White big Maine Coons are rather an exception to the rule. They are no different from ordinary cats. However, the white Maine Coon may have additional health problems and some difficulty in retaining color.
It is believed that “Whites” show more tolerance and endurance than their counterparts in standard colors. Let’s find out what makes these White Maine Coons different from the rest of the other Maine Coons.
Maine Coon Features and color variations
Objectively, the white color in Maine Coons (and all other cats) is not a color. It is expressed by the absence of the coloring pigment eumelanin (black) or pheomelanin (red) and therefore, purely symbolically, serves as a color characteristic.
The genetic process begins at the stage of early embryonic development and proceeds as follows:
- The pigment cells take on an elongated ellipsoidal shape and migrate to the area of the developing dermal layer of the skin.
- The centers of pigmentation in cats are located on the head, neck, along the spine, and at the base of the tail.
- The cells enter the follicles (hair follicles) before they form. Only then do they become melanocytes, which produce a coloring pigment.
But all of the above is valid only in one case – if there is no dominant gene W in the cat’s chromosome map. It suppresses the entire algorithm and then the Maine Coon’s coat remains white, unpainted. And white cats should not be confused with albinos – the nature of the colors is different, as are the genes responsible for such anomalies.
It happens that in a snow-white Maine Coon cat, 1-2 colored spots appear somewhere on the fur coat – evidence that we are talking about the white spot. It can manifest itself in extreme forms when areas of white, large in size, overlap areas of black and red pigments.
Combinations of S and W alleles are responsible for this.
- not white – ww;
- bicolor –Ss.
These two genes support the entire construction of color combinations in cats with a white coat.
- Buttons scattered randomly all over the body.
- White markings in the form of medallions (small patch on the chest), gloves (the end of the paws), or a tuxedo (chest, legs, head).
- Colored spots on the back and head (“magpie” color).
The main classification of white Maine Coons takes into account the percentage of white and any other color.
- Bicolor – the main color is up to 50%.
- Particolor – the proportion of white reaches 90%.
- Harlequin – over 90%.
- Van color of white Maine Coon cats – markings of a different color are present only on the tail and head near the ears.
In bicolor, as a rule, there is an additional ornament on the fur coat. Maine Coon with brindle color and white spots is much more common than its relative with pure white hair. In the ash color, the brindle color looks like a marble, which gave the name to a separate group.
There is another gradation in the distribution of white in Maine Coons. It can be expressed by the formulas of genes and alleles, but practical observations are most often applied.
- The gene for white suppresses all others.
- A white Maine Coon kitten must have the same white parent. Color cannot only appear in grandfather and grandson. The father must take its place in this hereditary chain.
- The same rule exists for the color of the undercoat – it is inherited as a direct sign.
- The combination of calico (tortie and white) dominates the blue-cream tortie.
- Variegated (piebald) colors of white are always ahead of a solid color. The same rule applies in the case of white spotting, which prevents the formation of a clear color.
Important! Maine Coons with perfect white color do not have tiger stripes. The dominant gene W suppresses the action of all other participants in the genetic process and discolors the hair on the entire surface of the cat’s body.
White Maine Coon Eyes
There are some restrictions on the color of the eyes in the Maine Coon breed standard, but exceptions are allowed for animals with white color.
- Maine Coons with blue eyes are common.
- A white cat can be born with different eyes (heterochromia).
Cats with bicolor, tortoiseshell, or spotted color most often have green, honey, or copper eyes.
There is an opinion that a separate gene is responsible for the formation of blue or different eye colors in white Maine Coons. Such a judgment has nothing to do with scientific discoveries.
Eye color is not affected by any of the genes known to scientists. The shade of the iris is formed depending on the color of the coat and the depth of penetration of pigment cells.
Interesting! Sometimes there are Maine Coons, in which each eye is painted in two colors – closer to the bridge of the nose is blue , and the outer edge is copper or orange.
White Maine Coon & Health Problems
It is impossible to ignore such a serious health problem in white Maine Coons as deafness. This disease is traditionally inherited along with the W.
- About one in five white cats with eyes of any color are born deaf.
- In blue-eyed albinos, this figure reaches a proportion of 4/5.
- If we compare white cats with different eyes, then 4 out of 10 animals have hearing problems.
Although scientists have not yet identified a separate gene for deafness, it has been proven that deaf parents consistently inherit this disease to their kittens.
How to Maintain The Whiteness of a Maine Coon Coat
The coat of an albino Maine Coon (or a cat with a high percentage of light coat) requires careful grooming.
The following factors affect the condition of the coat in cats:
- health status;
- hygiene procedures.
White cats do not require the preparation of any special menu, but it is necessary to monitor the composition of the products. Seafood in dry food will quickly show itself on the coat in the form of a reddish tint, the content of trace elements of copper contributes to the appearance of yellowness.
If you often feed an albino cat with offal, the coat becomes gray.
Physical illness most often affects the quality of the white coat rather than the color. It becomes dull, falls off, looks untidy even with daily brushing. Therefore, monitoring the condition of the coat is a sure way of early diagnosis of any feline disease.
Hygiene procedures for Maine Coons are the same as for other long-haired cats – regular brushing and bathing.
The snow-white Maine Coon is a rare occurrence among giant cats. The spectacular appearance of an albino only adds to the charm of this amazing pet. Due to their balanced nature, representatives of this breed get along well in families with small children.
You just need to pay enough attention to the cat to satisfy its hunting instincts, and then, having played enough, it will happily purr in the arms of its owner.