A bicolor cat or piebald cat is a cat with white fur combined with fur
of some other color, for example black or tabby. There are various
patterns of bicolor cat. These range from
Turkish Van pattern (color
on the crown of the head and the tail only) through to solid color
with a throat locket.
Where there is low-to-medium grade white spotting limited to the face,
paws, throat and chest of an otherwise black cat, they are known in
the United States as a tuxedo cat. High-grade bicolor results in
Van-pattern cats. There are many patterns between, such as
"cap-and-saddle", "mask-and-mantle" and "magpie" (more randomly
splashed). Bicolors are found in many cat breeds, as well as being
common in domestic longhair and domestic shorthair cats.
Solid color bicolor cats occur because there is a white spotting gene
present along with a recessive allele of the agouti gene, which evens
out the usual striped pattern of the colors of the coat. In contrast,
tabby cats have an agouti gene that produces striping of the coat. The
Abyssinian has agouti (ticked tabby) fur, giving the appearance of
even color with color-banded hairs.
White spotting can also occur with any of the tabby patterns,
resulting in tabby-and-white bicolors. Colorpoint (Himalayan pattern)
cats can have bicolor points, although this variation is not
recognized for showing. The body markings of bicolor colorpoints
become clearer with age, as the body fur of colorpoint cats darkens as
the cats grow older and the white patches become more visible.
1 Grades and frequency in breeds
2 Genetics of coat patterns
4 In popular culture
5 See also
7 External links
Grades and frequency in breeds
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Various bicolor patterns
Bicoloration in cats is graded from one to ten with one being
completely black and ten being completely white. There are also
several patterns with their own names. The cat labelled "bicolor" is
the preferred pattern in show-quality bicolor purebred cats.
Another type of black-and-white bicolor cat is referred to as a "cow
cat" or "moo cat" and includes the magpie, cap-and-saddle and
mask-and-mantle patterns. A cow cat does not have the solid black
"jacket" of the tuxedo cat. Instead, it has large black patches over a
mostly white body, often with a black mask over the head. "Black-mask
cats" are so called because they look like they are wearing a black
mask over their head. The
Turkish Van (white and red) is one good
example of a bicolor breed. Van pattern is known to animal geneticists
Seychelles (Seychellois) pattern and is classified into three
Seychellois Neuvieme is white with colored tail and head splashes
Turkish Van pattern)
Seychellois Huitieme is white with colored tail and head splashes plus
additional splashes of color on the legs
Seychellois Septieme is white with splashes of color on the legs and
body in addition to those on the head and the colored tail
These are high grade white spotting of types nine, eight and seven.
This coloration is not restricted to a specific breed of cat, as it
can be found in many different types of pure-breed as well as
mixed-breed domestic cats. However, some breeds are
especially noted for having bicolor coats in their breed standards.
These include the Turkish Van, American Shorthair, Manx, British
Shorthair, and Turkish Angora.
In contrast, other common breeds of cat have specific coat patterns
specified in their breed standards. These cats are therefore never
seen in the bicolor pattern. Cats with such specific coat patterns
such as the
Russian Blue which has a coat of one solid color.
Genetics of coat patterns
Cat coat genetics
A depiction of unique facial markings
A mask-and-mantle cat
A Tuxedo cat on a rug
The basic colors and patterns of cat fur are defined by fewer than ten
genes. Cats with white color in their coats are thought to have a
mutant white-spotting gene that prevents the formation of coat color
in patches over the cat's body. This gene has been investigated in
several species, particularly mice, and is co-dominant to normal coat
color as it prevents the migration of melanocytes into the developing
hair follicles. The genetics of this pattern are not as well
understood in cats but at least some of the genes involved in
melanocyte migration and survival may play a role similar as in other
Three genotypes possible with the S (white spotting) gene, with
capital S standing for a wild-type copy and lower-case s standing for
SS (two dominant alleles) results in high grades of white spotting
(sometimes resulting in a solid-looking white cat or a white cat with
just a few color hairs)
Ss (one dominant, one recessive allele) results in medium grades of
ss (two recessive alleles) results in solid color or low grades of
white spotting (sometimes as little as a few white hairs)
The lack of tabby striping in bicolor cats is controlled by the agouti
protein, which inhibits the production of melanin and thus prevents
the formation of dark hair colors. In agouti cats the gene is
turned on and off as the hair grows, producing hairs with alternating
stripes yellow and black. In domestic cats, inactivation of the
agouti gene by a deletion mutation causes all-black coat color.
