Learn more about the Persian
A Cinderella Story –
The History of Bicolor & Calico Persians
Bobara Pendergrast, Olde Calico Cattery
Originally published in the CFA Yearbook 1978
Perhaps, I need hardly mention that an orange with white is an orange spoilt, and that such a specimen would be neither shown nor bred from in England. Breeders in this country are far too prone to keep cats with more or less white on them, when, if they could only be made to see this subject in the right light, it is far better to chloroform such mismarked specimens or sell them entirely for pets than to keep them as breeding cats, thereby tending to ruin their strain both in value and reputation.
The above paragraph was printed from Cat Review, June 15, 1904, p.p. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and again printed in part in the 1965 CFA Yearbook. It was in an article concerning the breeding of orange (red) Persians and clearly shows us one fact; that Bi-colors have certainly been present from the beginning and born in the same litters as our solid Persians. Then why did the author advise they be chloroformed? One simple answer is – the color was not fashionable or popular at the time. So, because a healthy kitten was born with an unpopular coat color, it was sometimes put to sleep. How sad!
Further research showed us that in the United States Bi-Colored Persians were in CFA’s first stud books, and blue and white, and orange and white Persians are in show catalogues in the early 1900’s. Even though the color was not “in Vogue” a few breeders kept the gene alive. It can never be documented but the white spotting factor was probably carried down through the solid white Persian. The all white cat being the only solid that can mask a color or pattern. Looking through old cat magazines, such as The Cat Courier and old show catalogues, one sees at a glance the colors in Persians most seen were blues, whites, red tabbies, silvers, a few smokes and brown tabbies. The Cat Couriers in the early 1930’s makes only rare mention of creams, blue creams, or tortoiseshells. They, too, were not the “in color.” Therefore, the answer to the question, “Where did the Bi-Color and Calico come from?” does not require any dark, mysterious, or involved genetic answers. Quite simply, it was there at the beginning; however it was not the color that breeders wished to work with. It was, therefore, pushed aside for the time being.
Sometime in the late 1940’s, Mrs. Dorothy Anderson (Jay-Kay Cattery) in Cincinnati, Ohio, decided it was high time Calicoes were accepted for championship competition. In approximately 1951 she showed Calicoes as AOV’S, she wrote letters, talked with judges and did everything in her power to establish this beautiful color in the particolor class. It is safe to say she singlehandedly was responsible for the Calico being accepted for championship competition at the 1955 CFA Annual in Texas. Mrs. Anderson then proceeded to breed the first five Calico champions. The first champion was Jay Kay’s Lou Ann who later became a Quad Champion. Her second champion, Jay Kay’s Jeanamea was All American calico from the year 1957 through 1966. Bi-colors were not accepted with the Calicoes in 1955. Male and female Bi-colors were being born in the same litters as the Calicoes and yet could not be shown except in the AOV class.
I received my first Persian at this time as a gift for my ninth birthday. Ladybug was a beautiful silver, and about a year later I delivered her first litter (and mine) on my mother’s green satin down bedspread. I will never forget that! Needless to say neither will my mother! Despite this monumental occasion I entered my first serious breeding of Persians many years later. I with a blue female, and my sister, Margee Cotton (Cottonpatch Cattery) with a blue male she purchased. I realized before long that the patched cat was my favorite; but after acquiring several tortoiseshells I was still dissatisfied. One day I saw a picture of a calico Persian in a book and that was it! All I could think about was getting a calico. Little did I know how hard that would be! Months of letter writing and phone calls resulted in contact with Dorothy Anderson’s address, and I became the proud owner of a red and white bi-color male kitten, Jay Kay’s Baron of Olde Calico. At that time it was quite an accomplishment to acquire a cat of this color. In order to add to my breeding program I purchased a red female from Don Salamone and Doug Brenner. Glenorchy Elfyn of Wyldewood was bred by Augusta Clarendon, her sire was GR.CH. Larks-Purr Ruadh of Glenorchy and her dam Wyldewood Penelope, both red. The realization of what Elfyn would mean to my bloodline would not be fully apparent for years to come. Although not a show cat herself, she had the ability to produce type more than any female I have ever owned. She and her daughters, (three torties and four reds) were the foundation of my cattery. Elfyn did not have a long life but to this day my best kittens are still produced when line bred back to her. Her daughter, Ch. Olde Calico’s Chitty Bang-Bang (Tortie) was bred to Baron (red and white) and as a result my first calico was born. What a thrill when Chica-Boom made finals in her first kitten show.
