A bicolor cat has white fur combined with fur of some other color, for example black or tabby. There are various patterns of bicolor cat. These range from Van pattern (color on the crown of the head and the tail only) through to solid color with a throat locket. The tuxedo pattern is one of many possible bicolor patterns.
Where there is low-to-medium grade white spotting limited to the face, paws, throat and chest of an otherwise black cat, they are known in the United States as a tuxedo cat or Billicat.
High grade bicolor results in Van-pattern cats. There are many patterns between, such as "cap-and-saddle", "mask-and-mantle" and "magpie" (more randomly splashed).
|Mask and mantle bicolor |
|Cow pattern bicolor cat |
|Van pattern bicolor cat|
|The colorpoint pattern bicolor cat darkens with age.|
Bicolors are found in many breeds, as well as being common in domestic longhair cats and domestic shorthair cats.
Solid color bicolor cats occur because there is a white spotting gene present along with a recessive allele of the agouti gene, which evens out the usual striped pattern of the colors of the coat. In contrast, tabby cats have an agouti gene that produces striping of the coat. The Abyssinian has agouti (ticked tabby) fur, giving the appearance of even color with color-banded hairs.
White spotting can also occur with any of the tabby patterns, resulting in tabby-and-white bicolors. Colorpoint cats (Himalayan pattern) can have bicolor points, although this variation is not recognized for showing. The body markings of bicolor colorpoints become clearer with age, as the body fur of colorpoint cats darkens as the cats grow older and the white patches become more visible.
This coloration is not restricted to a specific breed of cat, but can be found in many different types of pure-breed as well as mixed-breed domestic cats.
However, some breeds of cats are especially noted for having bicolor coats in their breed standards. These include the Turkish Van, American Shorthair, Manx, British Shorthair, Turkish Angora, and Bombay.
Other common breeds of cat have specific coat patterns specified right in their breed standards. These cats are never seen in the bicolor pattern. One such cat breed with a specific coat pattern requirement is the Russian Blue, which always has a coat of one solid color.
In 1987 cats overtook dogs as the number one pet in America.