Published in 'Our Cats' - May 9th, 2002.

Re-printed in Oriental Cat Association Yearbook, 2002

Revised & re-printed in Oriental Shaded,Smoke & Tabby Society Yearbook, 2005


The Red Series of Orientals

John S Harrison

(NB ....... more pictures still to be added!)

When my Mother, Betty Harrison, had British Blues I tried many times to persuade her to mate a queen out to a British Cream, but of course she wouldn't! In the 1960's however she joined forces with Angela Sayer of the 'Solitaire' Cattery in a breeding programme to create the 'Foreign Lavender' - the modern day Oriental Lilac - and much to my delight cream and tortie kittens arrived! Amongst the assortment of Siamese, Chestnut Brown Foreign, and other full colour cats used as the foundation, were two torties - Blue Zarqún a blue-cream, and Solitaire Pagan a black-tortie, both were bred from Siamese and 'coloured cats' and were of decidedly 'Foreign' type which we would today call 'Oriental'

At the 1969 Coventry and Leicester Cat Club Show, to my eternal shame, 'Pagan' escaped from my arms leaving me dripping with blood and the unforgettable memory of her streaking across Granby Halls (do they still exist?) in Leicester. She roamed free for three weeks before she was finally caught by the Caretaker and his Alsatian, and sent home to Anglesey by train seemingly none the worse for wear.

My Mother let me keep one of Zarqún's sons; Solitaire Satsuma, Breed 26 'Foreign Apricot'; and Harislau Ginganut a chocolate tortie daughter of Pagan. We subsequently kept one of Ginganut's daughters, Harislau Ginnymini. These two chocolate torties were registered as Breed 26, AOV Shorthair under the description 'Chocolate/Cream'. They had most unusual brindled coats totally unlike anything either Mum or I had seen before. Ginnimini eventually produced a really dense beautifully mingled Chocolate Tortie who was registered as Harislau Chocolate Minotta. The 'brindled' cats were neutered and I carried on with 'Minotta' the proper tortie! Some years later we realised, all too late, that these 'brindled torties' were infact TORTIE TICKED TABBY! The irony is that Mum had Red Abyssinian at the time - a variety we now call Sorrel and not Red! Had the sex-linked Red Abyssinian existed we would probably have seen a tortie and would have known what these 'brindled' torties were!

The Creams we bred were registered as 'Apricot' simply because they approached that colour and did not resemble the colour of Cream British or Persians. We registered Chocolate Torties and Lilac Torties as "Chocolate/Cream" and "Lilac/Cream" following the Blue/Cream pattern leaving the term Tortie solely to the Blacks. Many of the tabby kittens were registered as 'Egyptian' or 'Mau'; and even worse, kittens with no British cats in their pedigrees were registered as British! A lilac tortie kitten bred by my mother was registered as Breed No 26 Any Other Variety, on the registration certificate the breed name is SIAMESES !!!! It must be remembered that the list of recognised breeds at this time was very small, and the number of colours very restricted .... we were "at the cutting edge"! The Cat Fancy was I suppose rather amateurish when compared to today, but it is possible that maybe, just maybe, not all the advances have been for the better.

By the early 1970s I had became close friends with Miss Patricia Turner and the late Roy Robinson. Frequent indeed were the train journeys from Holyhead to London on the 'Irish Mail' or the 'Emerald Isle' and then onwards to Eastbourne, Uckfield, or Milton Keynes usually to return with yet another Christmas or Birthday present! My visits to Pat and her husband, John Mais, were frequent and I soon had a phantasmagoria of coloured cats! My Mother & I were going down slightly different 'colour' paths, objections were voiced, and so I registered my own prefix and Minotta was transferred to my name. She was joined by various cats including Scintilla Crown Imperial a Red Smoke male; Scintilla Sugar Icing a Blue Tortie Silver Shaded female; and Samonola Honeysuckle a Red Smoke. I had Samonola Honeysuckle at very short notice when her owner, Mrs Sylvia Scott, had domestic difficulties. 'Pinkie', a mature queen, was heavily in kitten when I collected her from our mutual friend Pat Turner and within days produced a litter of Cream and Cream Smoke kittens. I kept Plainsong Polly Primrose a Cream female and her Cream Smoke brother Plainsong White Gold. 'Polly' lived to a ripe old age and with my beloved Foreign White, Ch Scintilla Jou-Lin, was my constant companion for almost twenty years.