In 1967 several other breeders began to show bi-colors in the AOV class with hope for their championship recognition. Barbara Tergeson (Ahl-Win Cattery) in New York City, showed her two imports, Ch. Pathfinder’s Poppysocks and Ch. Pathfinder’s Mistysign bred by Norah Woodifield in England. Mrs. Barbara Maier (Briargate Cattery) contacted a dozen or so bi-color breeders and organized the National Bi-Color Club (NBC). Mrs. Maier published a newsletter and with this began to roll the ball and snowball it did!
Let me digress a moment to explain about showing in the AOV class to those of you who have never had this experience. To present a new color to the cat fancy can be most exciting and satisfying; but at the same time dull and exasperating. There is virtually no competition when showing AOV’S. Most judges and breeders were helpful and encouraged us to show the bi-colors extensively. Even though type at this time left a lot to be desired, they had to be shown so that judges could become familiar with this color. Unfortunately, there were also a few whose comments made exhibitors feel like uninvited guests in the particolor class. Public acceptance of the bi-colors from the time the first one was shown was so great, that it was apparent that our cause was a worthwhile one. No new color or breed can endure the test of time unless their unique beauty merits it.
Miss Norah Woodifield was producing more calicoes and bi-colors than any other breeder in the world at this time. The cats were outstanding in their color, pattern, and unusual heavy bone. After I purchased several of her fine cats she sent me a picture of a black and white male, Pathfinder’s Tangle. His picture left me speechless! Our cat fancy had yet to see a bi-color such as this. I waited another year and then he was finally mine. His picture appeared in an ad in Cats Magazine prior to his arrival and we received over ninety letters in two weeks. Tangle was indeed the big bicolor breakthrough! Tangle was shown once in October, 1970, as an AOV. There was overwhelming praise from the judges as well as the public. They praised his outstanding bone, body, and pattern. At long last, we felt at home with the particolors. The bi-colors were accepted for championship competition in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 13, 1970. Tangle was scheduled to appear before the CFA board, and on that same morning he lost his life in a fire along with fourteen other cats in our cattery. This was the moment of the bi-color’s greatest achievement, yet the saddest day in my life.
Mrs. Jane Martinke had been one of the strongest opponents for the recognition of bi-colors. She voiced her opposition to the CFA board and in articles written for Cats Magazine. It must be recorded, however, that Mrs. Martinke’s fairness to them in the show ring once they were accepted for competition was greatly admired. In her last show, her longhair finals included a blue-cream and white as Best Open and Fifth Best Cat.
Now that bi-colors no longer had to be shown as AOV’S, breeders who had been unwilling to show until championship status was achieved came forward. Many breeders, both novice and experienced, became interested in the brilliant colors of these Persians. Type quickly improved and in the 1973 show season, Susan Ellsworth (Vogue Cattcry) made history by producing CFA’s first bi-color Grand Champion – GR.CH. Vogue’s Sunny Side Up, a beautiful cream and white male. Sunny paved the way for the future bi-color grands. The 1974 show season produced CFA’s first calico Grand Champion, GR.CH. Beirut’s Wildfell. Ironically, it took twenty years to produce the first calico Grand (since their acceptance in 1955) but it took only three years to produce the first bi-color Grand (since their acceptance in 1970). This proved the enormous interest that developed in these colors. In the same year a black and white male, GR.CH. Beirut’s Hail to Reason, bred and owned by Dorothy Akers, made grand. In the following year, 1975, only one bi-color made Grand, GR.CH. Olde Calico’s Artful Dodger, a black and white male, breeder/owner, Bobara Pendergrast. In 1976 we celebrated America’s bicentennial and we also observed the bi-color boom! This year five bicolors and one calico gained their Grand Championship. Bill and Gayle Lee (Lee’s Cattery) presented a blue and white kitten to the cat fancy. Lee’s Chief White Cloud was to be the first bicolor to place in CFA’s national kitten awards. His excellent type, perfect pattern, and winning personality charmed both the judges and the audience. Chiefie became second best kitten of CFA National and took thirty-one best kitten awards in twelve shows.
