Smoke, Shaded, and Shell in Maine Coon Cats

Smoke, Shaded, and Shell in Maine Coon Cats – Simplified Explanation

Smoke, Shaded, and Shell are coat color patterns in Maine Coon cats caused by the “inhibitor gene” or “silver gene.” Each pattern varies in the amount of color left on the cat’s coat.

  1. Smoke, Shaded, and Shell in Maine Coon Cats
  2. Smoke: Smoke Maine Coons have a solid color coat with the inhibitor gene suppressing the color in the hair shaft. The hairs are dark (usually black) at the tips but have much lighter-colored bands near the bottom. Smoke Maine Coons have more than 33% of the hair ends colored.
  3. Shaded: Shaded Maine Coon cats have 33% or 1/3 of the hair ends colored. The coat shows a lesser degree of wide banding than a “shell” and more than a smoke.
  4. Shell: Shell Maine Coon cats have 12% or 1/8 of the hair ends colored.

Tarnishing and Wide Band Effect:

Tarnishing occurs when the inhibitor gene fails to completely block pigment, resulting in a breakthrough of reddish color. The wide band effect refers to the pale band between the pigmented tip and the follicle. The presence or absence of the inhibitor (silver) gene does not affect the wide band effect. Golden Shaded cats lack the inhibitor gene but have a shading pattern comparable to Silver Shaded cats.

Genetic Codes:

  • Non-agouti + Wide Band = Solid Color
  • Non-agouti + Wide Band + inhibitor gene = Smoke Pattern
  • Agouti + Wide Band = Golden series
  • Agouti + Wide Band + inhibitor gene = Silver series

Smoke, Shaded, and Shell in Maine Coon Cats

Inhibitor Gene:

The inhibitor gene is a dominant gene, which means a cat without this gene cannot carry it. Offspring can receive this gene from either parent, but at least one parent must have the gene. The inhibitor gene affects yellow pigment more than black pigment.

Genetic Codes for Coat Colors in Maine Coon Cats:

Coat Color Agouti Gene (A) Inhibitor Gene (I) Wide Band Effect Description
Solid Color Non-agouti (aa) No inhibitor (II) Present Solid color coat without wide band effect, non-agouti (Smoke)
Smoke Pattern Non-agouti (aa) Inhibitor (Ii) Present Smoke coat with dark tips and lighter bands near the bottom
Golden Series Agouti (A-) No inhibitor (II) Present Coat color with tabby markings (mackerel or blotched) and wide band effect
Silver Series Agouti (A-) Inhibitor (Ii) Present Coat color with tabby markings (mackerel or blotched) and wide band effect
Golden Shaded Agouti (A-) No inhibitor (II) Present Shaded pattern similar to Silver Shaded cats, but without the inhibitor gene
Silver Shaded Agouti (A-) Inhibitor (Ii) Present Shaded pattern with wide band effect and the inhibitor gene

Please note that this table provides a simplified explanation of coat color genetics in Maine Coon cats and does not cover all possible genetic combinations and variations. Coat color genetics can be quite complex, and professional breeders often use more detailed genetic analyses to understand and predict coat color outcomes.

Examples of Coat Colors:

Please note that the genetic codes mentioned are simplified, and cat coat color genetics can be quite complex and involve multiple interacting genes.