As I understand it, the Black Maine Coon has black hair because of the dominant nature of the browning gene. This gene governs the production of an enzyme (“tyrosinase related protein-1). This enzyme is concerned with how the black pigmentation (eumelanin) is produced. When the gene is dominant the color brown turns to black. Sometimes in a cat the black fur can turn back to a reddish brown.
This has happened with my cat on the side of her rather plump belly. One reason for this change may be due to a deficiency in an aromatic amino acid called “Tyrosine”. This chemical is synthesised (synthesized means “combining separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole”) from another amino acid called phenylalanine. Tyrosine is involved in the production of melanin and melanin is the major pigment in cats skin and fur. You can see some browning on the sides of this cat. Although this is not, I am sure, due to any change. This just indicates that the browning gene is involved.
Black Maine Coon cats are rare and difficult to photograph. Helmi says that she has to prefocus on her husband’s hand (he is the cat “wrangler” maneouvering and teasing the cat into the correct pose, a vital role) to get the image sharp. Lighting is difficult too.
- Helmi Flick