Black and white cat owners know just what lovely pets these monochrome kitties can be. But did you know that they can be more sociable than other colors?
Or that black and white cat breeds may be more likely to be adopted than black cats? Read on to find out some more fascinating and little-known facts about black and white cat breeds.
1. Their Coloring is the Result of a Faulty Gene
These cats have a faulty gene to thank for their unique coloring. And studying them may help scientists treat a range of health defects!
A 2016 study showed that the bicolor fur forms when pigment cells fail to develop normally in the womb.
The cells respond too slowly to biological triggers and move randomly, leading to dispersed patches of color.
The research doesn’t just change our understanding of cats and their coats.
It could also help shed light on human health defects that occur because of faulty cell development!
2. All Black and White Kittens Have Blue Eyes
All black and white kittens are born with blue eyes.
In most cases, when the kitten is a month old its eyes will change color.
However, some cats hang onto this trait into adulthood and the kitten will grow into a black and white cat with blue eyes.
3. Some Black and White Cats are Called Tuxedo Cats
Cats that are black all over except for white patches around the chest and throat and white paws are known as ‘tuxedo cats’.
The name comes from the distinctive markings that resemble formal dinner wear.
These adorable felines are one of the most sought-after types of black and white cats.
Famous examples include Sylvester the Cat from Loony Tunes and Dr Seuss’ legendary The Cat in the Hat.
4. Some Black and White Cats are Called Moo Cats
Similar to tuxedo cats are ‘moo cats’ or ‘cow cats’.
These are cats with large patches of black over a mostly white body.
According to a 2014 study, stray ‘moo cats’ may stand a better chance of finding a home than tuxedo or wholly black cats.
Researchers from Keuka College, New York found that the lighter the cat, the more likely it is to be adopted.
5. Black and White Cats Have Lived in the White House
When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, Chelsea Clinton’s tuxedo cat, Socks, moved in and became America’s ‘First Cat’.
Socks even had his own newsletter and fan club!
Vice President Mike Pence also owned a black and white cat called Oreo.
Oreo sadly passed away last summer after making the move to Washington DC with the rest of the family.
6. Black and White Cats Have Also Been Part of British Politics
On the other side of the pond, another black and white cat has been at the centre of government.
Humphrey, also known as ‘Chief Mouser’, moved into 10 Downing Street in 1989.
He remained in residence until 1997. In that time he saw three Prime Ministers take office.
Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also the proud owner of a black and white cat called Bob.
In 1942 Churchill, who loved and owned many cats, met President Roosevelt aboard HMS Prince of Wales. Before stepping onto the ship he bent down to greet its mascot, a black and white cat named Blackie.
The moment was caught in a now-famous photograph.
7. A Black and White Cat Ran for Mayor
In 2012, a fluffy cat known as ‘Tuxedo Stan’ showed that cats can enter politics, when he ran for mayor of Halifax, Canada.
3 year old Stan ran as a representative of the Tuxedo Party and was an advocate for the city’s stray cat population.
8. Black and White Cats Can Have Tabby Patterns
A black and white striped cat is known as a silver classic tabby or a black and white tabby.
These unique looking cats have dense black stripes in varying patterns against a white/grey backdrop.
Another name for a black and white spotted cat is a silver spotted tabby.
The small black spots give this beautiful pet a leopard-like appearance.
9. Black Cats Are Great at Comforting People
ASPCA Cat of the Year 2012, Scooter, visits a nursing home and rehabilitation hospital every week.
On one memorable visit, the black and white kitty snuggled up to a stroke victim doctors said would never communicate again. Within seconds, the patient opened her eyes and began chatting with her new friend.
Another special black and white cat scooped a National Cat Award in the UK last year.
Rescue cat Genie won for the support and love she gave her 12 yr old owner, who was battling bone cancer.
And, a black and white cat in Scotland was recently given the title of Honorary Purrfessor of Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow.
Kyle is a frequent visitor to the hospital, comforting patients and amusing the staff. He also patrols the nearby Hyndland Station.
10. Black and White Cat Breeds Can Have Short or Long Hair
Like many cats, black and white cat breeds can be either longhaired or short haired, depending on the breed.
The typical black and white shorthair cat is an American shorthair.
This domestic cat was the United State’s seventh most popular breed of cat in 2012, according to the Cat Fanciers Association.
In general, a black and white longhaired cat will be more expensive than the short haired variety, especially when buying a kitten.
Longhaired kittens are rarer, and should ideally be found from a licensed breeder or shelter.
11. Lots of Black and White Cats Win Awards and Records!
The world’s loudest purr belongs to a British black and white cat called Merlin. In 2015, Merlin broke the world record by delivering a 67.8 decibel hum.
In October 1963, France sent a female tuxedo cat into space. Felicette spent 15 minutes in sub-orbital space and survived the trip.
She was the very first cat sent into space!
And, in World War II, a cat named Simon showed that bicolor cats are capable of showing great loyalty to their humans.
Simon, a mascot aboard the HMS Amethyst, was awarded the Dickin medal in 1949 for protecting the sailor’s dwindling food supply from rats.
12. Black and White Cats Can Save Lives
A quick-thinking black and white feline made headlines in the UK in 2012 for saving her owner’s life.
Charley’s owner suffered a diabetic attack in the middle of the night and collapsed.
Sensing something was wrong, Charley alerted Susan’s husband, waking him up by licking and pawing him.
Black and White Cat Facts
We hope you’ve enjoyed those fun facts! Do you have a wonderful black and white feline at home?
If you know any other great facts about these kitties, make sure you leave them in the comments!
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References and Resources
- Mort, R.L. (et al), ‘Reconciling Diverse Mammalian Pigmentation Patterns with a Fundamental Mathematical Model’, Nature Communications (2016)
- Brown, W. P. & Morgan, K. T. ‘Age, Breed Designation, Coat Color, and Coat Pattern Influenced the Length of Stay of Cats at a No-Kill Shelter’, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (2014)
- Stelow, E. A. (et al), ‘The Relationship between Coat Color and Aggressive Behaviours in the Domestic Cat’, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (2016)
- Beaver, B. ‘Fractious Cats and Feline Aggression’, Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery (2004)
- ‘Black and White Cat Saves Diabetic Owner‘, Daily Mail (2012)
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