Colorpointed Cats Transition: Ragdoll Cats

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Fiyero, blue point mitted with a blaze, loved by Cynthia IMG_0273
Fiyero, blue point mitted with a blaze, loved by Cynthia I

How Colorpoint Cats Change the Color of their Fur Over Time

Throughout their lives, color-pointed cats change their coloration pattern quite a bit. The process of this change is extremely interesting and it is entirely based on genetics. In fact, it is a mutation that leads to their coloration to begin with.

This mutation is temperature sensitive and it affects an enzyme in the metabolic pathway between tyrosine and the final pigment. As a result, pigment production becomes dependent on the cat’s body temperature. Higher temperatures will inhibit production, while lower ones will allow it.

Color-pointed cats have darker extremities (with various patterns) because their body temperature is lower in these areas. They present lighter fur on the rest of their bodies because the local temperature is higher there.

However, please note that temperature distribution over the cat’s body depends on a wide variety of factors. As such, it varies from one individual to another, but also throughout the cat’s life. This local temperature map is one of the reasons why there is a very large diversity of color-pointed cats.

Holden Clawfield, much loved Lilac Lynx Ragdoll from Australia MG_9169
Holden Clawfield, much loved Lilac Lynx Ragdoll from Australia

Changes in Body Temperature Determine a Change in Color

Since color-pointed cats are genetically wired to change their color due to fluctuations in their body temperature, they are essentially a living heat map. Here a few of the factors that typically cause these fluctuations and what you can expect:

Age

Body temperature varies greatly with age. Young cats have alert metabolisms, which keeps their temperature up. In fact, the areas in their extremities which are colder are rather small. With age, their metabolism slows down, which causes their body temperature to go down with it. This is when the first changes in color can be noticed in a color-pointed cat, as they will get darker.

Depending on the specific genetic background of the cat, this could mean that the darker areas in the extremities will get larger, that the lighter area will also get darker, or even both. When cats reach old age, their body temperature falls, both in their extremities and systemically. As a result, the darkening of the fur is more intense in senior cats.

To give you a better idea of just how much color-pointed cats can change fur color as they reach adulthood, here are some pictures where you can observe the differences between kittens and adults.

You will notice that the fur from both front and hind legs gets darker over time, as well as the fur on their heads. The areas around the nuzzle and the ears will get darker as the cats age. However, how much darker these get depends entirely on the individual. These pictures will show you the delightful variation of this color change among colorpoints. Enjoy!

Weeks ago, I posted this on Facebook – and then got several submissions to include in this post.

Seal Transitions

Dean Merlin Winchester of Rags2Riches - 8 mos old Seal Mitted loved by Theresa IMG_2147
Dean Merlin Winchester of Rags2Riches – 8 mos old Seal Mitted loved by Theresa
Zachariah a Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat, loved by Laurie
Theodore Roosevelt, a Mink seal mitted 18lb boy, loved by Kristen
Theodore Roosevelt, a Mink seal mitted 18lb boy, loved by Kristen
Honey, a Seal Mink Mitted Ragdoll cat at 5 months and one year, loved by Debra
Honey, a Seal Mink Mitted Ragdoll cat at 5 months and one year, loved by Debra
Ragdoll cat Seal Mink Mitted Pickles loved by Virginia
Ragdoll cat Seal Mink Mitted Pickles loved by Virginia
Ragdoll cat Seal Mink Mitted Pickles loved by Virginia baby photo to adult
Ragdoll cat Seal Mink Mitted Pickles loved by Virginia
Dylan at 2 months and 2 years. Dylan is a seal mink mitted ragdoll.
Dylan at 2 months and 2 years. Dylan is a seal mink mitted ragdoll.
Tessa is a seal bicolor loved by Cynthia
Harley, a Seal Bicolor Ragdoll cat, loved by Debi
Harley, a Seal Bicolor Ragdoll cat, loved by Debi
Ragdoll Cat Seal Point Bicolor Kitten to Adult
Lisa’s girl Abby
Seal point bicolor
3.5 months and 8.5 months.
Ragdoll Cat Seal Point Bicolor Kitten to Adult loved by Mary
Pippin, a seal bicolor Ragdoll cat, loved by Mary
Binx a purrfect seal colorpoint Ragdoll cat loved by His family
Binx, a purrfect seal colorpoint Ragdoll cat, loved by His family!
Shelby, a Seal Tortie Bicolor Ragdoll cat, loved by Joel and Tammy
Shelby at 4 months and 2 years
Boo, a seal point lynx Ragdoll cat at 7-8 weeks and at 14 months loved by Lorrie
Boo, a seal point lynx Ragdoll cat at 7-8 weeks and at 14 months loved by Lorrie

