Picture of lentigo simplex cat

You know those black freckles on the tip of the nose, gums, eyelids and the lips of an orange (ginger, yellow, red) cat? You have probably seen them and wondered what they were and if they were a health problem.

Lentigo in an orange cat
Lentigo in an orange cat. Picture from Facebook: Cat & Kitten Adoptions at Boca Raton.
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Well, they are not a health problem and the experts call this skin ‘disorder’ in male orange cats ‘lentigo’. They become noticeable when cats are under one year of age. The spots vary in size and shape. The books that I have say there is no medical treatment but then again there is no need to apply medical treatment because this is not a health concern.

Lentigo does not cause discomfort in any way. It is NOT a form of cancer but is a cosmetic condition. It is believed to be an inherited trait. It is possibly sex-linked and associated with the gene for orange hair (reference: page 112 Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine by John R August). The gene for orange is, in fact, sex-linked which means the gene is carried on one of the sex chromosomes.

The symbol for the gene is O. It eliminates all eumelanistic pigment (black, blue, chocolate etc.) from the hair fibres.

P.S. ‘Orange’ is the correct description apparently of a ginger cat.


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