Dilution 

Ok keep in mind, the basic colors are still black and red. Dilution is a trait that "bleaches" the color so that black turns blue and red becomes cream (just for fun we might call it the chlorine-gene because it is easier to think about bleaching in conjunction with chlorine right).

In order for a cat to be diluted, dilution must be inherited from both sides, the cat must, therefore, have a double set of the dilution gene for it to be visible dilution. 

Dilution is recessive and can be worn for many, many generations without appearing. For simplicity, we use the genetic designation diluted instead of printing the colors blue and cream.

Normal color = DD
Normal color and carrier = Dd
Diluted = dd

D/D

The cat is not diluted nor carries the dilution trait, no offspring after this cat will be diluted but they will become carriers if the other party is diluted or might be if the other part is a carrier of dilution.

D/d 

The cat is not diluted but carries the trait and can give diluted offspring with a diluted cat or another carrier.

d/d

The cat is diluted and, together with another diluted cat, will not give anything but diluted offsprings, although if the other cat is not a carrier, all offspring will become carriers, no offsprings will be diluted themselves. With a normal colored carrier, the offsprings can be diluted or normal color.

 

When trying to find out whether a cat is red or cream, you can not look at how bright the cat is, especially if it's silver involved. The difference between a red and cream is not the brightness but the shade. A red cat goes against orange, a warm color, while a cream goes against the blue side and has a dirty tone, like beige (sand). Most often, it is easier to see when the cat is newborn before, for example, silver began to break up properly.

Below is a litter with three red and a cream, you clearly see the cold sandy color in the fur, while the red ones have a more orange warm color.

20080304 Krafla4Ungar 01



Below is the difference between a Cream tabby and a Red Tabby. Here you can also see how incredibly difficult it can be to really see if a Red / Cream is patterned or not.

Maya (the cream-colored one) Looks non-agouti if you look at the edges of the ears, around the mouth and eyes., But she did get agouti-kittens mated with a non-agouti male. So we do know she is in fact agouti. Photos can also fool the eye a whole lot so trying to determine on color on photos can really be a challenge. Krafla to the right has very clear white agouti markings, but due to the light on this photo, they do not look very clear at all! She just looks vividly lighter around her eyes, in the ears, and around her mouth.

GimletsHimalaya

MittklattensKrafla

Gimlets Himalaya - Cream classic tabby

Mittklättens Krafla - Red classic tabby



IMG 6365

7v Svinto 03 1

Dagdrivarn Kelmaa - Blacktortie classic tabby

Dagdrivarn Trance Gemini - Bluetortie classic tabby

 

Some examples of the inheritance of dilution:

Below are examples of two diluted parents, so both mom and dad are blue or cream.

As we see from the table, all offspring will be diluted as both mother and father have a double set of the dilution trait,  anything else is not possible.

Father
d

Father
d

Mother
d

dd

dd

Mother
d

dd

dd

 

Hereinafter we have instead of the example where mom is not diluted (black/red) nor carrier of dilution, while daddy is diluted himself, ie blue or cream.

Here we can see that all kittens will be carriers of dilution but no one will actually be diluted itself, so if you have a male or female who is not a carrier, you can mate with blue or cream in infinity, but you will never get any offspring who is blue or cream.

Father
d

Father
d

Mother
D

Dd

Dd

Mother
D

Dd

Dd

 

We take one last example, both parents are full color (red/black) but carries dilution (blue/cream)

Father
D

Father
d

Mother
D

DD

Dd

Mother
d

Dd

dd

In the example above, we see that 25% of the kittens will be full-color and will not be dilute carriers (DD). We can see that 50% of the kittens will be full-color but will be carriers of dilution (Dd) and 25% of the kittens will be diluted themselves (dd).

 


Patterns

Ok then, let's talk about all these patterns. We know that the base colors are black or red. We can add on the dilution trait to bleach these to blue or cream and we have the agouti trait that determines whether the cat's pattern should be displayed or hidden. (Remember here all cats have a pattern even if we do not always see it).

The patterns we have on Maine Coon are:

Classic tabby, Mackerel tabby, Spotted tabby or Ticked tabby.

