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All About Fever Coat Kittens And Their Magical Color-Changing Ability

All About Fever Coat Kittens And Their Magical Color-Changing Ability

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If there is a new litter of kittens in your household and you’re reading this article, I can conclude that perhaps one or two kittens of the litter have a fever coat. If you want to read about fever coats, you’ve come to the right place!

Let me put your mind at ease – fever coat kittens are perfectly healthy kittens, as their coat color does not reflect their health!

To learn more about this odd (but cute) phenomenon, what types of fever coats are possible, and why fever coat is also called stress coat, I suggest you read on!

The Adorable Fever Coat Kittens

fever coat kitten with red collar

Fever coat kittens are recognizable by their silver-tipped hairs that develop darker color towards the roots!

Their strange-looking coat is the result of coat pigment that has not been appropriately deposited. Why?This is due to the mother cat having a fever, being under stress, or taking certain kinds of medication while pregnant.

These kittens are born with cream, frosted grey, and reddish coats, but before you know it, the coats of these adorable kittens will change color to its “destined” coat color.

If you’ve never seen a fever-coat kitten, let me introduce you to Smudgie and her fever-coat kittens!

Smudgie had an infection while pregnant, and all of her kittens turned out to be fever-coat kittens! All of her kittens now are black-and-white or black cats.

All About Fever Coat

Now that you have a basic overview of what fever coat is and what fever coat kittens look like, let’s go into more detail on this exciting topic!

#1 How Do I Know My Kitten Has Fever Coat?

A kitten with a fever coat is born with silver, red/brown, or cream-colored fur, with the roots of the fur considerably darker than the tips!

This is the crucial characteristic of fever coat – the coat color becomes gradually lighter as it advances towards the tips, with roots usually being very dark.

Fever coat is not always simple to recognize and might be confused with the natural color pattern of kittens of a specific breed (such as the Siamese cat breed) and even the smoked coat color pattern (which we will talk about further below)

Suggested: New Kitten Checklist – 2023 Guide On What To Do & What To Buy

#2 Is Fever Coat A Disease?

While the term “fever coat” immediately makes you think of a terrible illness, there is no need to be concerned – fever coat is not a disease! While the name suggests otherwise, fever coats are not linked to the kitten’s health.

Fever coat results from pigmentation abnormality, and it is simply cosmetic. It does not result from genetic abnormalities and causes no hereditary issues, potential health risks, or negative side effects.

#3 Are Fever Coat Kittens Otherwise Healthy?

fever coat kitten with toy

A kitten born with a fever coat will not have any health problems and no long-term negative repercussions; it is merely a cosmetic issue concerning the pigments in its coat.

#4 Is It A Rare Occurrence, Or Does It Happen Often?

It’s fair to say you will most likely observe only one fever coat kitten (or maybe two) during your lifetime, as fever coat is very uncommon.

Most of the time, even if the mother cat suffers some health issues during its pregnancy, the kittens are born with the “usual” coat color, and not fever coats.

See also: Rare Cat Colors & Patterns: 23 Stunning Cats (With Pictures)

#5 What Causes Fever Coat?

Potential causes of fever coat are:

• Mama cat having a high fever during pregnancy

• Mama cat having some infection during pregnancy

• Mama cat going experiencing extreme stress during pregnancy

• Mama cat taking a particular type of medication during pregnancy

It is commonly believed these are the causes of abnormal pigmentation of the kitten’s fur.

Though these are suggested explanations of fever kitten coat look, there is no clear confirmation of the causation. 

Most information online about the cause of fever coat is anecdotal, and there appears to be no study on this phenomenon. Therefore, take this information with a grain of salt!

#6 Is The Coat Pigmentation Process Heat Sensitive?

fever coat kittens
Photo from: @lestatandlaszlo

Some reports claim the following: Because the pigmentation in a feline’s coat is temperature sensitive, a greater cat’s body temperature while kittens are in the womb results in the pigments in their coats not depositing normally. 

Yet if you go on a fact-checking quest, you will not be able to find any facts or scientific studies that back up this claim.

