Leafpool’s kits: 1: Real Genetics by Lonekit

Lonekit takes a look at the genetics of Leafpool’s kits.

Art by climbdraws on tumblr

So, ever since I read Flamecloud’s articles about genetics I’ve literally been hooked so…

Here’s cat colour genetics explained (I used Flamecloud’s article as a reference otherwise it’d take me years):
Genes come in pairs. One from mum and one from dad. Simple. Done.

There are more than one ways genes are inherited. Some are simple, but others need you to reread it like five times to get it in your head.

Even if there’s only one copy dominant genes will show. These are usually represented with capital letters. If you have one copy of the brown eyes gene (dominant) and one for the blue eyes gene (recessive) you will have brown eyes because it’s dominant.
Dominant genes would show in these situations: ‘BB’ two of the same, and ‘Bb’ two different genes.

Think of these as the victims of the school bully. They are usually shown with lowercase letters. If there is another, more dominant gene present the recessive gene will be hidden by the other gene, like the blue eyes I discussed. However, if you have two copies of a recessive gene, it shows. To have blue eyes, you need to be ‘bb’ or it will be covered up.
Most genes are either dominant or recessive, but there are other ways it can be inherited.

Incomplete dominance:
Genetic inheritance can be considered a playground. Dominant genes always get to play their games, and recessive genes only play their games when their friend want to play the same game. Incomplete dominance is if two genes came up with a game in between the ones they want to play. Say you grew a red (RR) flower and pollinated it with a white (WW) flower’s pollen. The offspring would be a pink flower (WR) if they had an incompletely dominant relationship.

Like incomplete dominance, neither gene is completely dominant. However, this ‘class’ can’t agree on games. They divide the playground up and play by themselves. If a blue flower (BB) had reproduced with a yellow flower (YY), and those genes had a codominant relationship, the baby flower (BY) would have blue and yellow patches.

Sex linked:
This means that the gene is found on one of the sex chromosomes, so either X or Y. Most are found on X. I’ll try explain this later when it comes to ginger and tortie.

Cat genetics now! Note: if I write ‘B-‘ or something like that it means the recessive the cat may carry isn’t important.

I’m skipping certain series where the genes are very rare and don’t show up in warriors. There’s no way I could take that much complex info.

The B series: Black or Brown
⁃ B – Black: The dominant gene in this series. Cats that are ‘Bb’ or ‘BB’ will have black as their base coat colour.
⁃ b1 – chocolate or if you’re not picky, brown
⁃ b2 – cinnamon or if you’re not picky, light brown. These genes are pretty much the same only that one just causes a slightly lighter colouration. They are both a simple recessive, and can be hard to tell apart. Only cats that are ‘b1b1’ or ‘b2b2’ will be brown instead of black. I don’t know about ‘b1b2’ though. I’ll just assume it makes an in between, chocolateish cinnamon colour for the sake of this article. Tell me in the comments if you actually know.

The D series: Dilution
⁃ D – non-dilute: This is dominant and doesn’t change the coat colour.
⁃ d – dilute: This is recessive and lightens the base coat color. It turns ginger to cream, black to grey, and brown to lilac, a greyish-brown colour. Cats that are ‘B-, dd’ will be grey, and cats that carry ‘b1b1, dd’ or ‘b2b2, dd’ will be lilac.

The C series: Siamese, albinos, and other fun
⁃ C – normal: This gene is dominant, and causes normal pigmentation.
⁃ cs – siamese: Recessive to ‘C’ but dominant to ‘ca’ and ‘c’ and incompletely dominant with ‘cb’. It causes the typical pattern found in Siamese cats, creamish-white with darker points, which can be any base colour, and blue eyes. Cats that are ‘cs ca’ or ‘cs c’ will be siamese as well as cats that are ‘cs cs’. A cat with lilac points, for example, would be ‘b1b1, dd, cscs’ or ‘b2b2, dd, cscs’.
⁃ cb – burmese: This is recessive to ‘C’, but dominant to ‘ca’ and ‘c’ and incompletely dominant with ‘cs’. ‘cb cb’ lightens the coat slightly, leaving the points the same colour. With ‘cs’ it causes an in-between colour with slightly more defined points. This colour is called Tonkenese.
⁃ ca – blue-eyed albino: This is recessive to all but ‘c’. It causes a snow-white coat that always has blue eyes. Not all blue-eyed white cats are blue eyed albinos, in fact, the blue eyed albino is very rare. It covers up all other genes, so you can’t tell what other things it carries.
⁃ c – albino: an extremely rare, recessive gene. It covers up every other gene.

The L series: Fur Length
⁃ L – normal short fur: dominant.
⁃ l – long fur: recessive.

