to her coat.

It'll be interesting to see how she changes as she gets older and whether she keeps her stripes.
post #5 of 17
She may be just a black or could wind up being a black smoke. Its hard to tell at that age. She would not be a tabby even if you see faint striping - that only means she's carrying tabby - one of her parents is a tabby.

Ling was a blue tabby with white and pointed on the ears/face/legs/tail (like a siamese). At 4 months old she changed to black and white. However, you still can see the tabby markings in the right light and the mask too.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
She may be just a black or could wind up being a black smoke. Its hard to tell at that age. She would not be a tabby even if you see faint striping - that only means she's carrying tabby - one of her parents is a tabby.

Ling was a blue tabby with white and pointed on the ears/face/legs/tail (like a siamese). At 4 months old she changed to black and white. However, you still can see the tabby markings in the right light and the mask too.
Just curious...A vet tech at our primary vet said that she was tabby because of her stripes. Is there something about her coloration that wouldn't make her a tabby? She has some faint striping on her head, too.
post #7 of 17
You can't have a black tabby. Tabby is a dominate gene and many colors will show faint striping. But unless its dominate stripes and clearly marked its NOT a tabby.

If you check thru the site, you'll see many pictures of true tabby cats. They only come in a few colors - brown tabby (which ranges from a very dark brown/black color to warm chocolate brown stripes); red tabby, cream tabby, blue tabby. When you get into the oriental colors you can have various other color tabbies.

But no breed has a "black" tabby.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for explaining this to me!
post #9 of 17
This is interesting, there have been similar threads on a UK site I go on in the past two days!! While looking up tabbies yesterday, I found this, and was amazed at how many tabby colours there are - you do have to scroll down a bit.

http://www.messybeast.com/colours.htm
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Oh my goodness, it boggles the mind! I had no idea that there was this much variety and subtlety in cat coat colors and patterns. Thanks for the link!
post #11 of 17
While you might have a list of colors - basically you only have a few colors involved - its just tabbies in different color combinations
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
You know, I think Lusa might be black smoke! At first I thought her coat was thin or scruffy and I was seeing her skin, but it's actually whitish at the base of the hair.

Opinions? Thanks!
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleEye View Post
You know, I think Lusa might be black smoke! At first I thought her coat was thin or scruffy and I was seeing her skin, but it's actually whitish at the base of the hair.

Opinions? Thanks!
She's not a black smoke. A black smoke would be showing a truly WHITE undercoat and markings/lighter areas would be visible. I have had black smoke kittens and they look different. Smoke and silver tabby, as well as the shaded silvers are caused by the inhibitor gene, which is a dominant over non-inhibitor. The undercoat on a smoke kitten or cat would be clearly visible and a definite white.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, merrytreecats. Could you explain to me how the inhibitor and non-inhibitor genes work in this case, if it's not too complicated? I'm a complete newbie to cat genetics and am a little confused

I've looked at Lusa's coat again. It's white-ish to light gray at the base but not pure or strikingly white.

Also, her stripes aren't fading as I thought they might. Do you think she'll retain them now that she's a bit over 2 months old?
post #15 of 17
And I say she's a smoke.

I have a black cat, and whenI got him (at 5 months) his tabby marking was clearly visible in his black coat. He had Classic Tabby markings.

But now at 1.5 years old he is all black, the tabby marking went away gradually.

You can't be definte on a cat's coat until it is much older, the 2 months old.

Has for the smoke coloring, some cats have a more definte white undercoat then others. Just wait.

This is him today

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Lilo! Your male is stunning

I'll just have to wait and watch to see how Lusa develops. Here are a couple of current pics:



post #17 of 17
She's really cute now. But she will be black. Many blacks have ghost tabby markings in the right light and a lot of that greyish color at the base.

If she sits in the sun a lot, the tabby markings will be more noticable and eventually the black will turn rusty brown - the sun kinda bleaches the coat. You notice it a lot on black cats that spend a lot of time outside.

This is taken from a color definition of solid black vs black smoke.

A "solid black" is just that: black all over. It may be coal black, grayish black, or brownish black. Black cats can "rust" in the sunlight, the coat turning a lighter brownish shade.

If your cat is pretty much solid black or gray, but the roots of the hairs are distinctly white, it is a "smoke." (It's normal for the roots on a solid cat to be grayish; true smokes, on the other hand, have definite white roots.) Smokes are the solid version of silver tabbies. These cats are very dramatic because when they move, the hair parts and the white undercoat can be seen. There are light, medium, and dark smokes

A "black smoke" is a solid black cat with white roots. There are light black smokes, medium black smokes, and dark black smokes.
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