There have been other odd cats along the way ….. 'Aimee' & 'Iffy' two Black Tortie Smoke Cornish Rex .… and the Blue Cream Persian my Parents refused to keep for me when I went to college - she returned to her breeder! In fairness to my long suffering Mum & Dad they did keep quite a bit of livestock for me …… apart from my Shorthair cats there was one German Shepherd Dog, one Golden Retriever, three Red and two Blue & Tan Australian Terriers, fifty or so red and yellow Fancy Pigeons, a sizeable flock of Bantams …. oh yes and one or two hives of 'Golden Italian' bees! I'm told that as a child my favourite 'Teddy' was golden coloured - does my love of the colour really go back so far?!

Today, in 2002, you will still find 3 Reds, 2 Apricots and 5 Torties with or without silver in my home plus of course the odd 'token' non-red! In the last thirty odd years I have bred reds, creams, apricots and the tortoiseshells in virtually every pattern and variation recognised in the Oriental.

What is 'the Red series'?
In the Oriental the Red Series comprises Red, Cream, Apricot, Black Tortie, Blue Tortie, Chocolate Tortie, Cinnamon Tortie, Lilac Tortie, Fawn Tortie, & Caramel Tortie. In various other breeds the Silvers would be referred to as Cameos, Shell Cameos and Particolours. The GCCF recognises 120 variations of the Oriental in the Red Series: in non-agouti (Self/Torties and Smoke), and in Agouti (the Tabbies and Shaded) with or without Silver. The various breed numbers are detailed below:


Red Series Oriental Shorthair G.C.C.F. Breed Numbers
Non Agouti Agouti
Self
Tortie
Smoke Ticked Tabby Spotted Tabby Mackerel Tabby Classic Tabby Shaded
  Silver   Silver   Silver   Silver   Silver   Silver
Red 37d 42d 45d 45ds 38d 38ds 44d 44ds 41d 41ds 43d 43ds
Cream 37f 42f 45f 45fs 38f 38fs 44f 44fs 41f 41fs 43f 43fs
Apricot 37fn 42fn 45fn 45fns 38fn 38fns 44fn 44fns 41fn 41fns 43fn 43fns
Black Tortie 37e 42e 45e 45es 38e 38es 44e 44es 41e 41es 43e 43es
Blue Tortie 37g 42g 45g 45gs 38g 38gs 44g 44gs 41g 41gs 43g 43gs
Chocolate Tortie 37h 42h 45h 45hs 38h 38hs 44h 44hs 41h 41hs 43h 43hs
Lilac Tortie 37j 42j 45j 45js 38j 38js 44j 44js 41j 41js 43j 43js
Cinnamon Tortie 37m 42m 45m 45ms 38m 38ms 44m 44ms 41m 41ms 43m 43ms
Caramel Tortie 37p 42p 45p 45ps 48p 38ps 44p 44ps 41p 41ps 43p 43ps
Fawn Tortie 37y 42y 45y 45ys 38y 38ys 44y 44ys 41y 41ys 43y 43ys

The Genetics of Red
The mode of inheritance of red colouring in the cat is highly unusual in that it is 'sex-linked'. The 'red' colour is carried on a sex chromosome and results not only in the mosaic pattern of the tortoiseshell, but also the specific relationship between gender and colour. The domestic cat has 18 pairs of chromosomes where each of the pair is identical to the other, and an additional pair, which can differ greatly in size, these are the sex chromosomes and are known as the X and Y chromosomes. In the female both of the chromosomes are of equal size, and are both X giving a genotype XX, the male however is of genotype XY, with the Y or 'male' chromosome which can only be present in the male animal being much smaller than the X chromosome. Each egg produced by a female will contain an X chromosome, whilst the sperms produced by a male will contain either the X or the Y chromosome in equal numbers.


