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coat  colors  and  patterns

Confused by the coat color terms? Know what you're looking for but not sure how to describe it? No worries, we're here to help! Listed below you will find a term, description, and drawn example for different kinds of common fur colors and patterns. There are so many different colors, and we may miss a few, so let us know if the answer you're looking for isn't listed here.


  • Simple as it sounds - one solid color. You can have solid greys (also called blues), blacks, whites, even browns. Generally oranges (also called reds) and creams aren't totally solid, as they will have faint tabby markings on them.


  • Any solid color cat plus white, with the two colors being fairly evenly distributed. For example, black and white, grey and white, etc., with the white being about half the color composition.

    • Tuxedo - A tuxedo cat is a type of bi-color cat who looks just exactly like what the name says, like the kitty is wearing a little tuxedo! The coat is all over black with a white bib (shirt) and white mitts (or tuxedo cuffs).

    • ...and White

    • Any solid color or color pattern plus white markings. Generally when we say “and white”, there are distinct larger patches of white on the cat. If there aren’t larger patches of white and just small bits of white, here are some other terms you can use to more accurately describe your kitty:

    • – White "mitts" – White feet or paws

    • – White "bib" – White chest

    • – White "locket" – Small patch of white hair on the chest

    • Harlequin

    • A mostly white cat with a few larger spots of color. White is the most noticeable color.

    • Van or Van Bi-Color

    • All white with just small spots or splashes of color between the ears and on the tail.



  • A paler or lighter version of the original color pattern. So you have pale orange, cream or buff instead of brighter orange, and grey or blue instead of black. Dilute is often used to describe calicos, torties and tabbies.


  • Tabbies come in lots of colors. The most common is the brown or brown/grey tabby, which generally has brown, black and grey blended together. You can also have grey tabbies, orange tabbies, and cream or buff tabbies. Silver tabbies generally have black and grey markings on white roots, which gives the cat a more silver appearance (more silver than just grey). Tabbies come in a variety of patterns too, which also help accurately describe the cat:

    • Tiger tabby or "mackerel" (mac) tabby – Long, narrow stripes across the cat's body like a tiger.

    • Classic tabby – Round bulls-eye swirls on the cat's sides or flanks.

    • Spotted tabby – Spots on the cat's flanks and underbelly, and stripes on their legs.

    • Ticked or agouti – Ticked cats have different bands of color along the hair shaft, with the hair being the lightest or palest by the root and the ends “ticked” darker.


  • Tortoiseshell  or “Torties” for short – Torties aren’t true tri-colored cats, as they are mainly black and orange (also called red) swirled in a “brindle” pattern. But they are similar to calicos in that they are nearly always female. Sometimes you will see a tortie patterned cat with small splashes of white. Sometimes these are called "torties with white", but mainly they're called calicos. Both terms are technically correct. Dilute torties are grey (or blue) and peach (or cream), instead of black and orange.


  • This term is most commonly used to describe calicos and tortoiseshell cats, which are nearly always female because of the gene composition.

    • Calico – Calicos have three distinct colors: orange, black and white. Dilute calicos are the same, except they are the paler version, so you have grey, peach and white. Many calicos have a patchwork design to their coat.

    • Calico Tabby or "Tabico" for short – A calico mixed with a brown tabby, so you get brown and orange tabby markings plus larger patches of white.

    • Torbie – A tabby mixed with a tortie, so you have a tabby pattern with more noticeable orange marbling in it. Torbies look like autumn leaves.


  • Solid pale cream or darker tan body color with a different color on the ears, muzzle, tail and feet, otherwise known as "points."

    • Flame point – Orange coloring on the face, ears, tail and feet, anywhere from bright orange to very pale.

    • Seal point – Dark brown points like the color of seal skin, and the nose leather and paw pads will be dark brown.

    • Chocolate point – Points are generally slightly lighter brown than seal points, and the nose leather and paw pads will be pinkish.

    • Lilac or blue point – Grey or blue points, anywhere from darker grey to very pale.

    • Lynx point – A Siamese-type mixed with a tabby, so you'll see a cream or tan body with a tabby looking face, ears, tail and feet. You can have different colors of lynx points too, i.e., grey lynx point, brown lynx point, orange lynx point, etc.

    • Tortie point – A Siamese-type mixed with a tortie, so you notice tortie brindle markings on the face, ears, tail and feet.


  • Solid black or grey hair with white roots, so that the cat's coat appears to be smokey (i.e., smokey black with white roots, or smokey grey with white roots).


  • This term has more to do with genetics than the visual. Basically, it means that the cats coat will have a mix of different features from points, solids, and bi-colors. Minks have some color on some points, but not necessarily all of their points. Minks usually have a lower contrast between their point color and their body color.

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