QUIN -- Black Smoke Maine Coon Cat - photo copyright Helmi Flick
Last month I visited Ken and Helmi Flick in Texas. They live with four cats, two of which are Maine Coon cats. They are Quin and Zak.
Quin is a black smoke Maine Coon cat. Zak is a blue and white bicolor. Although I have seen and been near Maine Coons before I had not had the opportunity to live with two, albeit for only ten days. This was long enough, though, to get to know the Maine Coon character and size, two outstanding aspects of this much loved and popular cat breed.
I have built a page about Zak (see Picture of Maine Coon Cat ZAK), so this page is a bit about Quin and his fascinating smokey coat.
Quin is a similar size to Zak. His face is a little broader. His character is similar in my opinion. I found Zak a little more active or demanding of human input than Quin, although Helmi might correct me on this. Zak loved to play, to be stimulated mentally. This may indicate intelligence.
This is what Helmi says about Quin:
His personality is just the same as when he was a kitten: reserved, he's a watcher -- watches to see what's going on before he decides if the activity is for him. He is a gentle soul with everything except food ... And he's my talker ... I think he even talks to himself as well as Ken and me and the other kitties. He will chirrup at the squirrels and doves outside. Quin's full name is CoonAlley Quintus Magnus Gravitas. He is very serious but still affectionate!
A black smoke Maine Coon cat is a non-agouti, non-tabby cat with the inhibitor gene. Non-agouti cats are cats with solid (the cat fancy calls this, "self") colors. The non-agouti gene is recessive. The pigmentation in the individual hairs is called eumelanin. The agouti gene produces banded color in the hairs resulting in a tabby cat.
So, a black smoke cat is essentially a black cat with part of the color in the hairs missing. In fact three quarters or so of the individual hair (the 3/4 nearest the skin) lacks pigmentation as its formation has been suppressed by the inhibitor gene.
This gives the appearance of an almost solid color until the hair is parted to reveal the transparent/white of the hairs lower down. This may be a simplistic explanation because it is believed that there may be another gene that mimics the action of the inhibitor gene to create the smoke appearance.
Quin, like all Maine Coons is long, large and rangy. What I mean is that he has long legs and his long hair sort of hides quite an athletic and lean body (see cat body types). His head is in between round and long and is probably nearer the round end of the spectrum of head shapes(see cat head shapes). Quin has quite a broad muzzle, a strong face. Zak's face has a more quizzical look.
An outstanding feature is the trill. A sound he makes, it seems, with his mouth shut. I think that the sound is an expression of excitement, a bit like us saying, "wow" but it may have more than one meaning.
Quin is a fine black smoke Maine Coon cat.
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