Why is it that we rarely see long-haired feral cats in feral cat colonies? Or have I missed something? I’ll have to keep this brief because there is not much to say unless somebody can add to the article in an enlightened comment.
Long-haired domestic cats are quite popular. There are some very popular breeds with long hair such as the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cat. The former is probably the most popular purebred cat in America. The long coat is undoubtedly beneficial for an outdoor cat in cold climates. The trouble is that long coats easily become matted and if left unattended can lead to infection or an infestation of the skin. The Persian cat is another example where arguably the fur is unnaturally too long. Nature would not create fur like this. Even in very cold climates the fur wouldn’t be this long. It would be denser but not very long. And I am referring to genuinely long fur not medium longhaired cats.
Long fur needs attention from humans. It needs to be combed and brushed. The cat cannot maintain it adequately on his own. As feral cats do not have human caretakers any long-haired feral cat would eventually suffer from a matted coat and the consequent potential health problems. Therefore, by dint of natural evolution (natural selection as per Charles Darwin) most feral cats have short hair which is much easier to maintain. That’s the argument.
Genetically speaking there is a reason. The gene that creates long fur is recessive. It takes two parents with the longhair gene to create offspring with longhair. As there are few longhaired feral cats this is unlikely to happen.
If there is a colony of feral cats physically isolated from other feral cats for a long time such as might occur on an island, there would be inbreeding which would allow the recessive gene to show itself and its effects. There would be some longhaired feral cats in this isolated colony.
But the default hair length for feral and domestic cats is short hair.
Now tell me that you see an equal number of short and long-haired feral cats ??
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