Black Cat Fur Picture |
Firstly, there are a lot of bits and pieces on it and in it. This fur is fastidiously groomed by Charlie and I comb it daily, perhaps twice daily with a flea comb, which is 32 prongs to the inch.
What you see is normal. The other strange thing is that black fur looks very brown, a rich rust-golden brown, under certain lighting conditions. Normally it appears to be jet black.
The light has to be behind the hair and shine through the hair to see the true color.
You’ll see older black cats develop rusty-brown fur on the belly area, which you can see in almost any lighting conditions. This is because of oxidisation of the pigment.
The truth is that black fur is actually brown-black. The pigment is called “eumelanin” which the most common form of melanin biologically. It is brown-black in color.
In a completely black cat (solid or “self” color) the pigmentation is distributed throughout the hair strand as opposed to in bands (as for tabby cats). This is due to the presence of the non-agouti gene (symbol aa). The starting point, then, is that the fur is dark brown to black, not jet black. To that we can add three compounding factors that produce the coloration that we see in the picture above.
1. The black cat carries one of the tabby alleles producing an underlying tabby pattern. I think that if you look closely at the some of the hair strands in the picture you will see agouti banding of a sort. This dilutes the black in my opinion.
2. Sunlight combined with saliva to which the fur comes into contact oxidizes the pigment resulting in a rust color. This is why older black cats have rusty coloration on their lower flanks.
3. To get the affect that we see in the picture the fur has to be backlit. When the sun is behind the fur and shines through it any lack of dense pigmentation transmits the light rather than obstructs it. This allows us to see the brown-black eumelanin pigmentation for what it really is in the black cat fur picture taken by me today (6th Jan 2012). See melanism and black F4 Savannah cat.