Monday, May 21, 2012

Special for June, the wedding month, at Safe Habor: Tuxedo Cats

The special cat at Safe Harbor this June is the tuxedo cat, in honor of the bridal month. If you adopt a black and white cat, the fee will be $35 instead of $50. Declawed cats are $50, down from the regular $75.

"Tuxedo cat" actually refers to a low-to-medium grade white spotting on the face, paws, throat and chest of an otherwise black cat. But Safe Harbor won't be so particular. If you fall in love with a black and white cat of any pattern, this month it's in the special.

Black and white cats are also known as jellicle cats, after T.S. Eliot's "The Song of the Jellicle Cats" in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.  I found out the term "jellicle" came from Eliot's little niece, when she tried to say "dear little cat." So the great T.S. Eliot was a cat lover! I always assumed Eliot wrote the cat book for the money, or as a favor. He has been elevated in my esteem.

 Some cats are more white than black; these are called Van-pattern cats. There are three varieties:
·         Seychellois Neuvieme - white with colored tail and head splashes (classic Van Pattern)
·         Seychellois Huitieme - white with colored tail and head splashes plus additional splashes of color on the legs
·         Seychellois Septieme - white with splashes of color on the legs and body in addition to those on the head and the colored tail.
In between are the "moo cats,"  because the pattern reminds you of a Holstein cow. "Cap-and-saddle" cats have black on their head and another black area on the back, separated by white.  "Mask-and-mantle" have continuous black on their head and back.  If the markings are more random, the cat is a magpie."

Solid color bicolor cats occur because the white spotting gene masks the color on the fur it affects, along with a recessive allele of the agouti gene, which evens out the usual striped pattern of the colors of the coat. Nose and pad color may be pink, black pink and black, or pink rimmed with black.

Rescue me!
Black and white cats may be long or short haired, and are found in many pure-breeds as well as mixed breeds. Breeds with black and white colors include the Turkish Van, American shorthair, British Shorthair, Manx, Turkish Angora, and Bombay.

Famous tuxedo or black and white cats include Chelsea Clinton's cat Socks, who lived in the White House from 1993 to 2001, Felix the Cat from the Tom and Jerry cartoon, and the cartoon cat Sylvester. 

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