Falconbreeze takes a look at the genetics in Warriors.
Hello, BlogClan! My name is Falconbreeze and I’ve been on BlogClan for over a year now, but this is my first article. I hope you guys enjoy it. I’ve seen a few articles about this topic before, but I wanted to make my own because I love genetics.
To start, I would like to give a brief overview of how cat genetics work – at least the basics. For this, I am going to assume you already have a decent knowledge of the very basics of genetics, like what alleles are and how dominance works. If you don’t, look up genetics if you really want to know – there are lots of good websites out there. I would explain, but I don’t want to make this article too long. Also, you can ask me in the comments if you are confused. Anyways, back to cat genetics!
Cats have two main coat color groups – red-series (ginger and its dilute) and black-series (black, brown, cinnamon, and their dilutes). Red is represented with an O, black with an o. This is a sex-linked trait, meaning that females have two genes for this while males only have one. Male kits get their main color group from their mother, since the gene is on the X chromosome. OO (females) or O- (males) means a cat will be red-series, oo (females) or o- (males) means a cat will be black-series, and Oo (females only, for the most part) means a cat will be tortoiseshell.
If a cat is OO/O-, it will be red (or cream if dilute) regardless of what they have on the black-series locus. If they are tortie or black-series, this will dictate whether they are black/grey, brown/lilac, or cinnamon/fawn. Black is B, brown is b, and cinnamon is b1. Black is most dominant, then brown, then cinnamon.
Dilute means that the color has been lightened. It turns ginger (also called red) to cream, black to grey (also called blue), brown (also called chocolate) to lilac, and cinnamon to fawn. Dilute is dominant to non-dilute, so non-dilute is represented with a D, while dilute is d.
I am not going to go into different tabby markings in this article, so instead I’ll just stick with the basic tabby or non-tabby – the agouti locus. Tabby is dominant to non-tabby. Tabby is A, non-tabby is a. I also want to point out here that red-series cats (and red/cream patches on torties) will always have tabby markings, but may not necessarily be genetically tabby. If this is the case, they are called ghost tabbies and cannot pass tabby markings onto non-red-series kits.
Next we will talk about white spotting. White spotting is represented with S, while non-white is s. However, these aren’t completely dominant over each other. A cat with the genotype SS will usually be over 50% white, a cat that is Ss will have under 50% white but does have some white, and a cat that is ss has no white. The white covers up all other colors and patterns.
White masking is different from white spotting. It is dominant, being represented with a W, while non-white-masking is represented with a w. WW or Ww cats are all white. Many cats with this gene have blue eyes. Also, it is linked to deafness and skin cancer. This white also covers up all other colors and patterns.
Lastly, I’m going to cover fur length before we move on to the second part of this article. Short fur is dominant to long fur. Short fur is L, long is l.
I’m also going to include a brief note on eye color now. The only eye color that I know much about the genetics of in cats in blue. I haven’t been able to find much about other eye color genetics. Anyways, cats that have blue eyes should almost always have white on them. I will explain this in a little more depth later.
I know this is not everything, but this will provide you all of the information you need to know for this article. I am going to start with some of the more minor offenses first.
First of all, non-white cats with blue eyes. There is a way for cats without any white at all to have blue eyes – this is a gene called ojos azules. It is a rare gene that is dominant. Oj is having it, oj means the cat doesn’t have ojos azules. Pretty much any cat that has it is heterozygous (Ojoj), though, because when homozygous dominant (OjOj) they have severe deformities and are frequently stillborn.
In the Clans, there are a lot of cats that don’t have white on them yet have blue eyes, way too many for them all to have this “rare” gene, especially when it can have fatal consequences if a cat inherits two copies. Here are some examples of some of these cats: Jayfeather, Cinderheart, Cinderpelt, Bluestar, Stormtail, Stonefur, Mistystar, Dovewing (maybe – I’m still not sure whether her eyes are blue or green), Crowfeather, Ashfur, Millie, Silverstream, Feathertail, Nightpaw (In RiverClan), Willowpelt (though she may be ojos as her eyes are described as “unusual”), Clear Sky, Jackdaw’s Cry, Jagged Peak, Rainswept Flower, Thorn (DoTC), Skywatcher, Quiet Rain, Sharp Hail, Fawnstep (ancient SkyClan), Rainleap (ancient SkyClan), Seedpelt (ancient ThunderClan, from Cloudstar’s Journey), Sloefur (ancient RiverClan), Ravenwing, Perchpaw (from Mapleshade’s Vengeance), Rooktail, Goosefeather, Rockfall (from Goosefeather’s Curse), Heatherstar, Ashheart (ShadowClan), Fallowtail (RiverClan), etc.