In forty-eight rings he took forty-six final wins. He granded in two shows at nine months of age. The Lee’s also produced the only calico to grand in 1976, GR.CH. Lee’s Sugar and Spice. GR.CH. Lee’s Apricot Brandy Alexander, a cream and white male with extreme type, huge round eyes, and heavy bone granded at nine months of age in two shows. Brandy was to be the first bi-color to place in CFA’s Top Twenty. He was awarded fourth best cat nationally. Brandy received fifty-two Best Cat wins and in two shows was Best Cat across the board. His litter brother, GR.CH. Lee’s Huckleberry Finn, a red and white male, owned by Eleanor Pittman, granded on the west coast. The bi-color grands had all been males until 1976 when the first female bi-color granded, I bred a cream and white female, GR.CH. Olde Calico’s Milk N’ Honey, who was sold to Kathy and Walt Cycak and beautifully shown by them in the southern region. At the same time, in the midwest region GR.CH. Olde Calico’s Crackerjack, a red and white male, granded, also bred by Bobara Pendergrast and owned by Lynn Johnson. During the next show season another female bi-color granded. A red and white, GR.CH. Olde Calico’s Cherry Bounce, bred by Bobara Pendergrast, owned by Cathy Green and Paul Rogers. GR.CH. Darcy’s Most Happy Fella, also a red and white, bred and owned by Kathleen Mayer attained his grand this same year. Beirut’s Bold Ruler of Clareway, a black and white male, bred by Dorothy Akers, and owned and shown by Clare Johnson on the west coast made the 3rd Grand Champion for 1977.
The year 1978 was another big one for the calico and bi-color with the following six making Grands: GR.CH. Lee’s Scrum-Dilly-icious became the first blue-cream and white to grand, bred and owned by the Lee’s. A few weeks later another blue-cream and white, GR.CH. Rothgeb’s Bonnie of Lelabelle, bred by Beth Webb and owned by Linda Bedsole in the southern region granded. Two calicos made grand: GR.CH. Lee’s Painted Doll, bred and owned by the Lee’s, and GR.CH. Satterlee’s Todi, bred and owned by Charles Satterlee. Mrs. Eleanor Pittman showed a black and white female to her grand, GR.CH. Beruit’s Bint Ibn Caliph, bred by Dorothy Akers. GR.CH. Clareway Cheers another lovely black and white female also granded on the west coast. Cheers was bred and owned by Clare Johnson.
After May 1, 1978, a black and white male, GR.CH. Lee’s Super Sugar Crisp, bred and owned by Bill and Gayle Lee attained grand.
The 1978-1979 show season promises to be a very exciting one. Bi-colors are prominent in all the show reports. GR.CH. Clareway Cheers has been shown since May 1, 1978, making many finals and several best Cat wins. Another beautiful black and white female, Arahn’s Arabesque, took a best Cat award in her first show at 10 months of age. In her second show she made all four finals including two Best Cats as an open. Arabesque was bred and is owned by Seymour Lazerowitz.
Kalico Rainbo’s Front Page News lived up to her name when she made all four finals and third best kitten in the Best of the Best at the largest show of the year, The Empire Cat Show in New York City. She is a calico bred and owned by Kathy and Walt Cycak.
To date, there are twenty Grand Champion calicos and bi-colors. This includes every color in both sexes with the exception of a blue and white female. It follows that this spot will be filled soon and the list will continue to grow. As we progress we will begin to see the Van shown more frequently and then, hopefully, the first Van Grand Champion. If anything can be more eye catching than the bi-color, and calico, it surely must be the Van.
