A mostly-white black cat

Many times before I have mentioned the distinct coloration of black tabby cats.  Kako was the first such feline I had ever seen.  Before her, I never knew such a thing existed.  Then I discovered two neighborhood cats, Clance and Henko, who, like Kako, are black tabbies.

The most ingenious aesthetic trait of these cats lies in their fur’s color scheme.  Although generally black or very dark in appearance, their hairs are mostly white.  In fact, I’d say at least two-thirds of each strand is white and only the outer third is black.  Despite the discontinuity in proportions, the cats display a dark appearance with their stripes almost hidden except when viewed at just the right angle in just the right light.

I was looking for one or more photos of Kako to post today when I came across a few of them that captured in presentable detail the true nature of her coat.  First, look at this close-up.

A close-up of Kako's fur showing it's mostly white with black tips (fur)

That’s her neck as she stands next to the patio doors.  As you can see, only the tips of the hairs are black.  Most of the fur is actually white.  Now, look at the whole picture from which that was taken.

Kako sitting at the patio door grabbing some sunshine (160_6053)

This trait reveals itself most prominently when she lies on her back and shows her belly.  You can see examples of that here, here, here, and here.  (There are other examples, but I think that’s sufficient to confirm my point.)

And yet, despite her fur being almost entirely white, she remains a black tabby: dark overall and seen by all but the most careful of observers as a basic black cat.

Kako lying on the floor holding on to my leg (160_6083)

Albeit a mighty fine, petite, ear-freckled, in-your-face black cat.

Kako sitting at the patio door grabbing some sunshine (160_6061)

Her general whiteness is never more apparent than when I brush her.  What the grooming tool captures always presents like the color of light ash, a gray so close to white as to be near indistinguishable.  It is then her hirsute dichotomy becomes evident to all.

8 thoughts on “A mostly-white black cat”

  1. Thanks for visiting, Teri, and thanks for sharing that link!

    The article is quite interesting. It does explain Kako’s colors (the inhibited pigment gene), but I also like that it explains a great deal of how the various colors and patterns come to be. Some of it I knew (e.g. an all white cat with blue eyes is likely to be deaf), yet most of it is new to me.

    And I’m with you: I find it rather interesting. Perhaps it’s that I like to have a better understanding of my own kids.

  2. I have a cat like that!! I think it’s called smoketip? What kind of cat is it? Mine has the same coloring and she is an exotic shorthair.

  3. My cat has the same coloring! Very unique. Took a picture of her yesterday that makes her look like a skunk because the hair was parted down the middle of her back and tail and there was so much white showing. Does this coloring have a name?

  4. My cat has the same coloring. I find that she’s more plush than
    other short-haired kitties who are all black; she’s got a fluffier
    look and her fur is in between really soft and silky; just a really
    fine plush feel. I’ve known all black cats to have sleeker fur than
    hers. The closest that I can come to finding a description for the
    fur coloring is “Black smoke.” Her mom was a Calico, and I’m guess
    that her father was a kind of Russian Blue. When my cat was a
    kitten, she was clearly a black/white tabby. She was really cute
    too. She then became this beautiful black cat with white under-fur,
    who also has black freckles on her ears and in the roof of her
    mouth. Also, her eyes change to light green when she’s content and
    then a rich gold when she’s energetically happy. And, she is a
    talker who has sweet quick meows to lower pitched barks. Love my
    kitty…btw, Kako is pretty. She looks like my cat’s twin.

  5. My 14 year-old, Tulip, has the same unusual coat as Kako. She is
    apparently black, but on examination, her hair is about 7/8ths
    white with balck tips. She has black-on-lighter black stripes on
    her upper front legs. However, she also has a white “shirt-front”
    and tummy, white back legs and white front paws. Her hair is a
    little longer and finer than the usual short-hair. The shaping of
    her face is the image of Kako. . When I adopted Tulip as a rescue
    kitten, I noticed that one of the males in the litter was very much
    the colour of a Russian Blue. At the age of 18 months, Tulip
    suffered an injury that left her brain-damaged – in fact, she
    suffered a stroke, but she recovered to the point that she has
    lived a relatively normal and active cat life. Her balance does not
    allow her to groom herself “efficiently” on the left side, but,
    together, she and I have managed to keep her looking fine up to
    this point. Grooming/brushing is becoming a bit problematic now, as
    the slightly longer, fine hair becomes easily matted and leaves her
    with clumps on the left side of her “rump” area. As long as we
    don’t miss a day’s brushing, we seem to be able to keep it
    reasonably comfortable, but Tulip is past the age of hiding her
    feelings and her patience is often challenged! The hair that is
    shed during grooming is almost white – the palest grey. I’d have to
    say that I have never seen another cat with her colouring. I am
    writing from Australia, so I guess this is an international
    phenomenon! Thanks for this post and for sharing your lovely
    photos.

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