Blue Transitions

Sam Dallas Winchester of Rags2Riches – 8 mos old Blue Mitted loved by Theresa
Fiyero, blue point mitted with a blaze, loved by Cynthia IMG_0273
Fiyero, blue point mitted with a blaze, loved by Cynthia

Hunter, a Blue Mitted Ragdoll cat at 8 months and two years two months, loved by Debra

Leo, a Blue Mitted Ragdoll cat, loved by Joel and Tammy
Leo, a Blue Mitted Ragdoll cat, loved by Joel and Tammy

Leo at 4 months and 2 years
Ragdoll Cat Jeffrey at 2 months and 18 moths old Blue Mitted with a blaze
Ragdoll Cat Jeffrey at 2 months and 18 moths old (Blue Mitted with a blaze) loved by Stacey
Hugo Blue Lynx Bicolor owned by Tonia
Hugo Blue Lynx Bicolor owned by Tonia
12 weeks old to 3 years old! Chloe, a mitted blue color point with blue eyes loved by Erica Litchfield
12 weeks old to 3 years old! Chloe, a mitted blue color point with blue eyes loved by Erica Litchfield
12 weeks old to 3 years old! Thumper, a mitted blue color point with blue eyes and a small blaze loved by Erica Litchfield
12 weeks old to 3 years old! Thumper, a mitted blue color point with blue eyes and a small blaze loved by Erica Litchfield
Ragdoll Cat Blue Mitted Lynx Mink Napa at 5 months and 4 years old
Napa at 5 months and 4 years old. He’s a Blue Mitted Lynx Mink. Loved by Lynn

While it is perfectly normal for colorpointed kittens to get darker points as they enter adulthood and as they get older, there are other reasons why adults might change their points throughout their lives. Here are a few of them:

Local Injuries

When a cat suffers local injuries like scratches, bumps, and bruises, scar tissue is formed. In these areas, the body temperature will be slightly lower because the tissue will not be as efficient in conducting heat. As a result, color-pointed cats will get darker fur in the areas where they suffered these injuries.

Diseases

Diseases cause dramatic temperature fluctuations in a cat’s body. A large number of acute diseases cause fever, while chronic diseases usually lead to a general decrease in the cat’s body temperature. These changes will be visible in color-pointed cats, at least to a certain degree. If the temperature change is maintained for a longer period of time, then the pigment changes will have the time to come up.

Do you have a color-pointed cat? Have you noticed the color of its fur changing over time? Tell me about it in the comments section below and share your pictures with our readers.

Comments (8)

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  1. SUPER PAWESOME & INFORMATIVE POST, Jenny!! It is ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING about the color transitioning with the Ragdoll breed! SOOOO AMAZING!!! LURVE the GREAT EDUCATION about it and the pics are fabulous!!! 🙂 <3

    Great job with this one, hon! Truly! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  2. When my late baby Gandalf the Grey was older we would get him the lion cut in the Summer months. As his coat grew back in, every other year his back would shift between being all white to almost all greyand then back to almost all white the following year. My lil kaleidoscope! He was a blue mitted boy.

    Great article Jenny, very informative & oh all those precious colorful fluffy snuggly babies!! <3 <3

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