Have you ever seen a black smoke cat? I have never had the pleasure and there is a high probability that you too have only seen these intriguing cats on Instagram.
If this is not the case and you actually get the chance to become the proud cat owner of a black smoke cat – you’re lucky! They are extremely rare and very beautiful due to their unique coat pattern!
Their appearance has earned them the nickname ‘Black Angels’. Why you may ask?! Well, their outer coat is completely black, but their undercoat is white!
Continue reading to find out more interesting facts and learn about the character traits of black smoke cats!
What Is A Black Smoke Cat?
A black smoke cat is not a specific breed of cat; it is any cat with a coat that is completely black on the surface, with a white undercoat.
To be more specific, the section of the hair strand closest to the skin is completely white, while the outermost section is completely black.
This creates an extremely interesting effect because they only reveal their white layer when they move or when you get a close-up look at their coat while petting them.
Is Black Smoke A Cat Breed?
To make it clear, black smoke cats are not a distinct cat breed but rather the name given to a coat pattern!
Different cat breeds may have this smoke effect on their fur, but it is mostly observed in long-haired cats. Examples of cat breeds known to have members with this black smoke coat effect are:
• Maine Coon (long-haired)
• Persian Cat (long-haired)
• Egyptian Mau (short-haired)
• Siberian Cat (long-haired)
• Norwegian Forest Cat (long-haired)
• Turkish Angora (long-haired)
As you can see, most of these cats are long haired, which makes sense, right? If a cat has very short fur, the smoke effect could not be clearly observed.
It is much easier to observe it in long-haired breeds, as the change from white fur on the inside towards black fur on the outside is much more noticeable.
Smoke – A Coat Effect!
A smoke cat does not have solid colored hair strands. Their roots are completely white, and only the tips are colored (there are several possible colors for the outer coat).
The emphasis must be on the white roots! If the roots are simply a bit lighter than the outer layer (but not completely white), then the cat in question is not a smoke cat!
Another feature of the smoke effect in longhaired cats that doesn’t occur as much in shorthair cats is that they often have a body part that is entirely white.
For example – smoke Maine Coon cats have longer fur around their necks and in smokes,that area is also white.
What Is The Outer Fur Color Of Smoked Cats?
There are several types of smoke cats, depending on the color of the outer coat:
• Black Smoke Cat – this is a solid black cat whose roots are completely white
• Blue Smoke Cat – this is a solid blue (gray) cat whose roots are completely white
• Red Smoke Cat – this is an orange cat, with white roots
• Cream Smoke Cat – this is a cream cat, with white undercoat
• Tortie Smoke Cat – this is a cat that has patches of coat that are either red-toned or black
Tortie cats deserve a little extra comment here!. Firstly, the name tortie is short for tortoiseshell. This is because the mixed color pattern is reminiscent of a tortoise shell. Another interesting fact about Tortie cats is that they are almost exclusively females (just like calico cats!).
How Long Does It Take For The Smoke Effect To Be Observed?
Smoke kittens do not display this smoke effect immediately after birth. It actually takes months for the undercoat to develop, and only then you can see if the cat is smoked or not.
Kittens often undergo drastic color changes as they develop. They can be very dark and then start getting lighter fur, or be born very light and then gradually turn a darker color.
When Will I Know If My Cat Is A Black Smoke Cat?
You might not even know you have a black cat – they can be silver/gray for several months and gradually develop a black coat. Or you can have a black kitten that suddenly develops patches of brown.
Essentially, it’s a waiting game! Breeders that try to breed specifically smoked cats have to deal with this all the time.
The black smoke color is not easy to observe. The undercoat should start to show anywhere from week 3 up until week 12. At this point, you should have a clearer idea whether or not your cat is smoked or not.
In some cases, it takes a couple of years for the coat coloration process to be complete. Only then will you be able to see if your cat is smoked or not.
The Genetics Of Smoked Cats – How Come Only Roots Are White?
Are you interested in the biology behind this interesting coat pattern? If you are, read on!
Three genes are involved in the development of a smoke pattern:
• Non-agouti gene/non-tabby gene (has recessive alleles/variants of the gene )
• Silver gene, also known as Inhibitor gene (has dominant alleles)
• Wide band genes (multiple interacting genes – polygenes)
What Is The Role Of These 3 Genes?
The role of the non-agouti gene is allowing the hairs to be solid (of one color only), without the alternating bands of color characteristic of tabby cats.
The role of the Inhibitor gene is to allow the pigment to be ONLY at the tip of the hair, while restricting the pigment at the root of the hair.
This leads to only the roots being white, while the outer portion of the hair carries the color.
The width of the white portion is determined by the wide band genes.
Which Genetic Combinations Make The Smoke Pattern?
Essentially, the smoke pattern is made by 2 recessive non-agouti alleles, a dominant inhibitor allele (or 2 alleles) and alleles that make up the wide band polygenes.
So, what do the parents have to look like in order to get a black smoke kitten?
For example, if a solid black cat mates with a silver cat, there is a higher chance all the kittens will be smoked black.
6 Cat Species That Can Be Black Smoke Cats!
The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) is a very prestigious cat registry that recognizes 45 cat breeds, out of which 22 breeds can have a solid black outer coat.
So, has the smoke effect been observed in all 22 breeds? The answer is no – this pattern is mostly seen in the 6 breeds mentioned below.
This specific effect can be observed in long-haired breeds predominantly, but there is one short haired breed too – the Egyptian Mau. All of the others mentioned are long-haired breeds.
1. Black Smoke Maine Coon
All of us know the Maine Coon breed for their size – they are much larger and more muscular than ‘regular‘ cats. Their long coats make them look even bigger!