The S series: White Spotting
⁃ S – causes white spotting: This gene is codominant with the other gene in its series, ‘s’. A cat that is ‘SS’ will be mostly white with some patches of whatever other colors it carries. A cat that is ‘Ss’ will be in the middle, with 50% or less white on them.
⁃ s – solid: This makes normal, non-white spotted coats.

The W series: Dominant White
⁃ W – white: causes a nice, snowy white coat. This covers up all other characteristics, unless the cat is ‘W-, cscs’, where case it will have the siamese blue eyes. These are different blue eyes that don’t cause deafness. Almost all white cats are an example of dominant white.

Tabby is more complicated. It is caused by two different series:
The A series: Agouti
⁃ A – agouti: This causes the banding in the cat’s fur. A cat can’t be tabby without the agouti gene. A cat with the agouti gene but no tabby genes will be an agouti, or ticked tabby. They don’t really have stripes, just an odd ticked pattern. These non-tabby agoutis are rare.
⁃ a – non-agouti: this gene is recessive and doesn’t give any pattern to the cat.

The T series: Tabby – Part 2
⁃ T – mackerel tabby: This gene takes any base color – lilac, brown, black, blue etc. – and adds normal tabby stripes. It’s dominant, but with no agouti gene it doesn’t show. Many cats are ‘aa, TT’, and those may have faint ‘ghost’ stripes but they usually don’t show any tabby characteristics. A normal grey tabby is ’B-, dd, A-, T-‘.
⁃ tb – swirl tabby: This gene is recessive to ‘T’ but dominant to ‘t’. It makes a cool swirly tabby pattern. No agouti, no swirl tabby.
⁃ t – non tabby: This is recessive to the others in the T series, it doesn’t add stripes when ‘A’ is present.
Note: Normal ‘brown’ tabbies are genetically black with the addition of the tabby and agouti genes, ie. ‘A-, T-, B-‘.

Ginger: A very complex headache of a gene that I’ll attempt to explain here. Flamecloud probably explained it better.
Basics: We all have two sex chromosomes – X or Y. If you have two X chromosomes – ‘XX’ – you’re a girl. If you have an X and a Y chromosome -‘XY’ – you’re a boy. Like all genes, you get one from mum and one from dad. Mum always gives you an ‘X’ so if you get your dad’s ‘X’ you’re a girl; if you get your dad’s ‘Y’ you’re a boy.
Ginger is a sex linked gene found only on the X chromosome. Girl cats can have no copies of it – ‘XnXn’ – one copy of it – ‘Xo Xn’ – or two copies of it – ‘Xo Xo’. Boys can be ‘XnY’ or ‘XoY’ meaning they cannot have one of each.
Another cool thing about ginger is that it is also codominant with ‘Xn’. This only affects the girls because they can have an ‘Xn’ and an ‘Xo’ at the same time, unless you’re a rare mutation that’s ‘XXY’ which are nearly always sterile and is how Redtail, Shellfur, Robinwing (RiverClan) and Sol exist.
So cats that are ‘XnXn’ or ‘XnY’ are non ginger, cats that are ‘XoXo’ or ‘XoY’ are ginger, and cats that are ‘XoXn’ or ‘XoXnY’ are tortie.

Ginger covers up the B series so you can’t tell if a ginger cat is ‘B-‘, ‘b1b1’, ‘b2b2’ or ‘b1b2’. It is also impossible to tell if ginger cats are ‘A-, T-’ because all ginger cats will have at least faint stripes even if they aren’t genetically a tabby. The dilute form of ginger is cream. Cats that are ‘XoXn, B-, dd’ are blue creams, cats that are ‘XoXn, bb, D-‘ will be chocolate torties, and cats that are ‘XoXn, bb, dd’ will be a lilac torties. The headache is over. Phew.

I reread Flamecloud’s article for this and it says that Leafpool is genetically a… drumroll please… chocolate torbie with no white markings. Her genes are ‘XoXn, B-, DD, CC, LL, ss’. Now onto Crowfeather. His ancestral line is quite long. Earliest known ancestors of Crowfeather: Hickorynose and Meadowslip, Mistmouse and Hareflight and Palebird and Woollytail.

I’ll start with Palebird and Woollytail. Palebird is ‘XnXn, B-, D-, C-, L-, aa, tt, Ss’ and Woollytail is ‘XnY, B-, dd, C-, L-, aa, tt, Ss’, making Wrenflight ‘XnXn, B-, Dd, C-, L-, aa, tt, Ss’ or a short-haired black she-cat with 50% or less white spotting.
Now I’ll do Mistmouse and Hareflight. Hareflight is ‘XnY, b2b2, D-, C-, L-, aa, tt, ss’ and Mistmouse is ‘XnXn, b2b2, D-, C-, L-, A-, T-, ss’ so Stagleap, Wrenflight’s mate is probably ‘XnY, b2b2, D-, C-, L-, Aa, Tt, ss’ or a shorthair light brown mackerel tabby tom with no white. Ashfoot could be ‘XnXn, Bb2, DD, CC, LL, Aa, Tt, ss’ or a shorthair black cat with tabby stripes or a plain brown tabby cat.