The coat pigmentation process is heat-sensitive in color-pointed cats, such as the Siamese cat. Because of a temperature-sensitive pigmentation gene, Siamese cats have “colored points.” This gene is more active in colder parts of the cat’s body (such as the nose and paws), meaning more pigment will be deposited there.

However, the coat pigmentation process is not heat-sensitive in all cats. Therefore, the claim that the coat pigmentation process depends on the mother cat’s body temperature does not have a firm basis.

#7 How Long Does Fever Coat Last?

For fever coat kitten owners that adore them and enjoy having these beautiful kittens running around their household, I have some potentially bad news…

Although it produces some stunning color patterns, fever coat is not a permanent condition, and it usually only lasts four to eight months before changing into the cat’s normal color.

The cat’s coat will not change its color over a few days but rather gradually. Therefore, you will be able to observe first-hand how the kitten’s coat changes color!

See also: 4-Month-Old Kittens Size And Growth Changes – Kitten To Adult

#8 Can Fever Coat Be Lifelong?

small fever coat kitten
Photo from: @lestatandlaszlo

No, fever coat is not lifelong. Adult coat color changes completely, usually around the time the kitten turns one year old (and is no longer a kitten!).

#9 Can Older Kittens Develop Fever Coats?

No, older kittens cannot develop fever coats. Fever coat kittens are born with their white-tipped coats and build their real color over time.

#10 Is Fever Coat the Same As Smoke Coat?

Many people confuse the two, but they are not the same.

For example, a black smoke cat will have white roots and black-tipped hairs, while a black fever coat kitten will have black roots and white tipped-hairs.

Let me make the distinction between the two clear:

Fever CoatSmoke Coat
Roots of the hairDarkerWhite
Tips of the hairWhiteDarker

As you can see, the hair coloration pattern is exactly the opposite for the fever coat vs. smoke cat!

A smoke cat or a fever coat cat isn’t a distinct breed, which is something these two coat color patterns have in common!

However, one important trait that distinguishes between the two is that fever coat is only a temporary coat coloration pattern, while a smoked coat color pattern is permanent!

Suggested: Full Grown Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat – Info And Facts

The Three Types Of Fever Coat In Kittens

fever coat kitten with another kitten
Photo from: @wollykittenclub

Fever coat pattern is not universal – it can appear in three different forms!


This is the most common type of fever coat, and as the name suggests, the entirety of the kitten’s coats will be fever coats (not just patches).

With this type of fever coat, you will be left wondering What is my kitten’s real color for some months until the kitten’s actual color develops.


If your kitten has a fever coat that appears in patches, you’re in luck because some of their colorations will have usual color patches, and some patches will be the fever coat.

Why did I mention you’re lucky? Well, if you have patches of their normal coat, you will know exactly what your kitten’s fur will look like in a few months.

Dorsal Stripes

The dorsal stripes fever coat type is the rarest type of fever coat, and it is characterized by parallel stripes of fever coat intertwining with the kitten’s normal coat. These stripes look like the stripes of a tabby cat.

As with all types of fever coats, they will fade away after some time and perfectly blend with the rest of the coat!

Meet Janie – A Fever Coat Rescue Kitten

Janie is a fever-coat kitten abandoned by the owner (or the mother). When she was found, Janie was very tiny – she weighed only 82 grams. Now, Janie is an internet sensation! Her unique appearance has drawn the attention of many.

newborn fever coat kitten
Photo from: @tinybutmightykittenrescue

Janie’s silver-dusted fur had cat enthusiasts on social media wondering if she was Siamese or any other breed of color-pointed cat. But no, Janie is not any color point cat bred; she simply has fever coat.

Janie’s fever coat’s silver hue has faded as she has grown, but her owners say her snarky attitude has not!

In Conclusion

If your queen gives birth to one fever-coat kitten (or a few of them), know that there is nothing to be worried about since, in this case, hair color does not have any correlation with an underlying health issue.

Fever coat is not something you will see very often, so if you see it – enjoy the unusual coat color pattern as long as you can! Fever coat goes away after some time, meaning that fever-coat kittens don’t grow into fever-coat adult cats!

Now you know all there is to know about fever coats, and you’ve met some adorable fever coat kittens! Which one was your favorite?

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