Can Marking Or Patterns on A Cat Change Over Time?

If you compare your picture from years ago with how you look today, you’ll definitely notice subtle changes, if not major ones.

In the same way, do cats always look the same from the time they’re born? Or can you notice differences in their coats?

In today’s post, we answer the question of a cat’s fur!

Can Markings on A Cat Change?

The patterns that you see on a kitten remain the same even as they grow older. There will be no significant changes in the pattern as the cat ages. What does change, however, is the fur. A cat’s fur can go from light to a darker shade as years go by.

So whatever markings a kitten has at birth, it will have the same even as a fully grown cat.

Genes and polygenes are responsible for so many different colors you see. Since patterns are determined by genetics, it doesn’t change over time. Different breeds of cats have varying changes to their coats as they age.

A Word of Caution – Drastic color change could be a symptom of sickness. Show your cat to your veterinary doctor to diagnose the problem.

How are Cat Patterns Determined?

Any markings that you see on a cat are determined by a combination of individual genes. Over several centuries, mixed breeding has led to different colors and patterns in them.

Researchers published their studies in the Wiley Online Library, which highlight how different patterned cats (ticked, mackerel, blotched, spotted) are formed.

Gregory Barsh (professor emeritus, Stanford Medicine, California) and other researchers alongside him published a study in Nature Communications, which stated that the patterns and colors in cats come from one gene.

Cat Patterns and Fur Colors

All patterns and colors are a mix of just two colors: orange and black. Sometimes it is a mix of red and black. Every color you see is a mix of either orange/red and black. It sounds incredulous, given the colors you find cats in today.

Cat breeding was carried out to bring out specific colors. Today’s cats can trace their ancestry to the ancient Egyptian civilization. They were worshipped and revered in Egypt. 

Then they made their way to Asia and Europe, and by the 17th century, they found themselves in the USA.

Does the Age of Cats Change Fur Color?

Yes, kittens generally have lighter-colored fur. Once they start shedding their baby fur, the color starts to darken. This happens when the kitten turns around 5 months old. Older cats may show white or silver colors throughout their fur.

You can tell if a kitten will have few patterns when they grow up. If the patterns are barely noticeable when they’re a kitten, you can expect them to have a solid color of fur as an adult.

About Cat Patterns

A common marking on cats is curved lines all around them. This is known as a classic “tabby cat.” A typical tabby cat has grey fur with black lines.

The different types of patterns are:

  • Classic: Stripes that move along the body in different directions, with irregularly shaped marks
  • Mackerel: Stripes along the back, middle, and sides of the cat
  • Spotted: Varying sizes and shapes of spots on the body
  • Ticked: Individual fur is light-colored at the root and darkens towards the tip. It would make the cat appear to have freckles.
  • Patched: Patches of red or orange mixed with a tabby pattern – only female cats have these kinds of markings.

Cat Colors

As already mentioned, all colors are formed from a mix of either orange/red and black. Yet to see the myriad of colors is fascinating.

There are 10 basic colors. They are White, chocolate, tan/cream/yellow, lilac, blue (gray), lavender, cinnamon, red/orange.

Cats display these colors in different combinations alongside any patterns they have. Some of these colors have been diluted over years of breeding. So you’ll probably see traces of these colors in them.

Diseases that Causes Discoloration

Sometimes changes in fur color could be a sign of health issues. If your cat keeps licking a certain patch of fur, it can give a reddish tinge to it. 

This may be due to excessive pain in that area. The pigmentation of the skin may be due to an underlying medical condition. Check with your vet to find out the cause.

Other times it could be a case of vitiligo, which is similar to what humans experience.


For cats, most of the patterns are determined before birth. Scientific research has discovered the gene responsible for such patterns.

This means that the markings and patterns do not change as your feline friend grows from a kitten into an adult cat. All patterns are pre-determined from birth.

The only change you can expect is the color of the fur. As the kitty grows older, the fur grows darker.

Get Rid of Ticks from Your Cat's Ear

Previous Post

Best Way to Get Rid of Ticks from Your Cat’s Ear

Next Post

Will Overfeeding A Cat Cause Vomiting – Here’s What You Should Know