Rare cat colours at a glance
- Calico or tortoiseshell (male)
Cats come in a huge range of cat colours and patterns, which is controlled by genes, gene modifiers, gender and even temperature in pointed cats.
Cats have 19 pairs of chromosomes, which are inherited from the mother and father. Each chromosome DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which contains the instructions an organism needs to develop, live and reproduce. Genes come in pairs, one from the mother and one from the father and can be dominant or recessive. A dominant gene overrides a recessive gene, and two copies of a recessive gene must be present for that trait to develop.
There are only two true colours in cats, black and red. Every other coat colour is a deviation of those two colours. Black and red are dominant, and therefore only one copy of the gene is needed for the cat to show these colours.