Deadfoot’s side. Hickorynose is ‘XnY, b1b1, D-, C-, L-, aa, tt, ss’ and Meadowslip is ‘XnXn, B-, dd, C-, L-, aa, tt, ss’ making Deadfoot ‘XnY, Bb1, Dd, CC, LL, aa, tt, ss’ or a plain black tom with no white.

Crowfeather, Ashfoot’s and Deadfoot’s kit, for the sake of the article is ‘XnY, Bb1, Dd, CC, LL, aa, Tt, ss’ or a black tom with possible ‘ghost’ stripes and no white. Onto his and Leafpool’s kits. Wait. I forgot Leafpool’s genes. I’ll just copy and paste them down here.
Leafpool: ‘XoXn, B-, DD, CC, LL, Aa, Tt, ss’
Crowfeather: ‘XnY, Bb1, Dd, CC, LL, aa, Tt, ss’
Lionblaze can be ‘XoY, Bb1, Dd, CC, LL, Aa, Tt, ss’ a ginger tabby shorthair with a black base coat and no white.
Jayfeather can be ‘XnY, Bb1, DD, CC, LL, aa, Tt,, ss’ or a black cat which might have ‘ghost’ stripes and no white.
Hollyleaf can be ‘XoXn, BB, Dd, CC, LL, Aa, Tt, ss’ a torbie she-cat with no white.
For me to look at any kits of Lionblaze’s I would have to do Cinderheart’s family tree as well and this is already pretty long so…

Lonekit out. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
P.S. If you know anything about cat genetics, please, please, please tell me.

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  • This was really interesting, but I do admit I skipped through a bit just because it was so long (not your fault). Sorry, I have no idea about cat genetics, but maybe this article could be helpful?

    I bet this is going to the spam monster.

  • I think genetics would be really fun to learn about, but I’ve got way to much going on to study them. When I get older, I think I might take a course in genetics. It would be so much fun to see why we look the way we do.

    • warning: the following ramble contains a high percentage of nerd and may be harmful to your health. many side effects include extreme boredom and maybe even sleep. proceed with caution

      Okay, so I definitely agree with most of the stuff in the second link but the first link just confuses me quite a bit 😛 I’m not saying it’s necessarily wrong per se, since I’m by no means an expert, but the only way I can figure out how the first statement on that link makes sense (Male kittens always obtain both color genes from the dam. The male offspring in a litter will always be either the color of the dam (or one of the colors in the case of parti-colors) or the dilute form of the dam’s color) is if all cat color genes with the exception of the dilution gene are found on the X chromosome, which definitely contradicts a lot of what I’ve read 😛 otherwise, the male cats would end up with a monosomy on all of their chromosomes (having one chromosome instead of a pair) which would probably make them incapable of being viable zygotes and the mother cat’s body would naturally abort them before they developed much.

      I suppose it’s possible that the majority of cat colors could be X-linked genes, but that seems very unlikely to me, since then the other incomplete dominant/codominant genes in the cat color genome (piebald markings and color point genes) would be unable to occur in their hybrid versions when male. That would imply that male mink (burmese and colorpoint genes mixed) and male cats with minimal white markings are extremely rare, and I’ve definitely seen plenty of male cats with minimal white markings.

      However, this concept is fascinating, and I will definitely look into it more 🙂 the book I read, the book of the cat, is a little outdated, so it is possible that the model of the cat color genome could have changed. horse genes did that to me a little bit 😛 it’s fascinating how much the models can change over time. Between the publishing of two books I read, they declared the seal brown gene the same as bay, revised how appaloosa is inherited, and ruled out the correlation between the shade of chestnut and the base under the chestnut!

      Overall, that first site just confuses me. Statement number 1 and 5 seem to directly contradict each other:

      1.)Male kittens always obtain both color genes from the dam. The male offspring in a litter will always be either the color of the dam (or one of the colors in the case of parti-colors) or the dilute form of the dam’s color. See the statement on dilutes for more information (see #21 & #24).
      5.)A kitten’s pattern can be inherited from either parent.

      Also, for one of the sources, it has the book I actually own and used to write my past articles (the book of the cat) listed, and the info in it definitely does not align with statement #1.

      In conclusion, I am now confused 😛 but on the other paw, I have something to research again which is always fun, so thank you for that!!

      i apologies for the long ramble no one asked for

  • Wait isn’t Leafpool tabby? And her father, Firestar? And her mother is really light tabby??
    Isn’t it easily possible for Lionblaze and Jayfeather to be tabby?

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