4 Fascinating Facts About White Cats
White cats are uncommon, unique, and simply lovely, so it’s no surprise that they’re so popular. But what differentiates white cats from other colorful kitties? Check out a few of the many fascinating facts about white cats below to learn more.
A Mask of Their True Color
The gene that creates a cat’s white coat basically ends up covering the actual color of the coat. The masking gene, also known as the W gene, causes a cat to be white when the dominant allele is present. On the other hand, if there is a recessive allele, the color of the coat will appear instead.
Related: 5 Interesting Facts About Tabby Cats
If a white female kitty were to give birth to a litter of kittens, some of her babies might feature their mother’s true coat color, while others might feature what is referred to as the masking gene that will make their coats appear white as well.
When you come across a white kitten, you might notice that the coat features a small spot of color, particularly on the head. That would be the cat’s true coat color, but the spot might end up fading away as the kitten grows older. Pretty interesting, right?
A Giant White Spot?
In terms of genetics, the S gene, or spotting gene, could also create white areas throughout a kitty’s coat. Like the W gene, this white spotting basically covers, or masks, a feline’s actual color. However, this allele could also end up causing a cat’s coat to be totally white because the spot isn’t only in one part of the body, but rather across the whole body.
Many Feline Breeds Could Feature White Coats
There are a variety feline breeds that could feature a beautiful white coat, and those breeds include, but are not limited to:
- American Shorthair
- Maine Coon
- Cornish Rex
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Exotic Shorthair
- Turkish Angora
- Khao Manee
- Oriental Shorthair
What About Albino Cats?
All-white cats should not be confused with rare albino cats. Basically, albinism is the result of a mutation of the TYR gene. If a kitty is born without the TYR gene or with a damaged TYR gene, he will lack melanin. Therefore, an albino cat will have skin that looks pinkish in color, and these cats will also be sensitive to sunlight. And, unlike white cats, which could feature a variety of eye colors and perhaps even have two different colored eyes, albino kitties lack the melanin for eyes that are green or gold, so their eyes will be pale blue and might also appear pinkish.
Now that you know a few interesting facts about white cats, perhaps you’re ready to bring one home. Consider checking your local animal rescues and shelters, as there are many white cats that are looking for their forever home. In addition to being stunning in appearance, white kitties make wonderful family pets, and each cat will be an individual with his or her own unique personality that you’re sure to fall in love with!
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. An advocate for better treatment of all animals, she enjoys producing content that educates others, helps them understand animals better, and inspires them to help, whether that means volunteering at a shelter, fostering strays, or simply giving their own pets a safe and happy home to live in.
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