X
Sperm


Y
Sperm


X
Egg


XX
Female

XY
Male

X
Egg


XX
Female

XY
Male


The gene responsible for red ('orange') colouring is carried on the X chromosome and is symbolised 'O' for 'Orange'. A male cat can therefore only have one gene for red colouring, and is therefore either 'O' or 'o'; whereas the female will have two genes and therefore have genotype OO, Oo or oo. Cats of genotype 'O' and 'OO' will be Red, Cream or Apricot in colour dependant on their remaining genotype. Cats of 'o' and 'oo' will not be in possession of any red colouring. Those cats of genotype 'Oo' are the tortoiseshells, or torties, which are a mixture of both red and non-red colouring and again the exact colouring will be determined by the remainder of their genotype.

The following basic charts show the resultant offspring from the four basic matings between red, tortie and non-red cats. Matings between two reds will produce 100% red kittens (including cream & apricot).


1. Red male and a Non-Red female :-

Red Male

X
O


Y

Non
Red

Female

X
o

Oo
Tortoiseshell
Female
oY
Non-Red
Male

X
o

Oo
Tortoiseshell
Female
oY
Non-Red
Male


2. Red male to a Tortie female:-

Red Male

X
O


Y

Tortie
Female

X
O

OO
Red
Female
OY
Red
Male

X
o

Oo
Tortoiseshell
Female
oY
Non-Red
Male


3. Non-Red male to a Tortie female:-

Non-Red Male

X
o


Y

Tortie
Female

X
O

Oo
Tortoiseshell
Female
OY
Red
Male

X
o

oo
Non-Red
Female
oY
Non-Red
Male


4. Non-Red male to a Red female:-

Non-Red Male

X
o


Y


Red

Female

X
O

Oo
Tortoiseshell
Female
OY
Red
Male

X
O

Oo
Tortoiseshell
Female
OY
Red
Male


For most of us it is not always necessary to understand exactly why certain things happen, we simply accept that they do! The following simple chart shows the offspring from any mating between non-red, red and tortoiseshell cats - the specific colour of the non-reds, torties and reds (ie black; chocolate tortie; cream etc) will of course depend upon the remainder of their genotypes.


PARENTS

PROGENY

Sire


Dam


Male Kittens


Female Kittens

Non-Red Non-Red Non-Red Non-Red
Non-Red Tortie Red
Non-Red
Tortie
Non-Red
Non-Red Red Red Tortie
Red Non-Red Non-Red Tortie
Red Tortie Red
Non-Red
Red
Tortie
Red Red Red Red


We must return to technical detail once more if we are to understand a further peculiarity of the red series cats, and consider the 'masking' effect of some genes - which is totally different to some genes being 'dominant' and others 'recessive'. The masking effect of a gene is called epistatis. In the cat the two most obvious are probably the non-agouti gene (aa) which completely masks or hides the tabby pattern, and the Dominant White (W_) which totally masks all other colours.

The 'O' gene which affects the production of pigmentation in the cat's hair converts the normally black pigmentation to 'orange' pigmentation completely masks the effects of the agouti and non-agouti genes. The result is that it is impossible to differentiate VISUALLY between a Red Self and a Red Tabby cat - they are identical and both appear to be RED TABBY! Equally so in the non-agouti Tortie (aa Oo) there are frequently clear tabby markings in the red areas despite the fact that it is not a Tabby (A_ Oo).

Red, Cream and Apricot.
Cats of genotype O will be males and those of genotype OO will be females, not all of them will be Red, some will be Cream or Apricot. Because the 'O' gene is carried on a separate chromosome to other colours one can regard the Red, Cream and Apricot cats as being Black, Blue, or Caramel for example with the 'base' colour hidden by the 'O' gene. The visual colour is determined by the 'base' colour of the cat in accordance with the following chart:-



Genotype

Base Colour

Visual Colour
B_ D_ O Black Red
bb D_ O Chocolate Red
blbl D_ O Cinnamon / Light Brown Red
B_ dd O Blue Cream
bb dd O Lilac Cream
blbl dd O Fawn Cream
B_ dd Dm_ O Caramel (Blue Based) Apricot
bb dd Dm_ O Caramel (Lilac Based) / Taupe Apricot
blbl dd Dm_ O Caramel (Fawn Based Apricot


In reality it is visually impossible to differentiate between the three types of red. I have always felt that black based reds are a deeper richer colour than chocolate-based reds, which seem to be a little hotter! This could be just one of my eccentricities for there is certainly no logic to substantiate it! Indeed in the feral population red cats will almost certainly be black based, and they are usually ginger not red!

