Do cats change color when they grow up?

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Usually a cat that is born of one color will have it like this forever, it is something that goes in the genes, as well as their eye color, their body structure and to a certain extent, their personality. However, various situations, such as age, race, diseases or specific moments can alter the appearance or color of the coat of our feline.

If you ask yourself: ¿why is my black cat turning orange?, ¿why is my cat changing color as it grows?, ¿Why is my cat's hair getting lighter or matte? or, in other words, ¿cats change color as they grow?, Keep reading this AnimalWised article in which we will explain all the reasons that can cause your cat's hair to have changed.

You may also be interested in: Do cat whiskers grow back? Index
  1. Can the color of cats change?
  2. The change of hair from a baby cat to an adult
  3. Change in your cat's hair due to stress
  4. Change in your cat's hair color from the sun
  5. Change in your cat's hair color due to poor nutrition
  6. Change in your cat's hair due to illness

Can the color of cats change?

The hair of cats, although by genetics it is established that it is of a certain color or colors, smooth, wavy, long, short, scarce or abundant, may suffer alterations that will modify their external appearance a bit, although internally nothing has changed.

Various reasons can make your little feline's hair look different. From environmental disturbances to organic disease.

Your cat's hair color can change by the following factors:

  • Age.
  • Stress.
  • Sun.
  • Bad nutrition.
  • Intestinal disease.
  • Renal disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • Endocrine disease.
  • Infectious disease.
  • Skin illness.

The change of hair from a baby cat to an adult

Although it depends on the breed, cats generally do not change color as they grow, only the tone is intensified or the baby hair is changed to the adult hair, but maintaining the color that is genetically inherited.

In certain breeds, the color of the cat's hair changes as they grow, for example:

  • Himalayan cat.
  • Siamese.
  • Khao manee.
  • Ural rex.

Himalayan and Siamese cats

The Siamese and Himalayan breeds have a gene that produces melanin (the pigment that colors hair) according to body temperature. So when they are born they are very light or almost white, because during pregnancy their entire body has presented the same body temperature as the mother's interior..

From birth, the gene is activated and begins to color the areas that usually have a lower temperature than normal body temperature. These areas are the ears, the tail, the face and the legs..

Cats in high summer temperatures may have a partial albinism in your body, as the temperature rises and the gene stops coloring these areas as your average body temperature increases (39 ºC).

On the contrary, when temperatures are very cold, the drop in body temperature can make the feline very dark..

Siamese twins can also develop a process called periocular leukotrichia, when hairs around the eyes turn white, depigmenting. This change can occur when the feline is poorly fed, is a pregnant female, kittens that grow very fast or when they have a systemic disease.

Khao manee cats

When born, khao manee cats have a dark spot on his head, but when a few months pass, this spot disappears and all the adult specimens are totally white.

Ural rex cats

Another example is ural rex cats, which they are born grayish and after the first molt they acquire the final color. In addition, at 3-4 months the wavy hair that characterizes the breed begins to grow, but it is not until 2 years of age that the change is complete and they acquire the phenotype of an adult ural rex..

Elderly cats

On the other hand, when cats are turning years old, with the natural aging process their hair can acquire a slight change in tonality and the appearance of gray hair. In those that are most often noticed is in black cats, which acquire a more grayish hue, and in oranges, which become more sandy or yellowish in color. These first gray hairs can appear from the age of 10.

Change in your cat's hair due to stress

Cats are especially sensitive to stress and any environmental or behavioral alteration of their close ones can be very stressful for them..

An episode of more or less severe stress in a cat can cause what is known as telogen effluvium, which consists in that more hair follicles than normal go from the anagen phase of growth to the telogen phase of fall. In addition to increased hair loss, coat color may vary, to some extent it tends to become paler or appear gray.

Change in your cat's hair color from the sun

The radiation of the solar rays affect the external appearance of the hair of our cats, in particular they affect the coloration and the structure of the same. Cats love to sunbathe and will not hesitate to lay in the sun, if they can, for a while every day. This makes the cat's hair is lowered in tone, lightening. So the black cats turn brownish and the orange ones somewhat yellowish. If they take too much sun the hair can become brittle and dry.

In addition to altering the color of the hair, the excess of solar ultraviolet rays can predispose to the formation of a tumor, squamous cell carcinoma, in white or almost white cats.

Change in your cat's hair color due to poor nutrition

Cats are carnivores, they need to consume animal tissue daily that offers the necessary protein amounts and all the essential nutrients that they can only obtain from this source. An example is the essential amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine. These amino acids are responsible for synthesizing melanin, the pigment that gives hair a dark color.

When a cat eats a diet deficient or low in animal protein, it develops nutritional deficiencies. Among them, phenylalanine or tyrosine deficiency and the cat's hair changes colorr. This is well seen in black cats, whose hair becomes reddish due to the lack of these nutrients and the consequent reduction in the production of melanin.

This reddish-orange color change in black cats can be seen in other nutritional deficiencies, such as zinc and copper deficiency..

Change in your cat's hair due to illness

When a well-fed dark cat that eats abundant animal protein begins to turn orange, problems at the level of intestinal absorption that explain the lack of the amino acid tyrosine or phenylalanine must be ruled out. These problems may be due to intestinal malabsorption, such as intestinal tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, and infectious enteritis.

Disorders in the secretion and production of bile acids from the liver or enzymes in the pancreas also hinder digestion and absorption of nutrients. Sometimes these processes, together with an inflammatory bowel disease, can appear together in the cat, being called feline triaditis.

Other diseases that cause alterations in the color of the hair, appearance or condition of the skin of our cats are the following:

  • Renal disease: in chronic kidney failure, our cats' hair tends to become matte, paler, drier and lifeless.
  • Liver disease: the liver is key in the transformation of the essential amino acid phenylalanine, obtained through the diet, into tyrosine. Due to this, a liver disease such as lipidosis, hepatitis or a tumor can affect the good functionality of this transformation and the black feline will turn orange..
  • Jaundice: the yellow coloration of the skin and mucous membranes of our feline can be due to a liver problem or hemolytic anemia and can sometimes be reflected in the hair, especially if the feline is light, turning yellowish to a certain extent.
  • Endocrine diseases: such as hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's syndrome) or hypothyroidism, less frequent in cats than in dogs, can alter the skin and hair of our cat. In these cases, the skin darkens, thins, loses hair (alopecia) or it becomes very brittle..
  • Atopic dermatitis: This allergic disease makes our cat's skin red and itching and excessive grooming can cause alopecia. It can also be as a result of ringworm or external parasites.
  • Vitiligo: it consists of a sudden or progressive change in the pigmentation of the skin and hair of small cats. In this case, the hair is depigmented, turning completely white. It is very rare, affecting less than 2 cats per 1000 and can be caused by the presence of antimelanocyte antibodies, which target melanocytes and inhibit melanin production and the consequent darkening of the hair. Makes your cat's hair color almost entirely white.

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