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Cat Colors

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I adopted a pregnant feral barn cat (where I board my horses) late this past winter. I’m not much of a cat person but felt bad when the barn owner decided to capture all the cats and give them to a cat rescue (most were euthanized as they were quite “wildâ€).

At $300 apiece for shots and neutering, she could not afford to get them all done (she did have 4 done). There were more than 30 cats and kittens that lived in the woods but would come into the barn for food. Some were there when she bought the farm, some were drop-offs and over time their numbers kept increasing. She fed them but there gets to be a limit. Another whole story.

Anyway, I was wondering if some could direct me to sex-linked colors in cats just as an FYI. The cat I adopted (a really pretty black, orange and white “torbieâ€, according to the vet - she’s now spayed), gave birth to three kittens in April.

One is a solid black, one a perfectly marked black and white, and an orange tabby. I had thought all orange tabbies were male, just as calicos and torties are always female (yes I have heard of the rare male calico but have never seen one or heard of anyone who had one). The orange tabby kitten is female. Am I imagining it to be a rare color for a female?

Probably unrelated but the mom has 4 “double paws†and all kittens have front “double pawsâ€. I’ve found good homes with friends for two of the kittens but am keeping the tabby. She’s a sweetie and will be spayed next month when she turns 6 mos. Guess I’m now a cat person

Thank you.
post #2 of 8
Color basics:

The color gene is carried on the X chromosone - XX is female, XY is male. The mother can give color to the females and the males. The father can only give color to the females.

If the mother is a tortie (black/red) and the father is black, then the possible kitten colors would be:

Black males, Red males.
Black females, Tortie females

If the mother is tortie and the father is red:

Black males, Red males
Tortie females and RED females.

Its not a rare thing to have red females - just indicates the father was a red too and not a black.

This is basics - you have many other factors in colors - some cats are carrying the dilute gene (which changes black to blue and red to cream). The recessive genes can be hidden for generations and you get the occasional "odd-ball" cat in color - one that is not apparent unless you can trace the pedigree. For example, a friend of mine had a litter of rex kittens - one of them was chocolate color - but the immediate pedigree didn't indicate it - she had to go back 8 generations to find out that both sides were carrying the recessive chocolate gene and that's where the kitten picked it up from.

As far as the "double" feet - sounds like extra toes and that is called "polydactal" - nothing wrong with them but you should keep an eye on those extra nails and be sure to clip them too.

BTW I know of several "calico males" - have seen 2 in person. Calicos are 99.9% female and the occasional male is usually sterile (he's genetically an XXY) If you do find one that can breed, he will only throw one color - not two even tho he shows it.

Congrats on becoming a cat owner
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much! I've never seen a red female before. Neither have any of my firends who own cats but none are breeders or experts like yourself.

Thanks again.
post #4 of 8
My best friend and one of my coworkers have orange females. Its not common but not rare. Like GoldenKitty says it just means that both mom and dad displayed orange.
post #5 of 8
One of the posters on here has a red tabby mother and the father was also red (or cream) and the ENTIRE litter is red and cream tabbys - both males and females.

I think that's way cool
post #6 of 8
I had a red tabby female once. She was a gorgeous kitty.

If your "torbie" is in fact BLACK and red with white, not brown tabby/red with white, she's not a torbie...The gene that changes tabby to black {a recessive gene} does not affect tabby striping on red {orange} cats, so this is what causes calicos to have black, red tabby and white.
post #7 of 8
She could be silver tabby, orange and white.
post #8 of 8
If she's a true silver tabby with red patches, she would be a "silver patched tabby". Sounds like a tortie/white to me if its not brown tabby to make it a torbie.

If the red only shows tabby, its NOT a torbie - the brown or blue color has to be the tabby color.
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