With patience and care it is often possible to find the odd (and I mean odd) coloured hair on a red cat (with my cats this has usually been in the tail) and ascertain the base colour by that method - but of course the only guaranteed proof is from breeding results! The other clear guide to the base colour is the presence in some cats of freckles. I have a red female who has a black hair in her tail, her mother was a chocolate based red and her father who is red also has the odd black hair in his tail and very definite black freckles on his nose leather - his sire a black ….. I know that a Black Tortie Silver will pop up in the fullness of time!

'Freckles' are another oddity of red cats. Freckles are of course spots of pigmentation of the basic colour of the cat and can occur on the nose leather, lips or ears of red, cream and apricot cats, though in the last two colours they are seldom readily visible. In the Red however they will be of either Chocolate or Black pigment and will be clearly visible especially in the latter colour. Invariable freckles do not show in kittenhood but appear as tiny pinpricks of pigment in early adulthood. As time passes the freckles grow in size until they are the size of match-heads. In the worst cases of course they will join up and form irregular black patches. I had a wonderful old Red Smoke female whose nose and lips were more than 50% black by the time she was eight years old, additionally she had the filthiest looking ears you could image - but of course black pigmentation doesn't wash off!!

In the early days of the Foreign White the mating to red series Siamese was frowned upon because of the very high possibility of nose freckles, which were a disqualifying fault. In 1978 I bought a very beautiful and stylish White kitten - I neither showed her nor bred from her because at 8 months old a freckle started to develop. Equally matings to Blue, Chocolate and Lilac Points were not recommended in the early days of the Foreign White because of the resultant pale eye colour. Dominant White is also epistatic in that it masks the underlying coat colour of the cat but does not prevent freckles or alter eye colour. It is sad that such matings are now routine with the result that 'Turner Blue' eyes are seldom seen, and black freckles have become totally acceptable ……

The colour of red varies greatly in the cat, and the ideal colour in a show cat is far removed from the average 'ginger' or 'marmalade' moggy. In Orientals I look for a deep intense 'rusty chestnut' red with a hot vibrancy to it. The depth or intensity of colour is not determined entirely by the 'O' gene, or indeed by the masked base colour, but is the result of the action of polygenes. Unfortunately it is not possible to quantify or notate polygenic inheritance and breeders must therefore select breeding cats that demonstrate their presence. There is a group of polygenes or 'enhancers' that affect the richness and depth of colour and is usually referred to as 'ruffism'. In Chocolate, Cinnamon and the red series selection for the effect of these polygenes is essential - in their absence the colours will lack warms and be a poor relation of the best colour form. In Silvers of course the presence of these same polygenes is highly undesirable because they produce tarnishing.

There is no visual difference between the three creams either. As a breeder and judge I look for a very soft warm 'powdery' cream totally devoid of any hot ginger tones. Good Creams do tend to look as if they have been thoroughly dusted with baby powder, something which is far removed from the 'metallic' effect seen on an apricot.

The Apricots are of course Creams that also have the Dilute Modifier (Dm) gene in their makeup. By and large they are an attractive colour, but I personally do find a good Cream to be more attractive! The Apricot is a slightly more intense colour than the Cream and usually has a hotter flush to it. Like the Caramel the Apricot invariably has a metallic sheen especially over the head; this must not be confused with the powdery effect of a good coloured cream!

One thing which causes me some irritation is that since Apricot was given full recognition by the GCCF very many breeders seem to register kittens as Apricot, even though there is no indication in their colour, or much probability from their pedigree that they are anything other than Cream. Apricot seems to be the fashionable 'in colour'. What is wrong with Cream? A 'hot' cream is NOT apricot! Under artificial lighting, particularly in some sports halls, it is just not possible to tell Cream from Apricot - but in clear daylight there should be no difficulty.