Perhaps in years to come there will be additional information available on the genetics of white spotting. At this time there is hardly more than a few paragraphs in any one book concerning the breeding of calicos and bi-colors. The main reason one can not find research material about white spotting is because to date the hard facts are not known. There are few facts, and a great deal of guesswork, and a lot of probabilities. As a breeder, I would like to share some of the observations I have recorded over the past thirteen years. I have kept a close watch over every kitten born in my cattery, my sister’s cattery, and others who are breeding calicos and bi-colors. I watch particularly for pattern inheritance and degrees of white spotting. I have arrived at some definite conclusions, and will continue to study and learn about others. The following chart does not involve complicated genetic symbols as they are too difficult to understand.
To start one must study the chart carefully in order to become familiar with the degrees of white spotting. This chart was very carefully prepared after studying over 400 litters of spotted kittens and considered as accurate as possible to date. The solid white cat has been excluded which leaves the eight degrees of white spotting. Also excluded is the solid with only a locket or perhaps a small button. We all should know that any solid color Persian can produce a kitten with a small locket. This usually happens when there are no bi-colors anywhere in the background. On the other hand, it could happen to a solid born in bi-color litters. The locket has appeared in solid bloodlines for many years; long before the bi-color became popular and was introduced into solid lines. It is, therefore, unlikely that the bi-color can be held responsible for the appearance of lockets. It is now a popular belief that it is the result of an entirely different genetic factor.
This chart was devised to help the breeder produce better marked bi-colors and calicos; patterns that will come as close as possible to our standard. It must be understood that not every bi-color or calico will be marked similar to one of these; but they should be close. For example, your cat might fall just in between four and five, etc.
To continue, No.1 being the lowest degree of white spotting in carrying very little white on the top side and not much more on the underside. The face will usually have only a white splash. The undersides of No. 1 should have a full white bib but the white on the underside will be a very narrow line normally ending near the belly button. The lower undersides being colored rather htan white, the front legs may only have white on the feet. No. 1 really carries too little white to be used successfully in a breeding program unless the type is excellent, but even then it presents a risk. We must remember that pattern is extremely hereditary. No. 1 should always be bred to another bi-color rather than solid.
At first glance No. 2 appears to have an adequate amount of white; however, this is very deceiving. You will notice there can be an inverted V blaze on the face and the white has now extended further up the front legs although they usually will have some patching. The undersides of this degree will have more white than No. 1 but most of the time it will divide at the middle with color, then the lower undersides will be white. The white still has not extended much higher on the back legs and No. 2 still is not a good choice for breeding expecially if crossed to solids.
No. 3 is finally getting close to our standard. This cat will have a good inverted V and for the first time we have a full collar. Front legs can be all white or nearly so with maybe a couple of small patches of color. The white on the underside has widened to cover most of the undersides. The only white No. 3 lacks is the back legs. White may be extended further up on the hind legs than No. 2, but not all the way up. We still have not achieved the nice saddle. The white is easiest to acquire on the front of the cat first. The white high on the back legs is very hard to accomplish. No. 3 when bred to a solid will usually produce kittens marked like No. 2.
No.4 is perfect! Now we have it! The symmetrical balance of white to color. A beautiful high inverted V, all white front legs, wide collar, and finally a saddle. The white has now extended all the way to the hips on the back legs. Now something else has happened, a white spot has appeared on the top of the back. This patch of white can be from a few sprinklings of white hairs to a spot the size of the palm of the hand. It is a very important patch, along with the white up high on the back legs, it denotes a bi-color that can safely be crossed to solids and for the most part still reproduce its pattern.
