The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Cat Coats


Domestic cat’s coats come in a wide range of amazing patterns and colors that include; Tricolor, Colorpoint, Solid, Bicolor, Tabby, and Tortoiseshell. These different coat markings arise from the cat’s genetics that also determines your cat’s texture, pattern, length, and coloration of feline fur. As a responsible cat owner, it is important for you to understand that the cat coat variations are physical properties and should not be used to classify cat breeds. For example, a cat may display the coat of a certain breed without being of that breed. In this post, we will take a closer look at the different types of cat coats and different cat breeds.

Different Types of Cat Coats

Domestic Cats


Tabby is the most common cat coat pattern around the globe. Cats with this pattern can be easily picked out as they have striped spots or markings on the chest. According to Base Paws, there are four different varieties of the Tabby coat pattern that include; Blotched, Ticked, Mackerel, and Spotted. Cats with blotched tabbies are also marbled or classic and usually have a combination of swirls, stripes, and imperfections all over their bodies. Ticked tabbies have a gradient of fur follicle color, with a darker shade at the tip and a lighter shade at the base.

Mackerel tabbies are characterized by stripes of dark fun running vertically along their bodies, with beautiful shades of gray or lighter orange coats underneath. Mackerel tabbies are fishbone coats whose dark fur stripes can be divided along their flanks and stomach. Lastly are the Spotted tabbies, characterized by different color spots over their fur. The size, spacing, and the number of the spots usually vary with cat breeds. Cats with the Tabby pattern can be easily identified since they have an M on their forehead and distinctive pencil lines on their faces.

turkish angora


Cats with solid color coat patterning are easily identifiable from stone grey British shorthair to snow white Turkish Angora. A cat with a solid coat pattern has one color on its body. Their coat should not include any other color, even to the point of a couple of different colored hairs. That said, cats with solid fur coat patterning are very hard to find.



Cats with bicolor coat patterning are those with a dominant white fur coloration and one other color. This fur color pattern is very common among several cat breeds, especially one with fur color combinations of white and brown or white and red. For instance, Tuxedo cats are black-colored cats with white paws, bellies, and faces, and cats with a van cat usually have a primarily white color with other areas of colored fur on their tails and heads.

Tortoiseshell Cat

Tricolor and Tortoiseshell

Tricolor, also called Calito, are coat patterns with colors blue and cream or red and black with some white speckles across their bodies. Similarly, cats with the tortoiseshell coat pattern are characterized by a mixture of red and black fur or dull colors of blue and cream. Most cats with tricolor and tortoiseshell coats are usually females. This is because the cat genes that code for the red and black red are found in the males with the X chromosome. Rarely will you come across a male tricolor or tortoiseshell cat, and if you do, you will notice that he is probably sterile. Like the tabby cat coat pattern, both tortoiseshell and tricolor cat patterns are very distinctive due to their striking additional color patches.

Ragdoll Cat


Colorpoint cats are one of the rarest color patterns to find and were developed due to a genetic mutation that results in temperature-sensitive albinism. This genetic mutation causes these cats to be characterized by a dark coloration on their paws, tails, ears, and faces that tends to be light brown or beige fawn. This cat coat pattern is often associated with Siamese cats and other cat breeds such as Himalayan and Ragdoll. Additionally, Colorpoint cats’ fur tends to darken with age as their body temperature gradually drops. Blue eyes often characterize these cats.

What are the different layers of Cat Furs?

According to Backyard Cat Enclosures, it has been proven that all cats have four types of fur or hair. These different cat layers have different roles that vary with the coat type and the cat’s breed. The following are some of the different layers of cat furs.

Guard Fur

Guard fur is the outermost layer of fur and the one that is seen on the cat’s body surface. However, the guard fur does not display the actual color of the cat. In most cat breeds, the outer guard fur is usually the longest layer and slighter thicker than the rest of the inner fur. The main role of the guard fur is to protect the cat from extreme cold temperatures and keep water from immediately soaking the cat’s skin.

Down Fur

Down fur, also referred to as the insulation layer, is used to maintain the cat’s body temperature. In most cases, the thickness of the down layer determines the cat’s breed and immediate environment. For instance, cats surrounded by a colder climate will have a thicker down fur layer. This fur is usually very soft and thick and will slightly stand up when your cats feel cold. The down fur layer allows warm air to penetrate their skin and keep them warm.

Awn Fur

The awn fur is typically the glue between the guard and down hair. The awn fur is shorter and thicker than the guard hair but longer and thinner than the down hair. It creates one coat instead of two layers. This is where your feline’s natural pattern and coloring are displayed.


Whiskeys are a part of your cat’s hair or fur and are usually made of keratin. Like their coats, whiskers are equally important. This is because a cat will use these facial hairs to determine whether they can fit through a small space. You should not cut any of your cat’s whiskers as it can disorientate them. For instance, a tabby’s whiskers are naturally attached to the nerve endings that help them to take in their immediate surroundings.