Classic Tabby

mcmc

Recessive (double genes are required for the pattern to be displayed).

Mackerel Tabby

McMc

Dominant

Homozygous Mackerel

Mackerel Tabby

Mcmc

Dominant

HeterozygousMackerel carries Classic Tabby

Spotted Tabby

Sp

Dominant

The gene breaks up the basic pattern to dots.

Spotted Tabby

sp 

Gen that does not break the pattern in dots.

Ticked Tabby

T

Dominate over all the other patterns but are located in a separate locus. This means that a ticked cat can also carry another pattern.

Ticked

t

Non-ticked

 

Here it will be a bit difficult when we begin to think of inheritance. Patterns are inherited as everything else in pairs, which means that a mackerel tabby can have one trait for mackerel tabby and one for classic tabby, which means that two mackerel tabby, if both are carrying classic tabby, actually can get offsprings who are classic tabby if the mc gene is inherited from both parents. Two classic tabby, on the other hand, can never ever get anything but classic tabby.

In the case of spotted tabby, there are two variants, one who believes be the one who gives us the cats that are mackerel tabby on one side and spotted tabby on the other. This is thought to be the ones who have mackerel tabby as a base pattern, while those who are very clearly spotted tabbies are those who have classic tabby as a basic pattern. How good the dots are, have nothing to do with whether the cat is heterozygous spotted or homozygous spotted.

The ticked tabby can be ticked in two different ways, either with several short breaks on the hair or with a few longer "on and off" (the hair will not become multi-banded ticked). Abessinier and Somali are homozygous ticked and have genotype TT while most other breeds with ticked cats have genotype Tt, heterozygous ticked, of course, we can by mate ticked with ticked also get homozygotes ticked on other breeds with ticked such as our Maine coon.

Below is a table where Cat 1 is heterozygous ticked but is also a carrier of both mackerel and classic tabby. Cat 2 is a mackerel but also a carrier of classic tabby.

 

Cat 1→

Cat 2↓

McT

Mct

mcT

mct

Mct

McMc Tt

McMc tt

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

Mct

McMc Tt

McMc tt

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

mct

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

mcmc Tt

mcmc tt

mct

Mcmc Tt

Mcmc tt

mcmc Tt

mcmc tt

 

It's a bit tricky and you have to think a little, but hopefully, you understand the principle in any case, so in the example above it will be. 

If you see above, then we see that 50% of the offspring will be Ticked tabby.

About 37.5% will be Mackerel tabby and 12.5% will be Classic tabby.

Some examples of patterns and genetic combinations:

McMc Spsp tt - The cat is homozygous mackerel with the spotted gene that breaks up the pattern in spots.

Mcmc Spsp tt - The cat is heterozygous mackerel with the spotted gene that breaks up the pattern in spots.

 

McMc spsp tt - The cat is homozygous mackerel without the spotted gene, therefore Mackerel Tabby.

Mcmc spsp tt - The cat is heterozygous mackerel without the spotted gene, therefore Mackerel Tabby.

 

mcmc Spsp tt - The cat is Classic tabby with the spotted gene that breaks up the pattern in spots.

mcmc spsp tt - The cat is Classic tabby without spotted genes, therefore only Classic Tabby.

 

For example, everyone will be visibly ticked but carrying a few different other patterns.

McMc spsp Tt - Ticked cat that also carries homozygous Mackerel Tabby, no spotted

Mcmc spsp Tt - Ticked cat who also carries Mackerel Tabby, as well as carrying Classic tabby, no spotted.

mcmc spsp Tt - Ticked cat who also carries Classic tabby, no spotted.

 

In addition, we can play a little with agouti, too, all cats showing their patterns (apart from red and cream, if you remember what was included in the article about basic colors).

 

 aa mcmc spsp Tt  - Non-agouti, does not show its pattern.

Aa mcmc spsp Tt  - Agouti, shows its pattern, but is a carrier of non-agouti.

AA mcmc spsp Tt - Homozygous Agouti, shows its pattern and all offspring will be agouti.

 

By: Malin Sundqvist
Dagdrivarn (www.dagdrivarn.se)