The colors of British cats

April 18, 2019

Nowadays there is a huge variety of colors of British cats. Today there are more than 250 different colors of British cats and it is not the limit.

 

Classic British cats – of blue monochrome color came along the breed from the very beginning, and some rare and exotic color were derived by breeders with a lot of hard work. Very rare combinations of colors and shades are highly valued among professional breeders and felinologists as well as among those who just love the breed. To keep the variety of colors in order they all are organized by types and groups depending on the main color, pattern and the colors of shading.

Every color has its own standards and characteristics. The process of color formation is quite complicated and some factors play the big part in it – for example genetics, predisposition of parents, or the fact of how dominant the color is or how the colors of parents are compatible with each other, the facts that one or both parents can be the carrier of some color genes are also very important. That is why all these factors are strongly considered and looked at and only the partners which fully match are selected for breeding.

 

The color of a British cats is defined not only by the color of the coat. Every color is defined by the following characteristics:

  • Color of the coat

  • Color of the undercoat

  • Pattern of the fur (if any present)

  • Eye color

  • Color of paw pads

  • Color of the tip of the nose                           

     

The main categories of colors of British cats:

  • Solid colors

  • Tortie colors

  • Color point

  • Silver colors

  • Golden colors

  • Tabby colors

  • Tipped colors (smoke, shaded, shell)

  • Colors with white – bi-colors, tri-colors (calico), mitted, harlequin, van

Let’s look at every group in detail.

 

=Solid Colors=

Every color is beautiful in its own way. You can’t say that this color is more beautiful than the other. Solid colors are monochrome, the color is distributed equally throughout the whole body, without any spots, stripes, patterns or white hairs, every piece of hair should be colored from the very root to the very tip. The look and feel of the coat are plush, thick and soft. The classic solid colors are blue and lilac. Black, chocolate and cream colors are rarer. Also, it is not easy to find cats of red color. The rarest and genetically more interesting solid colors are cinnamon and fawn ( at first glimpse these colors look a lot like chocolate and lilac and only expert can see the difference, in some cases only by taking genetic test).   

 

Blue Color

It is classic and most common color of British cats. Most likely a cat of such color comes to mind when you think of British cat. Sometimes people call them grey British cat, British cat of grey color – technically it is a grey color but the right definition is blue. The coat of this color should be solid (monochrome), while the undercoat may be slightly lighter than the main color, but whitish hairs are not acceptable. Brighter blue color if more valuable. It is allowed for kittens to have some stripes, which disappear over time. The color of the iris of British kittens is gray or blue, but with aging it turns into saturated amber. The eye color of blue British cats can be copper, bright golden, amber (orange). The paw pads as well as the tip of the nose should be only blue.

Lilac color

Lilac British cat. It is another very common and popular color. Lilac is a combination of gray, pink and blue colors and it looks like clarified chocolate. The nose of the animal as well as the paw pads, correspond to the tone of the coat. Eyes are orange-copper colors. Lilac color is present in different variations: from cold lavender, to warm pink-gray. The undercoat of cats of a given color can be slightly lighter in color than the outer coat, but standout contrast is not acceptable. Very often kittens often have a residual pattern (moire), which disappears with age. The look of coat of a lilac British cat resembles a blue mink coat, the color of which is mixed with a little bit of pink paint.
The nose, the paw pads and the eye contours have pink mauve shade, which becomes darker over time.

 

Black Color

This is a rare color. It is difficult to breed and many breeders call it "whimsical." It happens very often that a kitten born black changes its coat color to chocolate with age. Pigmentation of coat, undercoat and skin is saturated. The color of the undercoat and main coat should not differ. It is believed that the fewer light-colored ancestors in the pedigree, the richer and blacker the color will be. The coat often feels rougher than the coat of classic blues. The paw pads and the tip of nose are black. The eyes are copper, orange or golden color.

White color

The white coat of such cats should be clear, without yellowness or smoky tones, without stripes or spots. The paw pads and tip of nose should be pink. There are eye color variations – eyes can be light or dark blue, yellow or orange, or of different colors. Interesting fact that the name “white” is actually not the name of color but its absence that is why in the category of solid colors white color is always put separately. It is very difficult to breed this color and there is a high risk of breeding cats with health issues. For example, very often white colored kittens with blue eyes are born deaf because the gene of this color is linked with genes of hearing. And it is highly possible that white colored cats with eyes of different colors will be deaf in one ear. It is not allowed to mate two cats of solid white colors because of a high probability of the appearance of offspring with deafness.

Red (red, gold) color

The red color of the British cats was introduced from Persian cats and other exotic breeds of cats with red color of coat. Very often these cats have tabby marks on their foreheads and paws. The eyes of red British cats are rich orange color or copper. The color of their nose and paw pads is red, brick color. A significant disadvantage of British cats of red color is the uneven color distribution, so very often the tip of cat’s tail has lighter coloring. It is extremely difficult to find a British cat of a very solid and even red color. That is why some small tabby pattern is allowed by standards.

Cream color

This color is a diluted red color, which happens when dilute white gene is present. This shade of coat belongs to the oldest types of solid colors, however recently it has become quite rare in breeding. Cream colored British cats should have a clear and soft (pastel) shade, intense color, and color i.e. "Hot" cream is considered a flaw. In kittens tabby pattern is seen and residual tabby marks are allowed for adult cats. The nose and paw pads are pink. The eye color can be orange, golden or copper. The feel and quality of coat of cream colored British cats is the same as classic blue and lilac.

Chocolate color

This color should be rich and deep, the darker the color the better. This color is also called havana color or chestnut.

In these latter days breeders as a result of very strict selection process have achieved very high quality of coat in cats of this color, which is equal to quality in classic blue British cats. The fur of cream cats looks like mouton fur. White hairs or hairs of other colors are not acceptable. By standards all the shades of chocolate color are accepted – from light milk chocolate to dark chocolate. The eyes can be either dark orange or copper, saturated colors are valued more. The tip of nose as well as paw pads should have the same color as the color of the coat – chocolate or chestnut. The process of full color formation takes a long time 1-1,5 years.

Cinnamon color

It is pretty rare and highly valued color. The color is very similar to diluted chocolate but it is a very warm and soft chocolate which has copper or bronze undertone. The kittens of this color are born very rarely because the color coat gene is recessive. The eyes are orange or copper. Cinnamon colored cats ALWAYS have pink colored tip of nose and paws pads, if they are light brown or have milk chocolate color this is not a cinnamon colored cat.

Fawn color

Fawn is another extremely rare and exotic color which is so desirable and highly valued amog breeders. It is even more diluted cinnamon color, looks like burnt cinnamon. It is very beautiful, soft, elegant color. The tip of nose and paw pads should be pink.

Officially as an independent color it was recognized only in 2006.The color is very interesting for breeders because of the possibility of deriving even more diluted colors. Fawn kittens can be born only if both parents are carriers of fawn color gene. Only DNA tests confirm if a cat is a carrier of fawn color gene. Species with similar but not confirmed color are referred to as blue, cream, or rejected.

=Tortie Colors=

Tortoiseshell color is the combination of spots of solid color which leave a mosaic pattern on the cat's hair in various combinations. Intense solid colors like black, chocolate and cinnamon, combine with red, on the other hand diluted lighter colors - lilac, fawn and blue - with cream. This type of coat coloring is possible only in cats.

Tortie color takes its time