How we determine pet rarity

To make it easier to navigate when choosing a kitten for adoption, we introduced the concept of “rarity” and in this article we tried to write a brief explanation of what this or that type of rarity includes.

As a rule, it all comes down to an extraordinary combination of breed, color, and eye color. The more unique the combination, the higher the rarity group the kitten receives.

Two types of pigment are responsible for all the variety of colors that cats are known for:

pheomelanin - it ranges from red to yellow;

eumelanin - brown to black.

But what kind of pigments melanocytes will produce and how they will be distributed throughout the cat’s body are already responsible for many genes that can act in parallel, enhance each other’s work, or, conversely, compete.

When determining a kitten's rating, we highlight the following colors:

Agouti is a coloring in which the color is distributed evenly throughout the cat, but each individual hair is unevenly colored. The hairs are divided into several zones, which may not be colored (without melanin), colored with different degrees of intensity with darker eumelanin or lighter pheomelanin.

The monochromatic dark color of a cat means that each of its hairs is evenly colored with eumelanin or pheomelanin.

White color is the complete absence of pigment in the hair. In cats, a solid white color can be achieved in several ways. For example, if the enzyme for pigment synthesis does not work throughout the body (this is albinism, we will talk about it later) or if a mutation suppresses the pigmentation of cells.

Tortoiseshell is a mixture of orange and black. If a cat also has white spots, it is called a calico. But these colors are determined by the same genes.

The spots, stripes, and other patterns on a cat's coat are collectively called tabbies. There are four main types of tabbies:

- tabby mackerel, “brindle” - parallel vertical stripes;

- classic tabby, “marbled” - wide spiral stripes on the sides, spotted belly, ring-shaped stripes on the tail and paws and three stripes along the spine;

- spotted tabby, "leopard" - evenly spaced small spots throughout the body;

- ticked, or Abyssinian tabby - pattern only on the face, agouti hair on the rest of the body.

In some cats, the pigment is distributed throughout the body not in spots, but in a gradient - the further from the chest and abdomen, the darker. This color is called colorpoint and is found in Siamese and Burmese cats.

An experienced genetic engineer could try to combine individual patterns to create a truly designer cat—for example, one with chocolate-colored agouti hair arranged in marbled patterns. But this requires careful preparation, because some genes influence the work of others in a cunning way - just as Orange influences an agouti, leaving no chance of raising a uniformly red pet. In addition, the genetics of many colors (such as leopard) still remains a mystery - and it will take a lot of effort to ensure that there are no blank spots left in this story.

Next, let's look at all the cat eye color options. We've included eight typical eye colors found in a wide variety of cat breeds. And they were distributed according to a conditional rarity scale.

Yellow and Amber - Yellow eyes can range from a pale lemon yellow to a golden hue that fades to a deep, rich amber.

Hazel - Hazel eyes are a blend of green and golden yellow. This is the eye color of most wild cats in temperate regions, including Lynx and Bobcats.

Green - The green of a cat’s eyes can vary from a green with yellow undertones to a true green and a green mixed in with shades of blue. It’s also possible to see flecks of gold or yellow within the iris of a green-eyed cat.

Blue - Cats with blue eyes don’t have any melanin in their irises. Blue cats’ eyes are clear, but we see the blue color due to light reflecting around the curved sides of the irises. It sounds far-fetched, but it is true! Blue eyes can range from a pale sky blue to a deep and brilliant sapphire.

Orange - While it can sometimes be difficult to define the difference between a green eye with yellow flecks or a yellow eye with hints of green, there’s no confusion when it comes to orange cat eyes. This color was originally developed by British cat breeders who wanted an eye color that could stand out in vivid relief against any coat color.

Copper is the darkest eye color you’ll see in cats. Their eyes will be light brown with tones of red and orange. Sometimes there may be flecks of yellow, green, or orange. This is a rarer color than some others, and while it’s distinguishable from orange, it’s just as unusual.

Odd-Colored - The technical term for odd-colored eyes is heterochromia iridium, where each iris is a different color. This can be inherited, congenital, or because of an accident or injury. Odd-colored eyes are most often seen in white cats with the epistatic gene. Usually, one eye will be blue and the other green, hazel, yellow, or orange.

Dichroic Eyes - Cats with dichroic, or dichromatic, eyes will have a combination of two distinct colors within both eyes. This is stunning and very rare indeed! It’s caused by the cat having different melanin levels in distinct sections of their irises.

Thus, the combination of breed, rarity of color and rarity of eye color gives us the opportunity to generally understand the rarity of a particular kitten; for convenience, we marked them with special icons and highlighted them in color:
Classic matching of color, eye color and secondary characteristics for the current breed. You can be sure that a kitten with this badge is completely purebred and does not have significant natural dysfunctions, such as club feet, squint, etc.
This icon can be seen on kittens that have a non-standard color or a non-standard coat type for this breed. Usually these are kittens of special selection.
Very rare
Very rare
This badge can be seen on kittens that have a rare eye color that is not at all characteristic of this breed. Usually these are kittens either from designer selections or a happy exception to the rules during breeding. Since this parameter is extremely difficult to control, a kitten with this set of characteristics is considered extremely rare.
Ultra rare
Ultra rare
This badge can be seen in kittens that have a rare or non-standard color and a rare eye color that is not at all characteristic of this breed or are an exception within this breed. As a rule, such kittens are bred by professional geneticists and breeders with extensive experience. The combination of all these characteristics makes this kitten truly unique.