Ragdoll Cat With Her White Kittens

The Ragdoll is a pointed, longhaired cat. “Pointed” means that the extremities of the cat have darker fur. As you probably know this is because the production of pigment in the cells of the skin is dependent on the temperature of the skin. Where the temperature is at body temperature there is no (or little?) production. When the temperature is a little bit lower than at body temperature pigment is produced. Kittens are born all white looking like an albino cat as they have been at the body temperature of their mother before birth. Within days the kittens begin to form pigment on the nose and ears. The phenotype (the physical characteristics of the cat that can be seen) is a form of “Himalayan albinism”. Other animals have this characteristic e.g. rabbits and mice.

This is the best picture that I have seen of this phenomenon. Of course the best known pointed cat is the Siamese.

Ragdoll Cat With White Kittens

Ragdoll Cat With White Kittens. Photo by Steve Jurvetson

This is a really nice picture of a mother Ragdoll cat and her white kittens. The adult eyes are blue because they also lack pigment. All kittens are born with blue eyes. The adult eye colour appears at about 3 weeks of age. The photographer says that the six kittens when not all huddled together for warmth, formed two groups on the basis of their smell. Kittens are born with their eyes closed. The three kittens with pink noses grouped together. The other group have grey noses. The photographer guessed that the pink nosed cats have a different body odor than the grey nosed cats. The difference in odour is the difference in body odour between the mother and father. Interesting.

Kittens find the mother’s nipple through the sense of smell.  Apparently most kittens favour a particular breast and they locate this preferred breast through smell. A kitten’s eyes begin to open at 8 days and are opened at 14 days of age.

The “albinism allele” (the genes that produce the temperature sensitivity of pigment production) also affects the cat’s “visual pathway”. Siamese cats are predisposed to a squint. I have not read about that in respect of the Ragdoll cat and am not sure why.

Associated page: Pointed cat coats.

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Ragdoll Cat With Her White Kittens — 4 Comments

  1. Beautiful mama cat 🙂 – I have just recieved news, my friend’s other mama cat had 3 kittens, one black, one orange and one white. I already warned her about sunburn on the white – perhaps though it will turn out to be pointed. I will go up there very soon and make sure they are all doing well and getting everything they need. The other mama has just one little black kitten that was born a week ago. Sadly both mamas had kittens already once in April. I have made it my second job after work to check up on these mamas and births and make sure they are all ok. They love me and I bring them proper nice wet food because I can’t stand to see them so drained from kittens and dry food. It’s actually very stressful for me and when I hear there is another litter my heart sinks. Such is life. After 2 years I can’t really say I like the friend who keeps letting this happen so much because I can’t get past the idea of her cats having things a bit better. At least they live in/outside and in a beautiful and safe place. The photo above is really nice, how beautiful kittens and mama cats are.

    • I agree, Marc, this Ragdoll is gorgeous looking. If she was a woman she’d be a much admired beauty 🙂 She looks quite slender for a Ragdoll. Raggies are normally a bit more cuddly and rounded. Perhaps it is the pose. It is a very good photograph. The photographer is a known good photographer on Flickr, a photo hosting website. And he should be thanked – thank you – for allowing people to publish his work under a creative commons license. The license he grants gives complete freedom to use the image. Excellent.

    • Hi Marc, I hope your friend makes the right decision to spay. The mama cats are fortunate to have you checking in on them.

      This photograph is stunning.

      dw

      • Dorothy, I’m not sure if you will read this since it’s a few days back now. I don’t think she will ever do it. It is a total sticking point for me and I can’t any more get past it. Ultimately she therefore annoys me and is less my friend. I am angry because I love her cats more than she does and after my day job I now have another job, which I must must do. I must go and check in on them and give them good food (her vet told her only dry is fine – argh) so they are strong for their babies. I am so angry at her irresponsible behaviour. I even try to go when she and her big loud dog are out so I can have quality time with the cats and kittens and play with them (she doesnt) and get them socialised so when adopted they dont go hide under the bed for 10 days in fear. I teach them humans can be nice and gentle. Most of her adopters and yuppies giving kittens to their kids – it makes me want to cry when I see them go. I always give them little bags of familiar foods and toys so them at least have that when they arrive in new homes. The whole thing is heart wrenching. Last year when the adopters came to collect I burst into tears because I was so attached to them and worried about them being happy and having good lives. If I push her too much with my philosophy on how to look after, and I have a fair bit already, then I fear I will no longer be welcome there. So I am remaining ‘friends’ so i can have access, which I do. She is happy I come see them and play with them and says I am welcome anytime. I would despair if I lost that. Hope you read this.

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