As we continue to No. 5 we see a big change. White has taken over as predominant color. There are quite a lot of differences in No. 4 and No. 5 but there also can be an overlapping of these two patterns. In this degree we have suddenly lost the collar. More patching again appears on the legs and the color has become definite divided patches on the top of the back. The underside again should be all white with an occasional button spot of color. Sometimes the undersides of the back legs will be colored as if the cat has pants on. This cat in an excellent choice if one is going to cross solids as it should produce kittens marked similar to No. 4 and No. 5 Most breeders and judges alike would like to see bi-colors marked as No. 4 and calicos to always appear as No. 5. Since the two are littermates, one cannot expect the calicos to always appear as No. 5 and the bi-colors as No. 4. More realistically it would seem either No. 4 or No. 5 would fall within the standard and would make a very attractive calico or bi-color. My personal preference is No. 4 for both the calico and bi-color as the calico with the No. 4 saddle pattern still will have good patching with the white splash and saddle. It is actually the most balanced of all the patterns. Those who prefer the “more white” calico similar to No. 5 (a very flashy calico) will just have to accept the bi-color littermates with this much white.
We follow to No. 6 where the white is now taking over. More white on the back and the most dramatic change is the split color on the head. If this cat was produced from two bi-colors (or calico) then it has the chance to reproduce as the Van. One could not be certain until it was bred several times to solid color. No. 6 carries too much white to fit the standard but if type is good, this is a striking pattern and could be shown; however, faulted for incorrect pattern, just as No. 1 and No. 2 would be.
No. 7 is the pattern of the newly accepted bi-color or calico Van. No. 7 will probably always breed as a Van but has a few body spots that usually appear near the shoulders or hips. The tail color will extend onto the body somewhat, this is called tail extension color as opposed to a separate body patch.
No. 8 is a perfectly marked Van. The color is confined to the extremities: head, tail, and some leg spots. There is no doubt that this pattern will produce only calicos and bi-colors. This fact makes the Van a very important part of any bi-color breeding program, especially when solids are used. Since the Van breeds genetically different, I will refer to patterns No. 1 through No. 5 as standard bi-colors and calicos.
It is very important to consider ratio and pattern inheritance. When you purchase your first bi-color or calico give special attention to pattern. Naturally, the most desirable pattern in your male would be the Van. Vans are very scarce at this time and, therefore, difficult to obtain. You might have to consider another pattern. One suggestion is a male marked as No. 4 or possibly a higher number. Females should also be marked well; but the male will be the most important as he will be bred to all of your queens. Please remember that good type is an important factor in choosing any cat for breeding. We have all heard the expression, “Build the house before you paint it.” This is true in most cases; but when dealing with a pattern that is hereditary, it would be better if we could try and “paint the house as it is being built.”
The question most frequently asked is, “How many bi-colors can you expect from a solid to bi-color cross?” The expected ratio in an average litter of four would be two bi-colors to two solids. This will only balance out over a large number of breedings. Similarly, when two bi-colors or calicos (other than Vans) are bred, you would expect one solid, two bi-colors and one Van. As stated before, when a Van is bred to a solid, all offspring will be standard bi-colors. When a Van is bred to a standard bi-color, two Vans and two standard bi-colors should result. A Van bred to a solid cannot produce a Van. In theory, when a Van is bred to a Van, all offspring will be Vans, but to my knowledge this has not yet been tried. Pattern inheritance is a very tricky subject. To date, there is no conclusive evidence as to the mechanics. I can only tell you what I have seen through my own breeding experience. My observations are only generalities as there are always exceptions in a subject as complex as white piebald spotting.
Use of Solids
One sees from the above ratios that the use of solids produces far more solids than most bi-color breeders would like to have. Years ago, type was so poor on the bi-colors that solids had to be used extensively. One can see by the pictures shown in this article that type has improved so greatly that by careful selection solids should no longer be needed. If solids are to be used, any color solid (this includes torties and blue-creams) is appropriate except perhaps the solid white. The white of the solid white cat presents an entirely different genetic makeup than the white on the bi-color. The use of the solid white will not increase the white on the bi-color offspring. The result that follows is a litter of mostly all white kittens. If you are very fortunate you may get one bi-color in four. Perhaps the primary reason that the white is not the best choice is that one-half of the all white kittens will carry the bi-color gene and no one can tell which one is carrying it until they are bred.
