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Fur Patterns

I have compiled a list of possible fur patterns that may occur in cats, pictures included. Use this page in conjunction with the Fur Colors page (which you should probably read first) to help you create realistic cats for your fanfiction and roleplaying purposes. :)

Tabby Patterns

Tabby is not a breed of cat; rather, it is just a coat pattern. Every tabby cat has thin lines on the face, black rings around the eyes and pale fur around those rings, a distinctive "M" shape on the forehead, pigmented lips and paws, pink nose leather outlined in a darker color, and stripes around the torso, legs, and tail.

Classic Tabby

[Classic Tabby]
Classic tabbies, sometimes known as blotched or swirled tabbies, have whorls all over their body. They tend to have "butterfly wings" on their backs and bullseye patterns on their sides. It is the most recessive tabby pattern, therefore the rarest.

Mackerel Tabby

[Mackerel Tabby]
Mackerel tabbies have narrow, parallel stripes down their sides.

Ticked Tabby

[Heterozygous Ticked Tabby] | [Homozygous Ticked Tabby]
Ticked tabbies, sometimes known as agouti tabbies, have no stripes, but instead, "ticked" hairs all over the body. This just means that on each individual hair, there are alternating bands of light and dark color. Ticked tabbies do not have the torso stripes that all other tabbies do. Heterozygous ticked tabbies have the bands on the legs and tail; however, homozygous ones do not.

Spotted Tabby

[Classic Spotted Tabby] | [Mackerel Spotted Tabby]
Spotted tabbies are rather elusive and mysterious. There is no scientific conclusion yet as to whether they are a "standalone" gene from the other three tabby patterns, or if they are simply a mackerel or classic tabby with the stripes broken into spots. There is evidence to support both sides. The first picture shows a spotted tabby that looks like a classic pattern that has been broken up; you can tell by the circular "bullseye" pattern the spots form on the sides. The second picture shows a spotted tabby that appears as if the mackerel pattern has been broken up; the spots run parallel to each other in straight, even lines.

Solid Cats

Solid cats are all one color. See the Fur Colors section for pictures. For the most part, solid colored cats occur due to a tabby-supressing recessive gene. Oftentimes, the tabby pattern is not completely supressed. This means you may be able to see "ghost" tabby markings on a solid cat, if the lighting is good enough. This happens even on black cats.

Tortoiseshell Cats

[Tortoiseshell] | [Tortoiseshell and White] | [Tortoiseshell and White] | [Calico Cat] | [Dilute Tortoiseshell] | [Dilute Tortoiseshell and White] | [Lilac Tortoiseshell] | [Chocolate Tortoiseshell] | [Chocolate Tortoiseshell and White] | [Brown Torbie] | [Brown Torbie] | [Brown Torbie] | [Silver Torbie] | [Silver Torbie] | [Silver Torbie] | [Silver Torbie and White] | [Chocolate Torbie and White]
Tortoiseshell cats, sometimes shortened to torties, are cats whose coat consists of a red color and a black, chocolate, or cinnamon color. They can also occur in a dilute form, where their coloring is cream and either blue, lilac, or fawn. A "torbie," sometimes called a "patched tabby," is a combination of the words "tortie" and "tabby." It is a cat with tabby colors instead of solid colors. Remember, since red always comes in tabby form, you must look to the other color to see if it is tabby or solid to determine whether the cat is a tortie or a torbie. A calico cat is a mostly-white cat with some tortoiseshell splotches. It is best to read the Fur Colors page first so as to lessen any confusion regarding colors.

Tortoiseshell cats in all their forms are almost always female; in fact, only 1 in every 3000 tortoiseshell cats is male. This is because the gene that determines whether a cat will have orange fur or not (let's call this gene O) is carried on the X chromosome. Males only have one X chromosome (XY), so will either have an O gene (orange fur) or o gene (non-orange fur). Females, however, have two X chromosomes (XX). This gives them more possibilities: OO (orange fur), oo (non-orange fur), or Oo (mixed orange and non-orange fur, aka tortoiseshell). This means that if a male cat is tortoiseshell, it will have two X chromosomes (XXY). Therefore, it will almost always be infertile. Female cats are more likely to be multicolored because of their two X chromosomes.

Silver Cats

Silver cats are cats with a white undercoat but a colored overcoat. There are two categories: tabby and shaded. Shaded is the solid version of a silver tabby. There can, of course, be shaded tortoiseshell cats as well. Red silver cats are sometimes called "cameos."

