Cat Coat Colours And Patterns

One of the wonderful things about cats is the vast range of coat colours and patterns that makes each cat unique. When choosing what type of cat you want, it is exciting to learn about all the different types of coats and colours they come in. Believe or not, some cats even look like they have moustaches. Genetic mutations can cause the most wonderful coloured coats, and selective breeding has also produced some beautiful patterns.

Here are the main colours that cats come in.

  • White
  • Black
  • Red (Ginger)
  • Blue / Grey
  • Cream
  • Brown
  • Cinnamon
  • Fawn

A inquisitive little tabby cat hiding inside a paper bag
A inquisitive little tabby cat hiding inside a paper bag

Below is a list of the many colour coat patterns.


Solid / Self-colour

This is the easiest coat type to spot, because they are all one colour. If a cat has any other splodge of colour on her then she is not considered a solid coat type.


A solid black cat
A solid black cat

Bi-colour

Bi-colour is when a cat has a white coat with patches of another colour, for example black or tabby. As you would expect there are many different variations. This coat type is caused by the white spotting gene. You will sometimes hear bi-colour cats being referred to as having magpie (random spotting), harlequin (random spotting with coloured tail), cap and saddle (coloured head, with a coloured saddle on their back), or van (colour splashes in-between ears, and coloured tail).


A beautiful black and white bicolour cat
A beautiful black and white bicolour cat

Tabby

This is the most common coat type in cats around the world. There are 4 variations of a tabby. A striped tabby (also known as a mackerel tabby); this is when a cat has vertical stripes running from its spine to its belly. A classic tabby (also known as a blotched tabby); this is when there is a swirly pattern, creating a marbled effect. Spotted tabby; as the name suggests this tabby variation has spots. Ticked tabby; Ticked tabby’s usually have striped legs and tail (but not always), with the rest of the body appearing mottled from the agouti hair. Agouti hair is when each individual hair is more than one colour.


A tabby cat with an incredible coat
A tabby cat with an incredible coat

Tortoiseshell

Tortoiseshells are a mixture of red (ginger) and black. They can come in various dilutions, with the most diluted torties being blue and cream. The coat pattern is mainly seen females. Torties can also vary from brindled, where the two colours are well mixed, to having distinct patches. You can get a mixture of a tabby and a tortoiseshell, also known as a ‘torbie’. These have the distinct markings of both coat patterns.


A cat with a Tortoiseshell coat
A cat with a Tortoiseshell coat

Tri Color / Calico

This coat pattern consists of red (ginger), black and white colouration. Just like the tortoiseshell, a calico can be diluted, showing grey, cream and white patches.


A beautiful Calico cat walking on the grass
A beautiful Calico cat walking on the grass

Colour Point

This coat pattern is when the coat is darker on the face, paws, and tail. This is thought to be caused by a gene that causes the coolest part of the cat's body to become darker in colour.


A colourpoint cat with a beautifully patterned coat
A colourpoint cat with a beautifully patterned coat

A colour point cat is born without the distinct darker markings but develops them as they grow. A scientific experiment has shown that if you keep colourpoint kittens in a warm room the darker markings won’t develop.



Related Products

Customer Images

Comments

Lesley, 9 September 2019

My mother always called a cat marked with ginger black and white as a daffodil cat. Is there such an expression for this colour Way? Regards lesley


Annie, 23 August 2019

This was really helpful towards my research which is taking me a long while. I would recommend this web page to others.


Sandra, 26 April 2019

I have a tortie colored female. Phoebe's hair is long. Is it okay to get her coat shaved?


Jan, 16 January 2019

I have a black with very small white spot on neck male cat and a black tipped white female cat. Both British shorthair. Would like 1 litter. What colour kittens do you think I might have please?


Gabrielle, 8 September 2018

Hi! You mentioned many alternative names for bi-colour cats who are black and white. I thought you might be amused to know that in Ontario Canada, where many holstein cows are raised that are quite variable in their black and white colouring, such cars are locally referred to as "Cow Cats".

Leave a Comment

Get the Omlet Newsletter!

Close

Sign up to our newsletter and get £10 off your order!