What are the different types of cat fur?

Now that you know the different layers of cat fur let us look at the different types of cat fur. According to Modkat, there are four different main types of cat fur that include:

Maine Coon

Long-Haired Cats

Long-haired cats can grow long fur measuring 1.5-5.0 inches, depending on the breed of the cat. The Maine Coon cat is one of the popular long-hair cats, characterized by majestic long flowing manes that are often associated with their Lion cousins. Long-haired cats require frequent grooming to ensure their long fur remains knot-free and luscious.

Selkirk Rex

Crimped Fur

Although curly or crimped fur is rare to find, it does occur but is present in a few cat breeds. Like long-haired cats, cats with crimped or curly hair require regular brushing to keep them knot-free.

British Shorthair

Short Fur

Short-haired cats are the most common type of cats worldwide. Their hair does not grow beyond 1.5-inches, making them easy to maintain. They do not shed large amounts of hair and do not require much grooming.



Interestingly, hairless cats are not hairless. Instead, they have very short hair that the naked eye can hardly see. Their fur usually has a velvet feel and is very soft on the hand. Since there is no fur to soak up the natural oils from the skin, they need to be bathed regularly. Hairless cars also require shirts in the summer to protect them from sunburn and sweaters in the winter.

What Are the Rarest Cat Coat Patterns?

Cats usually come in unique patterns and colors, but some are harder to find than others. According to Hepper, below are some of the five rarest cat coat patterns:



Albino cats are among the rarest cat colors because it often requires a kitten to inherit two recessive genes, and it is almost impossible to breed them purposely. These cats are characterized by white and pink skin. Unfortunately, they are prone to falling sick and often suffer from immunodeficiencies.


Black Smoke

Black smoke cats are usually confused with black-colored cats. However, if you take a closer look, you will notice that they have a white band near the roots of their hairs. This banded fur coloration makes black smoke cats’ appearance unique. The view is also spectacular as the coat appears wavy when they are in motion.

British Shorthair


Unlike gray cats, silver cats have gray or black hairs on the tips of their silver hairs. This amazing color combination makes them appear shimmery. They also have coats with solid patterns or colors.



The Torbie pattern got its name because of the combination of tabby markings and tortoiseshell fur coloration. While tortoiseshell cats are already hard to find, the addition of tabby characteristics to this pattern makes Torbie cats the rarest cats to find.

calico cat


As mentioned earlier, Calico cats are rare because their coat pattern is mostly found in female cats. Most cat males with this pattern are usually sterile, making it difficult to breed more Calico cats.

Does nutrition affect the appearance of my cat’s fur and skin?

The skin is the largest body organ, and the skin cells naturally turn over rapidly. Most cat breeds’ skin is covered with hair that is being shed and replaced at least several times a year. To ensure your cat has healthy skin and hair, providing them with a properly balanced diet that contains high-quality digestible carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, fats, and minerals is advisable. This helps provide your cats with the appropriate number of calories to meet their energy requirements.

What are the different types of cat fur colors?

Cats are characterized by different fur colors and patterns that make each breed truly individual and unique. According to The Spruce Pets, cat fur colors grow in eight primary colors: grey, cinnamon, brown, white, black, fawn, cream, and red. The color of a cat’s fur is usually determined by its genetics. The two dominant colors in cats are red and black; every other color is a variation of these primary colors, except white. In most cases, a kitten will inherit its fur color from both of its parents, but some colors, such as red, are sex-linked. This means that some fur colors appear on cats with some chromosomes.

Can cats change their coat?

Cats instinctively know when it is time to change their coats. For instance, they may lose some of their furs continuously, but twice yearly. A complete fur change usually takes place between winter and summer coats. During fur change, cats shed their old hair and are gradually replaced. The dense undercoats are left behind to avoid the accumulation of heat. Apart from the seasonal change, there are other reasons behind your cat’s fur shedding, such as parasites, hormonal changes, illness, stress, or poor diet.

How long does a coat change take?

The time it will take your cats to complete the shedding process depends on several factors, such as their environment. If your cats stay most of the time indoors, the shedding process takes the whole year. This is because indoor cats are not exposed to the changing season, which helps increase the pace of the shedding process. For outdoor cats, their shedding process lasts for about eight weeks. Sometimes, the process can be completed quickly, within 5-6 weeks.

What should you do while your cat is changing its coat?

Generally, cats can take care of their shedding fur themselves, but you can still offer to help your cat a little while changing its coat. According to Litterrobot, cats often swallow most of their shedding hair by licking it with their tongue when grooming themselves. However, they cannot digest this hair, which is formed into hairballs in the stomach and then regurgitated. You can help by brushing your cat’s fur gently at least once daily to help get rid of the loose hair.

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