I have a reputation for marking cats 'Not as Registered', but I do so only when I am totally confident that my decision is correct - if there is any room for doubt I do not do so. When there is no access to natural lighting, or a 'daylight' lamp, I think it is extremely foolish to make decisions as to the actual colour of Cream or Apricot and withhold awards accordingly. My logic is that both are accepted and shown in the same class under GCCF - unless there is very good natural light and an animal is obviously wrongly registered I will not mark them 'Not as Registered' or otherwise penalise them. If you read my show reports you will note that from time to time I make the comments 'would like to see in natural daylight' - this refers to exhibits where I have a suspicion that colour is not in accord with registration! I am very critical of Judges who question the colour of Cream & Apricot under artificial lighting, and equally critical of those who make an award to an incorrectly registered cat where natural lighting is available! Unfortunately few judges have bred red, cream and apricot and seem to be of the opinion that a 'hot' cream, or even worse a very soft powdery cream, is apricot!

The Tortoiseshells.
Though they are genetically mosaics; the description of Tortoiseshell or Tortie cats as "having bits and pieces of colour here and there" is I think far more apt, albeit not very (?) technical! The colour distribution in Torties may be 'patched' or 'mingled'. In the early days judges looked for patches of colour in Black Torties, yet looked for mingled colour in the Blue Cream! In the Tortie & White, or Calico, there are large clear areas of the individual colours. Whatever the colour distribution form the intense colours should show three distinct colours, whilst the dilute colours have but two:-


Genotype

Description

Visual Colour
B_ D_ Oo Black Tortie Black, Red & Cream
bb D_ Oo Chocolate Tortie Chocolate, Red & Cream
blbl D_ Oo Cinnamon Tortie Cinnamon, Red & Cream
B_ dd Oo Blue Tortie Blue & Cream
bb dd Oo Lilac Tortie Lilac & Cream
blbl dd Oo Fawn Tortie Fawn & Cream
B_ dd Dm_ Oo Caramel Tortie Caramel & Apricot
bb dd Dm_ Oo
blbl dd Dm_ Oo

I firmly believe that the breeding of Torties is a 'lucky dip' - you have to take what you are given! Torties simply cannot be bred to order the colour distribution is random and not of genetic origin. In British cats, certainly up to the mid 1980's very great emphasis was placed on the presence, or otherwise, of a blaze and that all the feet were 'broken', and in the early days of the Oriental many judges followed this rule. To me however there are more important features and I would only consider them in separating two otherwise equivalent cats.

It is important that all relevant colours are present in the coat, and that there is a fairly even distribution of colour. I do not know what the perfect balance of colours is, and I would suppose that at the outer edges it becomes personal choice! However in the basic Tortie I do not like large patches of colour because the red and/or cream / apricot will invariably show very heavy tabby pattern. I equally do not like those cats where you cannot immediately tell it is a Tortie, and end up looking for mottled pads or red hairs!!

There is a vast difference between Torties, which show heavy tabby markings in the red and cream areas, and Tortie Tabbies. In the non-agouti Tortoiseshell cat any tabby pattern will only be apparent in the red, cream or apricot areas. So for example in the case of a Black Tortie (aa B_D_) tabby markings may be visible in the red and cream areas, BUT there will never be tabby pattern in the black areas. However in the Tortie Tabby (A_ B_ D_ T_) the pattern of spots should be visible over the entire cat and the spots should be, to a greater or lesser degree, of mixed black, red and cream colour. Unlike the non-agouti the Tortie Tabby (also known as Torbies) will show pattern in the non-red areas. It is amazing how many breeders (and even worse) judges fail to understand this elementary fact.
Ch. Savannah van Mudanza de Vida
A fine example of a Chocolate Tortie Tabby
Owner : Annet Wouters. Breeder : Lia Esmeier

The Tortoiseshell Male.
From time to time Tortoiseshell males do occur, but they certainly are not commonplace. Invariably Tortie males are sterile, or become sterile at an early age. As we have previously seen the 'orange' colouring is carried on the X and is sex-linked with Tortie females being of genotype Oo, a variation not possible in a male! Some cats however will not be of normal XX or XY genotype but may have more, or less X or Y chromosomes. The presence of additional X chromosomes is the commonest cause of the male Tortie.