OTHER SOLIDS CANNOT CARRY THE BI-COLOR GENE. A red, black, etc, for example, born from bi-color parents will breed as any other solid from solid background. One should also avoid the use of tabbies or the smoke gene unless you intend to start a breeding program with these colors.
Many beautiful solids have been produced from bi-color breedings and are making their grand championships. A very typey red female CH. Zion’s Hot T’Molly was fourth best kitten in the North Atlantic region. She was bred by Barb Warshefski and owned by Barb Warshefski and Kathleen Mayer. Her sire was a red and white, GR.CH. Darcy’s Most Happy Fella, and her dam a calico, CH. Zion’& Sassy Face. GR.CH. Kalico Rainbo’s Pot O’Gold is a beautiful bluecream that has a cream and white dam, GR.CH. Olde Calico’s Milk and Honey, breeder/owner Kathy and Wait Cycak. GR.CH. Lee’s Candy Bar, a lovely tortie, has a red and white sire, CH. Lee’s Candy Man, breeder/owner, Bill and Gayle Lee. GR.CH. Olde Calico’s Pzazz, another bluecream, has a calico dam, Olde Calico’s Americana, and I’m sure this will happen more frequently in the future.
One of the most difficult questions to answer is, “How do I produce a well-marked pattern?” The surest answer is to start with well-marked cats as they usually reproduce themselves. If you have been unable to do this and perhaps own bi-colors with insufficient amounts of white, your task is difficult at best. Many people mistakenly assume that by breeding a cat with “not enough” white (such as No. 2) to a well-marked cat (such as No. 4) you will increase the amount of white on all their kittens. I have found, however, the offspring which are standard bi-colors often half will be marked like the sire and half like the dam. Instead of the white increasing on all the kittens, the pattern tends to repeat itself from each of the parents. Although I’m not sure why, many times it helps to breed a poorly marked bi-color to a dilute solid or bi-color rather than dominant. For example, a No. 2 pattern should produce more white on it’s offspring when bred to a blue or cream as opposed to a black or red.
Facial markings can also be hereditary. I have seen males consistently throw the same type markings on their kittens’ faces. Even though the inverted V is preferred in the standard, some breeders would rather have a variety of facial marks such as a colored chin as opposed to white or an occasional spot on the muzzle. Whatever your preference, remember that the cats you choose to breed from will probably throw their facial marks; but this will not be important as the amount of white on the body. A saddle (white up high on back leg) and full, wide, white on the underside, should be much more important than a cat that might possess a perfect inverted V and collar, but still not enough white on the body to pass on good pattern to offspring.
The way to produce the No. 8 Van is to cross two well marked (No. 4 or No. 5) cats. When a Van results from crossing two poorly marked bi-colors (for example, No. I through 3) his pattern will usually include body spots. Our standard for Vans allows a few small body spots. but more than this could result in a transfer to the standard bi-color class, Since the Van crossed to solids will produce only standard bi-colors, what kind of pattern can it be expected to produce? Probably he will mask a pattern from either his dam or sire. When purchasing a Van you should look closely at his parents. If they are not well marked even though you have acquired a Van he could throw poorly marked kittens. A mistaken idea is that owning a Van will cure your pattern problems. Unless he is from well-marked parents, he will produce all bi-colors, but not necessarily well-marked ones.
From the previous discussion it is obvious that a typey, No. 8, male Van from parents marked as No. 4 or No. 5 would be unequaled in value to any bi-color breeding program.
Obviously, much more research is needed and I would hope that my observations will encourage qualified researchers to further study piebald spotting.
Persian Vans Accepted for Championship Competition
My first Van was a red and white male born around 1971. He was marked as No. 8 and his offspring were closely watched for many years He was bred mostly to solids and, of course, never produced a solid. We then observed the breedings of several other Vans. Breeders during this period commonly called Vans, “Harlequins.” Harlequins were shown in the AOV class until their acceptance in October, 1977, at the New Jersey board meeting. Prior to their acceptance, there was some opposition to the name “Harlequin” mainly because some felt it denoted a spotted animal such as the harlequin Great Dane. Dick Gebhardt suggested the name “Van” in relation to the pattern of the Turkish Van. Although it will be hard for some of us to get in the habit of calling the cats “Vans” instead of “Harlequins,” it was well worth the change to have these outstanding colors recognized for championship competition.
