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9 Rarest Cat Coat Colors And Patterns

In the cats’ world, colors and patterns are as various and versatile as their personalities. People find it interesting when they start to examine the cat’s outlook on a deeper level. Like humans, cats do have genetic mutations which lead the fur to appear diversely. Why do you prefer a tabby cat to a calico one? Why a Sphynx doesn’t have fur meanwhile other cats put on themselves a beautiful coat. A tortoiseshell cat is a little bit of everything, isn’t it? Have you ever seen a cat who has partial albinism?  Some cats are too gorgeous to be true as well, that’s why they are considered to be celeb kitties.

Although the population of cats is massive which has been roughly 700 million so far included domestic cats and stray cats, there are still some exotic kitties whose coat colors and patterns are so distinctive and stunning. The knowledgeable and biological information about their genes is quite complicated but when we look at it in an artistic way, it’s like a painter who mixes the colors together. Diluted or dense, mixed or solid, darker or lighter, cats are equally beautiful and unique. We’ve researched the 9 rarest cat’s coat colors and patterns for our beloved readers, so be prepared, because they are one-of-a-kind!

Before jumping right to the best part, here are some interpretations about how a cat’s gene is formed. (B/b/b1) is a trio of the primary gene for coat color, imagine they are based colors in the palette. Dominant allele (B) codes for black color, recessive allele (b) for chocolate, and recessive allele (b1) for cinnamon. So that’s why black cats, black and white cats, or calico ones are very common. Besides dominant allele (B), we have a co-dominant allele (O/o) which represents red variations in a cat’s coat color. The dense/dilute pigment gene (D/d) codes for melanophilin and the tyrosinase gene (C/c/c1) codes for the tyrosinase enzyme.

(h/t: basepaws)

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#1 Chocolate

Not really black, but not also brownish, a cat who has a chocolate color coat is a result of having a recessive allele (b) in the primary gene of the coat color. It's quite hard to find a chocolate cat because the eumelanin pigment requires 2 recessive alleles (homozygous). Turns out, the (b/b) alleles will give a cat a unique coat. The intensity of the color depends on further related genes involved in shaping a cat's figure.

#2 Cinnamon

Similar to chocolate color, a cat who owns a double recessive allele (b1/b1) will have a cinnamon coat. Due to the rarity of the encoded allele (b1) in the primaary gene of the coat corlor, not many people spot a cinnamon cat usually. The intensity of the color depends on further related genes involve in shaping a cat's figure.

#3 Smoke

This is a combination of having a carried dominant allele in the primary of the coat color (B/B, B/b, or B/b1) and recessive alleles of the homozygous dense pigment gene (d/d). The smoke color is outbursted with vary of black colorations in (B/b/b1) and attenuated by (D/d). The recessive allele (d) will alternate and dilute the variations of black tone. As the result, we have one of the rarest coats of a cat: a smokey furball.

#4 Fawn

Being determined by the homozygous recessive gene (b1) in the primary of the color coat and diluted by recessive homozygotes for dense pigment gene (d/d), fawn color is born. Fawn is a variation of (b1) which represents cinnamon color as mentioned above. The formulation is similar to smoke and lilac colors.

#5 Cream

This color coat is not completely white or orange, it is something in between. The orange coloration is defined by the red gene (O/o) and mixed with (D/d), the dense pigment gene. Imagine we mix a little bit of orange (dominant allele O) and lots of white to appear cream color. The reg gene is found on the X chromosome to determine if any red variations appeared on the cat's coat color. If you see a creamy kitty, definitely it is an encoder of the carried dominant allele of the red gene (O/O or O/o) and homozygous recessive alleles for the dense pigment gene (d/d).

#6 Chinchilla

This unique pattern is the result of melanin inhibitor (I/i) which makes half of the hair faded while the rest is pigmented. The pattern is inherited by tabby variations and the suppression of dominant allele (I), that's why some of the rare cats have quirky markings. The interesting thing about chinchilla fur color is the stripes are not affected by the melanin inhibitor at all, only the bases of the hair are silver. 

#7 Color-point

This is not really one of the rarest cats that have distinctive patterns as we can find spotted-color cats in Siamese or Hymalian ones. This is a form of partial albinism caused by a mutation in the gene that codes for tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in the production of melanin (C/c/c1). The recessive alleles (c and c1) encode the mutated tyrosinase and define one of two forms of albinism: complete and temperature-sensitive. So what will happen when a cat has partial albinism? Like humans, the appearance will lack pigments, which the body and hair are generally white; However, unlike humans, cats' cooler parts will appear the color. That is why color-pointed cats have darker patterns at the nose, legs, and ears. The variations of the pigment include black, or cool grey, light brown, or lilac.

#8 Rosette pattern

Bengal, Serengeti, Egyptian Mau, Arabian Mau, and Maine Coon are the ones who have rosette patterns. A rosette pattern is also known as the spotted tabby pattern, which is the result of the agouti gene (A). Simply put, this dominant gene allows the pigmentation to happen randomly, it can be full-colored at first then it is gradually faded and finally pigmented again. This gene is what will cause these banded hairs to alternate with stripes, spots, or solid patches. The recessive allele of the gene is called non-agouti, which normally happens to solid cats.

#9 Lilac

Same as smoke color, this is the result of the recessive homozygotes of allele (b) in the primary of the coat color and diluted by dense pigment gene. As mentioned, the allele (b) represents brown color, so when it is "watered down" with homozygous (d/d), the color will be lighter until lilac. There is no black allele involved in this formulation.


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