Clearly a male cat of genotype XXY, unlike the normal male XY, will be in possession of two genes at the 'orange' locus and is capable therefore of being OO (red), Oo (tortoiseshell) or oo (non-red). Some animals may vary from the norm and be a mixture of XY and XX, and again because of the presence of two X chromosomes the production of a Tortie male is possible.

Because of the very high likelihood that a Tortie male is the result of a variation / abnormality of the XY makeup of the normal male I personally would not attempt to breed from one - even assuming it was fertile. I see little point (other than research) perpetuating such anomalies that may have more serious effects than simply colour. I have never bred a Tortie male, though at least one has been bred from a mating of two cats of my breeding.

Self or Tabby?
Visually it is impossible to differentiate between a Red, Cream or Apricot 'Self' or non-agouti cat, and the Red Tabby, Cream Tabby or Apricot Tabby or agouti cat! The same is of course equally true of the Red, Cream and Apricot Smokes and their equivalent in the Silver Tabby - no matter how clever you may think you are it is impossible to visually distinguish between a Red Smoke and a Red Silver Tabby!

At one show I withheld the certificate from a Red Self because it had very heavy tabby markings, AND also withheld the certificate from a Red Spotted Tabby because the pattern was indistinct --- had they been swapped over I would happily have awarded both certificates! I had several discussions with the breeder of the Red Self in question and suggested that she mate him to a tabby and keep either a red son or tortie tabby daughter - and breed a line of cats which GCCF would only register as Red Tabbies! Surely this is a pretty silly situation! I have always maintained that because of the unusual nature of red inheritance and the epistatic effect of the colour, all reds - be they agouti or non-agouti - should be shown in the same class and judged to a common standard. Whilst I disagree with the nonsense of separating the Selfs and the Tabbies as a Judge I do have to follow the 'party line' and clearly a very heavily marked cat cannot be regarded as a Self! In order that there is CONSISTENCY in my judging there is a simple "rule of thumb" which I apply to Self cats. Put both hands in front of you with the fingers closed together and the thumbs out at right angles, now bring the hands together so that one thumb is on top of the other - this gives a gap of about 5 or 6cm between the two hands. I place my hands in this manner along the back of all red selfs, if that area shows pattern it is too heavily marked; if it shows no pattern in that area it is acceptable as a self. A very simple rule of thumb which does ensure consistency!

Champion Summerdown Michafirecrakr
This chap really is a Spotted Tabby!

In it's wisdom GCCF registers all red, cream and apricot kittens from a mating where either parent is Agouti as agouti kittens. To some degree this is a sensible move, but by simple definition probably 25% are incorrectly registered! So how many of the Red and Apricot Silver Shaded kittens which I've bred have been incorrectly registered? Some of them must surely have been Smokes (albeit with wide-band effect)!

Of course by selective breeding over many generations it would be possible to breed Red cats with minimal markings which would visually be nearer self coloured than tabby. So we could by selective breeding have two different looking animals - but is it likely to happen ……. I think not. It would be quite possible to breed a line of non-agouti red cats with very heavy tabby pattern, and agouti cats with minimal pattern; that is Red Tabbies with no markings, and Selfs with heavily marked coats - which just goes to prove the unusual nature of red!

Some people seem to think that the best Red Selfs are of homozygous Ticked tabby form (aa TaTa O). Of course these cats will be devoid of leg and tail markings and will only have residual facial markings and have ticked bodies, but unfortunately they are often lacking in intensity of colour. There does appear to be a definite drawback to the continuous breeding of homozygous ticked pattern cats (TaTa). The density of pigmentation in the skullcap areas appears to be greatly increased, with the result that it appears to become totally solid colour devoid of markings, or paler roots in the case of agouti or silver cats. Should anyone have any information or breeding data on this phenomenon I would be delighted to hear from them.

Undoubtedly the finest form of Red Self would be based on Classic tabby pattern (aa tbtb O) where selection is made for the maximum degree of pattern area and the minimum of ground colour - the result would be almost entirely solid red pattern and this really would a Red Self! The finest Red and Cream Persians were bred to this recipe, of course the long hair does have an advantage anyway in that the pattern will by definition be less distinct than in a Shorthair.

