Why is my cat’s fur changing color?

Why is my cat's fur changing color

All cat owners will know that as cats develop, they go through some physical changes, and to a lesser extent, the same happens every year over the course of the seasons.

One of the most noticeable and common changes that can occur in cats from time to time, and which can occur multiple times over the course of their life or even over the course of a year, is the change in coat color.

These are very common changes, although they often confuse the cat owner!

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common causes for a cat’s coat to change color, as well as what it means, and what it can reverse the change! Read on to learn more.

Age-related color changes

As your cat ages, you will almost certainly begin to see gray hair in its coat, and over time, the amount of gray in its coat may be able to cover more than its original color!

While gray hair can appear anywhere on the body, and at any time, the muzzle, whiskers, hips, and tail are often the first areas where the difference begins!


Anyone who spends time outdoors in the summer months without a hat on will know that their hair is also susceptible to lightening from the sun, and the same thing can happen to your cat’s coat!

Color variations caused by sun exposure are usually more noticeable in dark cats, for example, black cats may begin to take on a ginger hue, or in some cases, you may begin to see signs in their fur. of a faint pattern under an otherwise dark hair!

The difference is often more noticeable in long-haired cats, as the ends of their fur tend to lighten sooner than the rest of the body naturally.

Then, when the weather cools down once again, their color will return to normal!


When female cats are spayed, they will usually have an area on the left side of the flank, or under the stomach, shaved, to allow the vet to make the necessary incision. Generally, the fur grows back over the area quickly and without any noticeable change from the surrounding skin, but in some cats, this area may grow back slightly darker than the rest of the fur, particularly in cats spayed during the winter months!

The reasoning behind this is that cats that only have one color coat develop it only after some time. Siamese kittens, for example, are born white and develop their next color after a week or so. Such breeds darken on the extremities, which are colder, and so spaying a cat to a color point in the winter will make the shaved area of ​​the fur cooler than the rest of the body!

Often, the darker area of ​​fur (if it appears) will lighten again over time.

The temperature

Similarly, changes in temperature can alter the color of your cat’s fur. Again, this most commonly happens with cats having a single color spot, but it can happen to any form of feline!

Cats that live more in the cold, or during the winter, will tend to be slightly darker in the summer, and their fur will grow thicker and warmer. As a result, the appearance of the coat can vary entirely between individuals of the same species. Cats of one color kept indoors at a constant temperature, will tend to have slightly lighter bodies than cats who stay outdoors all the time.

An enzyme deficiency

A deficiency in the enzyme tyrosine, responsible for the black pigment, can lead to cats that are naturally black or dark brown developing a reddish or rusty hue in their fur, as can sometimes happen with sun exposure.

However, if this shade of red is present in your cat’s coat all year round, even during the coldest season, you may wish to have them checked by your vet.

Health problems

Chronic health problems can alter your cat’s coat color and skin, so if you spot any changes in your feline friend’s coat, it would be best to have your vet investigate to make sure it’s not an early warning symptom of some problem of health.

Problems related to the liver and kidney, as well as longer-term issues, such as a thyroid hormone deficiency, can result in a change in the color and texture of your cat’s coat, and in some cases, their eyes, mucous membranes, and skin.

If your cat’s color appears to have changed in a very short amount of time and there is no obvious reason, you should go to your vet to make sure there is nothing wrong.

About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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