How Much Do You Really Know About Black Cats?

Take this quiz and see how much you really know about these beautiful creatures!

Your black cat is getting a little older, and his/her coat is turning lighter. What nutrient might reverse this?

Correct! Wrong!

A deficiency in tyrosine, an amino acid, is associated with a reduction in melanin, the dark pigment that gives a cat its color. Consequently, supplementing your cat's diet with tyrosine may reverse this process. By the way, unlike their human caretakers, cats can synthesize vitamin C, so one rarely needs to add it to their diet.

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), the premier cat registry of North America and the largest in the world, recognizes 22 breeds that may have a solid black coat. Which is NOT one of them?

Correct! Wrong!

A Siamese should NEVER be solid black, but instead have points (darker colored areas, such as in the paws). If you see a solid black that has a Siamese look, it might be an ebony Oriental, but if someone tries to sell you a "black Siamese", he is less than ethical. Other breeds that come with black coats are the Maine coon, the American curl, and the Persian. Generally, black cats have a gene which suppresses the tabby (striped) pattern they would normally have. You might see it under certain lighting.

What color eyes would you LEAST expect to find on a black cat?

Correct! Wrong!

Melanin is the dark pigment which gives the eyes, hair, and skin its color. In cats, the melanin gives eyes a color range from yellow to gold to copper. The transparent portion of the cat's eye tends to give it a bluish tint. A black cat has so much melanin that it will have yellow, gold, or copper eyes, or the eyes may be greenish (as blue and yellow make green), really a green-yellow. But I have never seen a solid black cat with blue eyes, like a Siamese; they just have too much melanin.

Black cats may genetically have some protection from what feline disease?

Correct! Wrong!

Scientists call the phenomenon of blackness in cats "melanism". One of the genes that permit melanism is in the same superfamily as the human gene that, when mutated, provides some resistance to viral infections, including HIV, by altering the cell membrane. So some veterinary scientists have theorized that melanism may provide cats with similar protection from viruses, including FIV. So your black cat may be blessed as well!

Black cats are among the most popular cats to be adopted from shelters in the USA.

Correct! Wrong!

In fact, black cats are the least popular, and they are among the first to be euthanized. It's called "black cat syndrome", and there are many reasons for this. Whereas black cats are lucky in the UK, superstitions abound in the USA that black cats are unlucky or even diabolic. In many cases, black cats are perceived as less beautiful than tabby, tortoiseshell or white cats. It requires more skill to photograph a dark animal, so many shelters find it it challenging to promote these cats in newsprint or on the web. Therefore, if you are looking for a healthy, loving companion animal, consider adopting a black cat!

If you find a black cat at a shelter, what kind of cat will it MOST likely be?

Correct! Wrong!

A "domestic shorthair"*, whether black or any other color, is basically a short-haired cat of no particular breed. (In fact, 96% of cats on Earth are of no particular breed!) To find a black Sphynx or any other pedigreed cat in a shelter that would be astonishing and not very likely. A calico cat is by definition not solid black, but spotted or tri-colored, with black, red, and white. (Additionally it is most likely female.) A catamount is a cougar or mountain lion, not likely found at your local shelter.

If you own a black tomcat, both of his parents must have been solid black.

Correct! Wrong!

Without a pedigree, your black cat's origins remain as mysterious as the night! A black sire and a red dam may produce black kittens, or they may produce kittens with a tortoiseshell pattern (randomly patched all over with black and red). Black or blue (the dilute of black) bred to tortoiseshell may also produce some black kittens as well. And there are many more combinations of cat coats and colors (such as tabby) that could produce a black kitten than I could possibly include in this space! (But generally speaking, there was a black cat in the family tree somewhere.)

Black is one of the dominant colors of cats, and the other is red. The "dilute" of black is blue, say the cat fanciers. But of course, the cat is not really blue like the sky, but...?

Correct! Wrong!

A "dilute" means simply a lighter or less dense expression of red or black (think "washed out"). "Blue" is not sky-blue or royal blue but gray or Maltese. Cat fanciers use "red" to denote what an ordinary person might call orange or ginger. The dilute of red is cream. Tortoiseshell describes a coat pattern that is randomly patched with black and red all over (or their dilutes). I never saw a purple cat (I never hope to see one...).

The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), founded in 1906 in the USA, describes a solid black cat as having a dense coal-black coat and a black nose. The paw pads may be...?

Correct! Wrong!

In addition, there must be no "rust" at the tips of the hair. If the roots are white, the cat is a "black smoke". If there is a white spot on the chest an otherwise black cat, we say she has a "locket". Generally, black cats have a gene which suppresses the tabby (striped) pattern that they would otherwise have. You might see the stripes in the sun.

Which relatively new cat breed is the ONLY breed whose ONLY acceptable color is black?

Correct! Wrong!

The Bombay is actually a cross between a Burmese and an American Shorthair, developed in the 1950s in Louisville, Kentucky. Nikki Horner, who created the breed, was specifically looking for a cat to resemble the black panther in miniature. An American bobtail or a Manx may be black, but other colors are permitted by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA). "Bangalore" is not a cat breed.

How Much Do You Really Know About Black Cats?
Better luck next time.
The average score for this quiz: 6 / 10
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The average score for this quiz: 6 / 10

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