Bicolour and the Red Series.
I have always found Bicolours to be the most attractive of the colour varieties in the cat, especially the definite patchwork effect of the Tortie Bicolour. Sadly, for reasons I've never quite understood, Bicolours are not recognised in the Oriental by the GCCF ……. IF we apply logic to their reasoning then we should not accept Silver either!

The complex bicolour effect is the result of the presence of a dominant gene (S) for White Spotting or Piebald. This gene is very variable but follows a definite gradeable pattern, the effects ranging from a small white spot to a fully white cat. 'Bicolour', 'Harlequin' and 'Van' have been used to describe these cats. The gene responsible is unrelated to that responsible for dominant white (W) which is present in the Foreign White and other pure white breeds. Whilst very low grade White Spotting results in 'lockets' and 'belly spots' it is highly unlikely that the gene causes the 'lockets', 'belly spots' and 'armpit spots' which occasionally occur in 'conventional' Orientals and Siamese. These seem to skip generations, occur randomly and never seem to be larger than very small clumps of white hair.


In the Tortie with White Spotting, especially in mid grade expression where there is considerable white, the red and non-red areas become large clear patches of colour with minimal mingling of colour. This results in the beautiful patchwork effect of the 'calico'.

A Blue Tortie Tabby & White
Ch. Izhayla's Eloise se Dayna
Owned & bred by Annet Wouters
A Red Bicolour Angora
Izhayla's Avery Seliyi se Faridah
Bred by Annet Wouters

The White Spotting gene of high grade in combination with longhair and Siamese results in the most beautiful semi-long hair variety created by Miss Pat Turner and known as the 'Seychellois'. Cats of genotype cscs ll S_ will be blue eyed and have bicolour markings restricted to the face, legs and tail. Those of genotype C_ ll S_ have green eyes and in addition to the above may also have splashes of colour on the body. Of Oriental type the Seychellois is but a variation of the Oriental Longhair (Angora, Javanese or Mandarin call it what you will!) and can be of very great beauty.

Red Series and Silver.
Silver colouring is caused by the action of a dominant gene known as the Melanin Inhibitor (I) whose presence prevents the full development of pigmentation in the hair. It affects the non-agouti and the agouti cat, its presence in the former turns a Self Cat into a Smoke. In the agouti cat the result is the Silver Tabby or Silver Shaded. The gene has a widely variable effect, in some animals there is a very deep white base, whilst in others the animal is so dark that it appears visually self-coloured.

 
 

In non-red silver tabbies the actual colour of the pattern lacks the warmth of colour which is found in their non-silver, or 'standard' counterparts. In the red series however there is little if any difference between the pattern colour in a Red and a Red Silver or Red Smoke. This leads one to question whether a Red, Cream or Apricot Silver Tabby or Shaded can show tarnishing. It is visible in some torties that are predominantly of non-red colouring, but not in those with a high percentage of red colouring.

In Red, Cream and Apricot the Silver lacks the 'sparkling whiteness' found in other colours and is of a distinct 'ivory white' colour, and to the uninitiated may appear to be a pale cream rather than silver. Some judges, especially those with little experience of reds, are oblivious of this fact. This was clearly demonstrated at a recent show where a Judge marked a Red Silver Shaded 'Wrong Colour' because the silver was not pure white: other Judges and breeders who were present totally disagreed and were of the opinion that the cat was in fact a very good Red Silver!

Because of the widely variable effect of the Silver gene and the fact that in reds the silver ground is ivory coloured it is often difficult to differentiate between reds and red silvers, as is also true for the cream and apricot counterparts. Add wide-band into the mix and can become a little more confusing! Where the genes have a very strong expression there is no problem sorting them out, but where the expression is poor it is a totally different matter. I have a Red Silver Shaded male (A_Bb C_ dd Dm_ I_ O TaTa) with very strong expression of both wide-band and silver, his coat is basically off-white dusted with red tipping, and almost entirely devoid of markings. I have another Red Silver Shaded male (A_Bb Ccs Dd Dm_ I_ O Ta_) who has only average expression of both wide-band and silver and is visually nearer to a standard red tabby. These two boys are both registered as 43ds but the difference between them is as marked as that between a black and a blue yet both are show quality Red Silvers!

And so we still think Red Series cats are easy to breed do we?

John S Harrison
© February 2002.

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