Monday, April 9, 2012

Mediterranean Cats

Mediterranean cats are often white, short haired, slender, with Van-type markings and sometimes they have odd-eye color because of the presence of the while spotting or piebald gene. The medical term is heterochromia iridum.

Having looked at a lot of cat pictures, the above description is quite typical of Mediterranean cats. I am thinking mainly of the Greek Islands and surrounding areas. That is not to say that a lot of other coat types can't be seen as well. You will see a wide range. It is just that this type is fairly typical. You'll see Van-type cats in Morocco too.

Mediterranean cat - Odd eyed cat - photo by ihasb33r (Flickr)

The above picture is a slightly cleaned up version of the original that was taken on Greece as far as I can tell. It is a nice picture, particularly when cleaned up a bit (my personal opinion). That's why I picked it and thanks to the photographer for the license to publish here.

For me the look is so typical of Mediterranean cats. Quite delicate in appearance and size. That is probably due to the heat. Warmer climates tend to produce smaller cats and colder climates produce larger cats (the Sumatran and Siberian tigers are examples).

The genes that have caused the coat are the same as those that produce the Turkish Van pattern in neighboring Turkey. No surprise there as the countries are adjacent to one another. The picture perfect version of the van pattern is an inverted black "V" shape on the forehead and over the eyes and a black tail.

This little cat has a vestige of that. Blue eyes are due to a lack of pigmentation that was removed by the same gene that removes the pigmentation in the fur - the piebald gene. It is the same gene that produces the painted or piebald horse.

Greek cats are not treated that well it appears. A new cat breed is being created in Cyprus. Also you might like to read about the spread of the various cat breeds from the original source.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've seen lots of cats like this when visiting the Med.

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