Silver Tabby

[Silver Tabby {classic}] | [Silver Tabby {mackerel}] | [Silver Tabby {spotted}] | [Blue Silver Tabby {mackerel}] | [Blue Silver Tabby {mackerel}] | [Brown Silver Tabby {mackerel}] | [Chocolate Silver Tabby {classic}] | [Cinnamon Silver Tabby {classic}] | [Fawn Silver Tabby {ticked}] | [Lilac Silver Tabby {mackerel}] | [Red Silver Tabby {classic}] | [Red Silver Tabby {mackerel}] | [Red Silver Tabby {mackerel}]
There are two kinds of silver tabbies. One is just called a "silver tabby." This kind of cat has a white undercoat with a very dark, almost black tabby pattern on top. However, there can also be any color other than black for the tabby pattern. These ones are given specific names, like red silver tabby, chocolate silver tabby, or fawn silver tabby. Sometimes, one may confuse a basic blue tabby for a silver tabby. The difference between the two is that a blue tabby has a pale grey undercoat and a dark grey tabby pattern. A silver tabby has an almost-white undercoat with a very dark pattern. A blue silver tabby has a white undercoat with a bluish pattern.

Shaded Cats

[Black Chinchilla] | [Black Chinchilla] | [Cinnamon Chinchilla] | [Lilac Chinchilla] | [Red Chinchilla] | [Black Shaded] | [Black Shaded] | [Lilac Shaded] | [Tortoiseshell Shaded] | [Tortoiseshell Shaded] | [Dilute Torbie Shaded] | [Black Smoke] | [Blue Smoke] | [Chocolate Smoke] | [Torbie Smoke] | [Tortoiseshell Smoke]
Shaded cats appear to be the solid versions of silver tabbies; they all have a white undercoat with a colored overcoat. However, they are actually still considered tabbies, as they come in the red variety. (Remember, red cats can never come in a solid pattern. They are always tabby.) There are actually three types of shaded cats. Smoke cats have an overcoat with a lot of color; so much, in fact, that you might not realize it even has a white undercoat until movement causes the fur to part. Chinchilla cats are the opposite of smoke cats. The color only appears on the very tips of the hair. They look completely white until you look at the cat up close and see that it is actually tipped with color. Shaded cats are the third type of shaded cats... confusing, am I right? They are the medium between smoke and chinchilla. You can clearly see both the white undercoat and the colored overcoat.

Pointed Cats

[Blue Point] | [Chocolate Point] | [Cream Point] | [Cream Point] | [Lilac Point] | [Red Point] | [Seal Point] | [Lilac Lynx Point] | [Silver Lynx Point] | [Silver Lynx Point] | [Torbie Point] | [Tortie Point]
Pointed cats are cats where the "points" of the body, which are the face, feet, and tail, are darker than the rest of the body. Pointed cats may also have tabby points; these are called "lynx point" cats. Cats with black points are "seal point" cats. Finally, cats may have tortoiseshell points. Pointed cats always have blue eyes.

White Coloring Patterns

[Bicolor] | [Buttons] | [Cap and Saddle] | [Harlequin] | [Locket] | [Mask and Mantle] | [Mittens] | [Tuxedo] | [Red Van] | [Silver Van]
Cats with patches of white on them often have specific patterns to those patches. First and foremost, cats will usually have white on the lower half of them and color on the top. Examples of white patterns include a "bi-color" cat, which is about half white, half another color. Cats with white spots on their bellies are said to have "buttons." If a cat has a splotch of color on its head and another splotch on its lower back and tail, then it has a "cap and saddle" pattern. "Harlequin" cats, sometimes called "cow" or "magpie" cats, are mostly white with large splotches of color. Calico cats fall into that category. A cat with a white spot on its chest has a "locket." If a cat has a splotch of color that stretches from its head down its back to its tail, it has a "mask and mantle" pattern. A cat with white paws is "mitted" or mittened. The term "tuxedo cat" refers to a black cat with a white chest, neck, paws, and belly. Cats with a "van" pattern are mostly white with color only on their head and tail. It may have white on its face.

Fur Length

[Short] | [Long] | [Plush]
Cats can have three different lengths of fur: long, short, and plush. Long-haired cats have thick undercoats with very long overcoats. Short-haired cats also have thick undercoats, but their overcoats consist of shorter hairs and lay flat against the body. Plush-coated cats have thinner undercoats with softer, finer, fluffier overcoats. The overcoats stand out from the body, making the cat look fluffy.

Works Cited

All the images I found, I got from Google. They are not mine and I don't claim that they are. Genetics and other fur pattern information were found at the following sites: