A confusing title, I know. But I’ve been referring to Roxanne as a camel lately. She looked like a camel with horizontal humps. Seriously. She was that big. We’ve been keeping her locked in my bathroom under the theory that we would then know when and where she would have her kittens. Well, yesterday she was crying her fool head off about being cooped up, so we let her out to spend some time with us when we were home in the evening. Last night as I’m trying to fall asleep, she won’t. Shut. Up. So I let her out. Of course.
You can see where this is going, can’t you?
This morning my mother comes in and wakes me up with an “I need your help, there’s kittens!” She had decided to have them in the bottom of my parents’ closet. -.- Sheer amusement, right? She had only had two by that point. Well, now there are eight. No wonder she looked like a horizontal camel! Unfortunately one is much smaller than the others, and has had no inclination to nurse, as well as very low energy. Your traditional “runt”. So, we’ll see how he does. But. I know they’re a little young, but it looks like we’ve got three females and five males.
Note: unless you have a strange fascination for color genetics (like I do), skip to the end. That’s where the pictures are. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The following is just me rambling about theoretical color genetics.
Which… well, I’m not quite sure how that happened. Because she’s a calico, and I’m a genetics freak. Well, how many males and females she had has nothing to do with my mild obsession with color genetics. It simply means that I’m confused. See, she’s a calico. Calico coloring – well, tortoiseshell coloring, if you want to be technical – is caused by the “red” gene. The red gene is based off of the “X” genome. You know, as in “XX = female”, “XY = male”? So let’s say red would be X*. A tortoiseshell cat is two of the red chromosones together. X*X*. A red female is one red gene with one regular female chromosome. X*X. A red male is one red gene with a male chromosome. X*Y. (Non-red female, XX, and non-red male, XY, of course.) Which is why you never see males with that coloring. It’s just not possible. Or rather, when it does happene, they’re invariably infertile.
So, she’s a calico. Which, from what I know of genetics, means that no matter with chromosome she passes on to her young – the one they inherit from her will be X*. So they have to be a red-based color. All that jazz.
So the tomcat we’ve been seeing around is orange. I’m thinking, if that’s who bred her… all of the males will have to be red-based. All of the females will be calicos, because they’ll inherit the X* chromosone from their father. When I saw six darkly-colored kittens earlier today, and two red-based kittens, I thought to myself, “Okay, two males, six females.” And then they started to dry. And I realized that only one of the dark kittens is actually a tortoiseshell. The other five are… are… aliens? I haven’t the slightest idea of what they are. But they have to have inherited the X* chromosome from Roxanne. So whatever they are… the gene is dominant over red. And it’s masking it. And I haven’t the slightest idea of what that would be, because the only color genetics I’m familiar with in the world of the domestic cat are red, and … I suppose it would be the dilution gene? The one that dilutes black to blue, and red to cream? Yeah, that one. And I know that “tabby pattern” is dominant over “self-colored”.
So maybe they’re tabbies, and tabbies just look really weird and not remotely tabby-like when they’re newborn. *shrug* Guess I’ll find out! Oh, but the thing is… it’s a little hard to tell at this age – at least for me, since I’m used to puppies and kits (rabbits and rats) – but it looks like we have three females and five males. As in, the five oddly-colored ones are males. The tortoiseshell and both reds are females. Which means she had to have been bred by more than one male.. because poppa had to be a red to get a tortoiseshell baby. And poppa had to be a non-red to get red females out of a tortoiseshell. Promiscuous one, our little Roxanne.
Anyway. If there’s anyone out there who has as obscure of a fascination with color genetics as I do (don’t even get me started on horses, rabbits, or rats, wherein my knowledge is more in-depth) – please enlighten me as to what in the world these colors could be. For those of you who don’t care about that sort of thing but have for some reason stuck with my rambling about color genetics instead of just skipping to the end for the pictures… well, you’re just weird. But here are the pictures.