This is my foolish attempt to try and explain why this Chinese cat, named Marigold, looks like a Red Panda (see picture below from Wikipedia Commons). I am told this is a hoax as this sort of coat is impossible (see Michele S’s comment). It is certainly possible that it is a hoax..
This is an interesting cat picked up in a pet market in Beijing, China by Vincent Tolley and described by him as an “undiscovered mutant cat”. People are unsure why this cat looks like she does. The coat type is certainly very rare and unusual.
Vincent says that he took her to a veterinarian for advice about why she looked like she did. The vet wasn’t sure and even thought that the cat might have been dyed that color.
The second photo above shows two kittens with the same markings, so Marigold is not unique. I don’t know if they are siblings and Marigold is one of them.
Between these cats, there is a difference in the density of the rusty/brown/orange colored fur, which is the unique aspect of this cat. The kittens in the lower picture appear to have lighter coloured rusty fur.
The remainder of the coat is black and white, fairly typical. It is the shape of the rusty colored markings which gives this cat her special appearance.
The shape of the pattern follows the extremities of the body; where the black fur is the body is cooler. The rusty/brown fur is in the warmer areas of the body (the center). This makes me believe that this is either:
- a calico cat (orange, black and white fur) which carries the Siamese gene, which is heat sensitive, and which has affected how the orange fur is positioned.
- Or, this cat has a hormonal imbalance (perhaps the pituitary gland) which affects the production of melanin (eumelanin), a dark pigment in the hair strands, which is converted from pheomelanin, a pigment which is yellow/red (see image below of a hair strand). The effect of the hormonal imbalance has been dictated by a gene which is heat sensitive.
- The “mitting” – white paws, is typical of the effect of the white spotting gene. It is very common in black and white cats.
See an extraordinary torbie cat, which is as unusual on appearance as Marigold.