Color Genetics

Articles about the genetics of coat color in cats

Titles marked with a red asterisk * are for members only.


  • Basic Color Genetics, Part 1
    Many breeders struggle to understand the theory behind color inheritance in cats. This is Part One of a two-part article explaining the basics of simple color genetics, using Persians to demonstrate.
    September 2007

  • Basic Color Genetics, Part 2
    This is the second part of an article discussing simple color genetics in cats, using Persians to demonstrate constructing and deconstructing various coat colors.
    October 2007

  • * Black Hairs On A Red Cat
    One of the most curious color faults occurs when black hairs appear in the red coat of a show cat.
    October 2021

  • Calico Genetics
    Calico cats are perhaps the most striking color of feline. Acclaimed author, Wendy Christensen, explains the genetics behind their beauty.
    February 2007

  • * Color Inheritance: Part 1
    If you are a beginner who doesn't understand color inheritance at all - this is for YOU!
    March 2018

  • * Color Inheritance: Part 2
    To understand color inheritance, all you basically need to understand is the inheritance of 3 colors - White, Black and Red. Everything else builds on these three colors.
    April 2018

  • * Color Inheritance: Part 2 - Answers to Questions
    The 'trick' to keeping color prediction 'simple' is to break the predictions down into stages. Using simple examples, you will understand simple color inheritance.
    September 2000

  • * Color Inheritance: Part 3
    Tabbies, Bicolors, Himalayans, Smokes... They all are just red, black or torties... but with a single genetic twist. Break the genes down into parts, and it is simple to understand
    October 2000

  • * Colorbred
    Do you know the meaning of the word "colorbred" as it applies to the world of cat breeding? Learn more about this breeding term and the philosophy behind it...
    March 2012

  • * Genetic Symbols For Coat Color
    This article discusses the most common genes that determine coat color in cats. Knowing these genes and their genetic symbols is the first step in understanding how coat color is inherited and being able to determine and plan for the possible coat colors of kittens from a specific breeding.
    May 2017

  • Inhibited Kitty Colors
    An intriguing photographic essay demonstrating the colors of a Shaded Black, Masked Silver and more...
    November 2006

  • * Inhibitor Gene
    The inhibitor gene is responsible for the Silvers, Shaded, Smokes and the Silver Tabbies of the cat world. This article gives a general overview of the gene's action that produces these lovely colors...
    September 2019

  • * Kitten Cap
    A "Kitten Cap" refers to a small streak or two of color on the top of the head of an otherwise all white kitten. Learn more about this interesting phenomenon, why it occurs, and how it affects a kitten's show career.
    September 2019

  • * Male Calico & Male Tortoiseshell Cats
    While calico and tortoiseshell cats are usually females, occasionally a cat of these beautiful colors is a male. Learn why this happens, and whether a male calico or tortoiseshell is valuable (or not)...
    October 2019

  • * Spotting Gene
    Some of the most strikingly marked cats are the bicolors, calicos and all those other colors of cats "with white" patches on their coat. These beautiful colors are the result of the spotting gene. Learn about its action, inheritance and effect on other genes...
    May 2020

  • What Color Is Your Cat?
    This article by TICA judge, Beth Hicks is a photographic essay showing the different colors of cats from tabbies and torbies to pointed and 'with white' in all the shades and patterns.
    July 2005

  • White Himalayans
    In the crazy world of color genetics, interesting things can occur when combining the white gene with the colorpoint gene...
    December 2007



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