Thursday, September 1, 2016

Meet our September Cat of the Month: Marley!


 Age: 16 months
Breed: Snowshoe 
Gender: Neutered Male 
Demeanor at the vet: Sweet, maybe a little timid
Last checkup - August 27th: Healthy young adult cat!

Marley is a very energetic, very friendly & snuggly cat! He loves playing & wrestling with his sister Maggy, a small Mountain Tree Feist dog. 

He also loves to play fetch with his toys, and plays with the water in his water fountain. 

Here is a photo of Marley as a 6 month old kitten. So cute!

Notice how his coat has darkened over time. It is very common for cats with colorpoint coats like Siamese, Ragdolls, Himalayans and Snowshoes to experience coat color changes due to changes in their body temperature and the temperature of the environment. The gene that helps create colorpoint coats is a gene that controls temperature-dependent albinism. The cooler the body temperature on average, the darker the coat color, because the albino gene is only turned on by warm temperatures. When the temperature reaches a certain level, the albino gene turns on, which turns OFF the color genes. Ears, face, tail and limbs are cooler than the trunk of the body, so that is where the color genes are allowed to be expressed.

Cats of these breeds that run fevers while they are ill may develop a ticked or spotty mask because the facial hairs that grow in during the fever will be whitish in color in contrast to the darker hairs that grew while the cat was not running a fever. Additionally, these breeds may develop very dark patches over the kidneys as they age, as the kidneys have many blood vessels that circulate while they are healthy. As the cat ages and blood flow in the kidneys may not be as strong, the areas over the kidneys can become darker-furred. Colorpoint breeds that live in northern climes where the winters are colder will develop darker coats than cats of the same breed that live in the south. These cats may even become darker and lighter with the seasons, if they have access to the outdoors.

If you are interested in genetics, read on for further information on the case of the color changing cats:

Messybeast: Colorpoint and Masked Cats

Siamese Cats are Walking Heat Maps

Siamese Cat Genetics

Wikipedia Article on Point Coloration in Various Species

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