However, don’t let the size fool you! They are extremely affectionate, friendly, and loyal creatures that love spending time with humans and other pets.
Due to these traits, they have earned the nickname Gentle Giants. Also, they are very famous participants at cat shows
Maine Coon cats come in a variety of colors – white, black, orange, gray, cream, brown and sable. They can have green, gold, copper or blue eyes (white Maine Coons only).
Is A Black Smoke Maine Coon Rare?
Smoke Maine Coons are very rare in the cat population! However, out of all smoked Maine Coons, the most common smoked cat color is black, but others are present too.
Smoke Maine Coon cats are pretty rare, so their price can go as high as $4000! If you have the means to get one, you will want to do so because their coat coloration truly is beautiful!
There are breeders who specifically focus on breeding Maine Coons with the smoke effect because they are so rare but so magnificent!
2. Black Smoke Egyptian Mau
Photo from: @fridolinthepurrmachine
They are a medium-sized breed known for their amazing athletic abilities. They can jump higher and run faster than the average cat. Their lean and muscular build allows them to do this with ease.
Is A Black Smoke Egyptian Mau Rare?
Black smoke Egyptian mau cats are extremely rare, as are other smoke Egyptian maus. This means that they are a special point of interest for many breeders!
Also note that you can expect to pay several thousand dollars if you want to get a black smoke Egyptian mau, but they are a bit cheaper than black smoke Maine Coons.
3. Black Smoke Siberian
The Siberian is a forest cat native to Russia. Considering their original habitat, it makes sense that they are very strong, triple-coated cats.
Siberians usually have a tabby pattern, which makes a solid color Siberian very rare. It is interesting that smoked black Siberians are more common than solid black Siberians, which is not the case in other breeds.
What Is The Personality Of The Siberian Cat?
Considering their origin and tough survival instinct, you might expect these cats to be reserved and unaffectionate towards people.
However, this is far from the truth – they actually enjoy cuddling! They love sitting in your lap while you pet them. Furthermore, they love to play. It does not matter what kind of toy you’re offering, they will never say no to a play-session (my cat might be a secret Siberian cat – she adores playing too!).
A black smoke Siberian kitten usually costs around $1000.
4. Black Smoke Persian
You might recognize Persian cats for their unusually short muzzle and round face. Cat lovers are fascinated by this species because of their adorable appearance, making this breed one of the most popular in the world.
Their sweet face, soft eyes and beautiful fur make them a very desirable pet. Let’s not forget about their personality either – they are very gentle and calm! They don’t seek a lot of attention and are a perfect quiet companion if that’s what you’re looking for!
What’s The Fur Color Range For A Persian Cat?
Persian cats come in many colors, but the most famous one (and the one you probably) imagine in your head when someone says Persian cat), is white.
Black smoke persian cats evolved by breeding silver tabbies to black cats. At first, smoked black persian cats had green eyes, but now they have characteristic copper-colored eyes. Their black fur truly makes their orange eyes stand out, giving them a very unique appearance.
Their price can go as high as $5000 or even more, depending on the breeder!
5. Black Smoke Norwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian forest cats are famous for their double coat with a very dense undercoat that fully develops in the winter. This makes sense when you consider where they came from, right?! The weather conditions in the forests of Northern Europe are not the most favorable.
The smoked black norwegian forest cat has a characteristically dark face, with the white layer more easily observed around the neck area.
They have either copper or green eyes.
Are Norwegian Forest Cats Good Pets?
Despite their origins, they have no hesitation in replacing the cold forest with your cozy lap! They absolutely love to cuddle and they purr when they are around people they love.
Also, they share the love they have – they do not direct their attention to only one person, but rather the entire household!
They are calm, gentle and make great family pets, as they are good with kids and other pets too!
The price of a black smoke Norwegian forest cat goes up to $1500, which is not a lot compared to the black smoke persian or black smoke Maine Coon.
6. Black Smoke Turkish Angora
This cat breed is known for being loyal, affectionate, and intelligent. They are very social and love spending time with their owner and the rest of the household!
The Turkish Angora is a long haired breed whose long fur is designed to protect them from the cold of the turkish mountains. As you might conclude, their origin is in Turkey, in the Angora region, which is now called the Ankara region.
The black smoke Turkish Angora has a characteristic dark face with whiter areas around the neck.
The Turkish Angora is a cat breed known for its clinginess – they love to be around their owners or people they love. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking about getting a Turkish angora as a pet as you cannot leave them alone for long periods of time.
Their price can be up to $2000, depending on the breeder. Of course, you can find a kitten for a lower price if it’s not coming from a breeder.
It’s important to note that smoke is not a cat breed, but rather a coat effect! Cats that are smoked do not carry any shared personality traits or history. For example, a black smoke tabby is not a specific breed – it just tells you about the appearance of the cat!
The only thing smoked cats have in common is their coat coloration pattern – white hair shaft with colored tips!
Smoked cats are extremely rare and very beautiful. You can see their white undercoat only with close inspection or when they move.
Many different cat breeds can be smoked, such as American Curl, Bengal, RagaMuffin, LaPerm, American Shorthair, while the most prominent black smoked cats are Persian, Norwegian Forest cat, Persian, Turkish Angora, Maine Coon, and Egyptian Mau.
There are three genes that are known to influence the development of this amazing smoke effect, but the number is surely much higher!
Genetics of cat coat and color development is extremely complex, which is one of the biggest issues for cat breeders.
Smoked cats are extremely valuable for breeders because they are very rare, and because of that, they are also very expensive (especially if they’re purebred).
If you’ve been fortunate enough to see a black smoke cat in person, you’re extremely lucky! I am sure they are as fascinating and beautiful as everyone says!