Bicolor gray tuxedo cat.
A tuxedo cat
A tuxedo cat, or Felix cat in the United Kingdom, is a bicolor cat
with a white and black coat. They are called "tuxedo" cats because
they appear to be wearing the type of black tie formal wear commonly
known in the United States and
Canada as a tuxedo. The tuxedo pattern
is not limited to the color black, but the name is typically reserved
for black and white cats. Most tuxedo cats are also black-mask cats, a
common name for felines who, due to their facial coloration, look as
if they are wearing a black mask over their eyes, and often over their
entire head. To be considered a true tuxedo cat, the feline's coloring
should consist of a solid black coat, with white fur limited to the
paws, belly, chest, throat, and often the chin, although many tuxedo
cats appear to sport goatees, due to the black coloration of their
mandible—that is, the lower jaw and chin. Bicolor may also appear in
the skin color.
Paw pads may be black or pink, often matching the coat
in that area; if the color boundary crosses the underside of the paw,
the pads on either side may be different colors or even
bicolored. White muzzles or vertical stripes are a
common attribute of tuxedo cats.
In popular culture
This article contains a list of miscellaneous information. Please
relocate any relevant information into other sections or articles.
See also: Fictional cats
In the United Kingdom, the tuxedo cat became depicted as the "Jellicle
cat" in the fictional tribe of nocturnal black and white cats
T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot in Old Possum's
Book of Practical Cats, which
was first published in 1939. In its derivative musical, Cats, the
tuxedo cat is exemplified by the character of the magical Mr.
Mistoffelees, who is portrayed as a stage magician wearing a lacy ruff
and bow tie, as well as the character
Bustopher Jones whose outfit
consists of a tuxedo and spats. The musical differed from the book in
that the characters included cats with many different coat colors,
rather than just bicolor cats, but it retains the repeated assertion
Jellicle cats are black and white." Cats with these markings
also played a starring role in the drawings illustrating The
Unadulterated Cat, a book written by Terry Pratchett, with cartoons by
Other well-known cartoon bicolor cats include Sylvester the Cat, Krazy
Kat, Felix the Cat, Tom
Cat from Tom and Jerry, Jess from Postman Pat,
Kitty Softpaws from the
Shrek spin-off Puss in Boots, Figaro, Beans
and Sebastian the cat from Josie and the Pussycats. A bicolor cat
named Mittens is one of the main characters in the 2008 Disney
animated film Bolt. Aldwyn from The Familiars is a tuxedo cat, while
Meowrice (voiced by Paul Frees) from
Gay Purr-ee is a bicolor. A
tuxedo cat is also the protagonist of the popular children's book
A tuxedo cat is one of the three breeds of cats in the video game
Electronic artist Joel Zimmerman, better known by his stage name
deadmau5, owns a black-and-white bicolor cat whose full name is
"Professor Meowingtons PhD", usually shortened to "Meowingtons". He is
referenced in the title and promos of Zimmerman's "Meowingtons Hax
Tour" that took place in 2011. The cat also appears wearing a mau5head
on the front cover of Album Title Goes Here, released in 2012.
Palmerston (cat), black & white bicolor, resident Chief Mouser of
the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Whitehall London
Kat Kong - a children's book about a bicolor cat
Penelope Pussycat - a cartoon character who is a bicolor cat
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^ a b c "Coat Colors &
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^ Syufy, Franny (21 May 2015). "About Tuxedo Cats". About.com. The
About Group. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot (1982). Old Possum's
Book of Practical Cats. Harcourt.
Terry Pratchett and
Gray Jolliffe The Unadulterated
Cat Orion; New
Ed edition (26 September 2002) ISBN 0-7528-5369-4
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