To conclude the subject of pattern inheritance, I would like to comment on the term “tortie and white.” The word “calico” is exclusively American and denotes a cat which is white with red and black patches, similar to No. 4 or No. 5 on our chart. The term “tortie and white” is English or European and denotes a cat which is white with red and black patches, also similar to No. 4 or No. 5 on our chart. The American calico standard and the English tortie and white standard are virtually identical. Some members of the cat fancy have suggested a new class called “tortie and white” which would be composed of calicos with insufficient amounts of white similar to No. I or No. 2 on the chart. There is no reason to make a different class for these cats since they are genetically identical to other calicos. Solid color Persians are genetically denoted as ss. Standard bi-color and calicos are denoted Ss. The so-called “tortie and white” is still Ss. The only difference is an improper amount of white in relation to our standard. One of the reasons some people feel the so-called “tortie and white” is genetically different is the addition of cream to the coat. However, I would point out that whenever red appears on the undersides of a cat it will be many shades lighter or cream. It would be absurd to call a solid red “red and cream” simply because it’s underside hair was many shades lighter. So, on an improperly marked calico, in the absence of sufficient white, there will naturally be more black and red and where this red appears on the undersides it will appear as cream. In no way does this suggest a genetic difference. It is also strikingly apparent that a single cat cannot phenotypically express both dilute and dominant colors. Their second contention is that the more brindled coat pattern as opposed to well defined patches proves genetic differences. The fact is the amount of white determines the degree of patching. Naturally, a cat with insufficient white would display more brindling. Again, no genetic difference.
If a class should be formed for mismarked calicos and be called “tortie and whites,” I would assume they would be marked as No. I and No. 2 degrees. What would we do with our bi-color litter mates marked as No. I and No. 2? Should we form yet another class for mismarked bi-colors? All standards are written as the perfect example for the breed and color described. I would suggest that instead of forming a class for mismarked calicos, that breeders strive to improve pattern and produce as close to the standard as possible. All bi-color breeders will at one time or another have a kitten born with excellent type and improper color. I feel this cat should be shown and, if the judge sees fit, faulted for color pattern just the same as that same judge would fault a blue-cream, etc., whose patching was not correct. This would only be fair to all.
The Future of Calicos and Bi-Colors
The popularity of bi-colors and calicos is growing stronger every day. In 1975 a specialty club was formed for these colors in Northern New Jersey. The Persian Bi-color and Calico Society holds monthly meetings and hosted a genetic seminar in 1976. The club has around sixty members from all over the United States. Kathy Cycak is the current secretary, and those interested in the club should write to her at: RD 3, Box 319, Freehold, New Jersey, 07728.
In years to come, bi-colors may be seen in even more colors. There could be black smoke and whites, cameo and whites, and this past year a silver and white was shown as an AOV in the Empire Cat Show. Introducing a new color to the bi-color should not be taken lightly and a well planned breeding program should be carefully studied. For a very long time I wanted to work with the brown tabby and white. In recent years this has been a large part of of my breeding program. This may be one of the hardest colors and patterns to breed. One not only has to keep the proper amount of white, but at the same time keep the intricate tabby pattern and color. Then, most important to top it off with good type. Even though it has been difficult, the development of the brown tabby and white has been most exciting.
Over ten years ago, Mrs. Virginia Coughlin (CO-MC Cattery) famous for her brown tabbies, wrote an article about her “brownies” which appeared in the CFA News. I would like to include for you the last paragraph of her article as it did so much to encourage me when bi-colors were in their infancy.
“Seeing the brownies improve in just a few short years should challenge all newcomers in the cat fancy. There are many lagging color classes that cry out for dedicated interested breeders. It is my hope that someone will pick up the torch and restore these seldom seen colors to their place in the sun.”
Yes, bi-colors and calicos have come a long way since 1904. May they live happily ever after!