It is hard not to love white cats. They have a regal air and elegance around them that command attention. White Maine Coons in particular are popular not only for their luxurious coats but for their affectionate and sweet nature. A big bonus if they have odd-eyes, where one eye is blue and the other is either green, yellow or brown.
White Maine Coon: Genetics, color variations and personality
While you commonly see brown tabby and orange Maine Coons, purely white cats of this breed are quite rare. White Maine Coons stand out because of their aristocratic elegance and striking appearance.
Maine Coons come in more or less 86 various colors including white. However, it is actually a non-color and results from having a white masking gene as a heterozygous pair where one is dominant and the other a recessive. The masking gene covers the underlying true color and it is only evident when female cats give birth. The kittens will be white or the hidden coloring depending on whether the dominant masking gene was passed on to the kittens.
It is only possible to breed a white Maine Coon kitten if one of its parents is solid white. For breeders to breed these cats, the masking gene is necessary as it acts as a blocker to prevent other colors from showing up. White is a dominant color that cannot skip a generation and breeders can know the masked color or pattern by learning about its pedigree and the offspring they have produced in a controlled breeding environment. The Cat Fanciers Association or CFA recognizes white as a solid Maine Coon color, however, the cats should have pink paw pads and nose leather.
There are various color variations should you like your Maine Coon cat to be not entirely white.
- white and black – under this type of color variation is the black smoke and white where the paws, belly and bib should be white and the black and white where the cat may or may not have white on the face while the paws, belly and bib should be white
- white and grey – the so-called grey Maine Coons are under the color category of the blue since the is no grey category. Classifications under this include blue and white, blue-cream and white, chinchilla blue silver and white, shaded blue silver and white, shell blue-cream and white, shaded blue-cream and white, blue smoke and white and blue-cream smoke and white. Cats under these variations should have white in their belly, bib and paws.
- white tiger color variation
Maine Coons are considered gentle giants that have the sweetest personalities. They are playful, friendly and get along well with their other pets like dogs. These felines like the water, love to eat anything from waffles to chicken and are very, very vocal.
These cats are well-behaved but with an occasional mischievous streak. They are loyal, gentle and friendly and have been regarded as the dogs of the cat world for their massive size and lovable personality. They are not needy and do not demand too much attention.
White Maine Coons, just like other cats of this breed, tend to form a strong bond with their humans and get along well with kids and everyone. They also have great hunting instincts and are smart.
Are all White Maine Coons deaf?
No, not all White Maine Coons are deaf. However, they are more likely to be deaf compared to other color variations due to a congenital defect that usually manifests from birth. This implies that the process started from the mother’s womb and the defect may happen in either one or both ears.
The white masking gene responsible for the color of the cat’s fur may also cause abnormalities such as deafness. The said gene may cause abnormalities in the melanin forming cells or melanocytes resulting in blue eyes. These cats are more likely to be deaf compared to those that have green or brown eyes. This is because the color blue is an indicator of high levels of abnormal melanocytes.
If you suspect that your white Maine Coon is deaf, you may request your vet to perform a brainstem auditory evoked response or BAER test wherein auditory stimulus is delivered through headphones.
White Maine Coon health issues
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or RSPCA white cats like the white Maine Coons are prone to sunburn compared to other color variations. To protect your feline from the sun’s harmful rays you should keep your cat indoors and do not allow her to bask in direct sunlight. Apply sunscreen and use sunscreen wipes on your cat’s vital body parts like the nose, belly, tips of ears, groin and other areas where there are thin patches or have no hair at all.
Aside from sunburn, white Maine Coons are more prone to skin cancer because of the pale skin color. The areas most affected are the ears, eyelids and nose.
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