What Color Will My Kittens Be?

PLEASE NOTE: These genetics articles  were written by Mindy Ferreira, and are the sole property of the author including the tables that were developed.

To make this easier to remember, you must first understand a little bit about the basic principles of genetics.

All living things are made up of cells, inside each cell there are chromosomes, long strands of genetic material. These chromosomes are arranged in pairs: 19 pairs in a cat, 38 chromosomes. The chromosomes, under a microscope, have many many light and dark bands. These light and dark bands are the genes. Each gene is the code for a single feature or group of features, and each gene has a corresponding gene on the other half of its pair.

There are two basic types of behavior with the genes we are looking at: Dominant or Recessive.

A dominant trait will be displayed no matter what the other half of the pair contains. It requires only one gene, on one chromosome.

A recessive trait will be displayed only if BOTH halves of the chromosome pair contain this same gene. The cat needs two copies of this gene, one on each chromosome.

Many of the genes in the cat are indicated by a symbol, using letters of the alphabet. The capital letters are the dominant form of that gene, the lower case letters are the recessive form. The two genes we are looking at in the color prediction table below are:

B=Black  b=chocolate
D=Dense d=dilute

Some of the traits for color are well documented and understood, some of them are less documented and theory is still the basis for most of the conclusions. Since cats are living things, this is the mathematical predication of what should be produced by these colors... and cats (like Mother Nature) don't necessarily follow math <<GG>>

I want to thank Isabelle Bellavance for creating the original color prediction charts, which were used to model some of the tables on the following pages:

  • Basic Genetics

For those who would rather not try to remember everything, there is a color prediction software program available free for download:

Feline Genetics Primer and FREE Feline Genetics Software 
Free program for predicting phenotypes of cats based on known genotypes, and calculating mating predictions. 
From the makers of Breeders Assistant Pedigree Software


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Copyright December 14, 2002 through present... All rights reserved by the authors.