Differences in Domestic Cats Body Type
Perhaps the most easily identifiable differences among the various breeds of domestic cats are in the length and color of the coat and in the variations of eye color. The majority of cats that are not purebred have short hair. Those with long hair have acquired it as the result of the crossbreeding of their ancestors with purebred long-haired cats. The body form of no purebreds varies from slender, rangy types with somewhat elongated heads to stocky, thickset animals with short heads that are somewhat like those of the Persian cats. These differences in body type are most pronounced among the various pure breeds, ranging from slender Siamese to stocky longhairs.
Among the cats that are not purebreds, the brown striped and blotched cats most closely resemble their wild African and European ancestors. This striped and blotched pattern properly called tabby, but popularly known as a tiger—occurs in various shades. Among these are red (orange), cream, blue, (gray), brown, silver, and smoke. Solid white is the rarest, although genetically it is dominant over other colors. Solid black and solid blue are relatively rare. Almost without exception, the solid blacks have a few white hairs under the throat and shoulder. The solid colors occasionally show faint striping on the legs and tail. Many cats have white markings. Borne of these are handsomely symmetrical, but others are distributed irregularly and sometimes create a quaint or even comical effect.
Black and orange cats are called tortoiseshell. Blue-creams are a “diluted” version of black and orange. When white markings are also present, the eats are said to be tricolors, calicoes, or “money cats.” The black-orange (or blue-cream) color-determining genes are linked to the female sex chromosomes. For this reason, tortoiseshell males and tricolor males are produced only as of the result of abnormal chromosome arrangements that occurred in one or both parents. Such abnormal arrangements often lead to infertility, and the males may not be able to reproduce. In other words, tortoiseshells and tricolors of breed standards are very difficult to produce by controlled breeding.