Also, tortoiseshell toms are unreasonably common in Warriors. I am not opposed to having a couple, since they are rare, but there are quite a few. Here are some examples (note – some are not specifically listed as tortoiseshell, but if they are black and orange or brown and orange or something like that, they are tortie): Redtail (and apparently he’s fertile, even less common), Sol, Molewhisker (he’s brown and cream, cream is dilute red), Shellkit, Finleap (brown and ginger), Sandynose (brown and ginger), Fircone, Weaselwhisker (ancient SkyClan), Patchkit (Mapleshade’s kit).
Finleap and Sandynose being brown with ginger legs – tortie toms aside, that’s not how torties work. Amberleaf (from ShadowClan) is the opposite – ginger with brown legs. Also Blackstar being all white with black feet – white spreads in from the extremities usually, this would be rather strange. A splash of color on the toe-tips is fine, but all-black paws while the rest of him is white? Doubtful.
Heronwing can’t be black and grey, as it is impossible for him to be dilute and non-dilute at the same time, unless he is a chimera, which isn’t likely, seeing as he’s not the only cat with this problem. Harley (from SkyClan’s Destiny) is described as grey and brown, when that would be genetically black and brown, as well as dilute and non-dilute. Onion (a kittypet from SkyClan’s Destiny) is also grey and black. Tangleburr, Hawkheart, and Sorrelpaw (WindClan) are also brown and grey.
Dawnstripe, a WindClan warrior, is cream with lighter stripes. That’s not how tabbies work. Tabby stripes are always darker than the cat’s base color.
Mudclaw (from ShadowClan) is described as grey with brown legs. For one thing, I’ve already mentioned how a cat can’t be two of the different black-series colors. Also, the grey is dilute and the brown is not. To top it all off, it’s like the case with Finleap and Sandynose – that’s not how patterning works.
Silverflame, Yellowfang’s grandmother, is described as orange and grey. Grey is dilute and orange is not, so that’s not possible. She should either be cream and grey or orange and black.
I’m going to stop with this part now, I think that’s been plenty of examples. Next, I’m going to briefly discuss some of the cats in Firestar’s family and why their genetics are wrong. First, I will start with Firestar himself.
Firestar is a ginger tabby (O-). His mother is a brown and white tabby (o-, bb/bbi). His father is ginger, but because he is a tom, he would get his coloring from his mother. Since Nutmeg is brown and that is a black-series color, Firestar should be black-series. I am unsure what color he would be exactly. Possibly brown, because we know Nutmeg is, but we don’t know whether she carries cinnamon or not or what black-series genes Jake has. Firestar could possibly be black or even cinnamon also.
The next problem we are going to discuss is Leafpool. Squirrelflight is fine (mostly – she shouldn’t have a white paw but otherwise she’s good) because both of her parents are red-series, but I’m not sure where Leafpool got the black-series gene from! She also is not only a brown tabby, but she’s got white on her two. Neither Firestar nor Sandstorm has white, so that wouldn’t work. Leafpool should be either ginger like her sister or cream like her mother.
The next issue is Lionblaze. Neither Leafpool nor Crowfeather is red-series, so I’m not sure how he is. Hollyleaf is fine because she got the black from Crowfeather, but the non-dilute from Leafpool, and Jayfeather is fine (other than his eyes) because he’s black with dilute (grey), and he got both of those from Crowfeather.
Now we’re going back to Firestar’s mate, Sandstorm. Her mother, Brindleface, is black-series, and her father is a tortie tom. Ignoring the fact of the fertile tortie tom, she could’ve gotten one red-series allele from Redtail, but Brindleface could only giver her a black-series allele, so at best she’d be tortoiseshell, instead of red-series.
I’m going to stop this article here, as I think I’ve rambled on for long enough. I hope you guys enjoyed this article. Let me know if you’d like me to do a part two and do some other cats’ genetics.