Agouti ticked cat coat

Here is a great close up photograph of an Agouti ticked cat coat on a wildcat, the Jaguarundi.

ticked cat coat
The "ticked" hairs of a Jaguarundi wildcat. This is a cropped images from a larger version, allowed under the Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic creative commons license. Photo by alumroot

If you look at the hair over the eyes (great wildcat wild look eyes) you can see the color at the first half of the hair (from the skin) is black. Then it is yellow and the tip is black again.

The black pigment is eumelanin. The yellow pigment is phaeomelanin. Melanin is a substance often seen in plant and animal life in which it primarily serves as providing pigment. For the technically minded eumelanin and pheomelanin are:

"a brown-black polymer of dihydroxyindole, dihydroxyindole carboxylic acid, and their reduced forms. Another common form of melanin is pheomelanin, a red-brown polymer of benzothiazine units largely responsible for red hair and freckles" (src: Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version - see Wikipedia® licensing below).

The agouti gene controls the way the pigmentation is deposited in the individual hair. Eumelanin is produced in cells called melanocytes. The agouti gene inhibits the production of eumelanin but less so in the case of pheomelanin.

The wild type A (dominant) gene causes the hair to be yellow at the base and black at the tip. This description seems to be partially contradict what we see in the hairs in the photograph where they are black-yellow-black. The basic principle is in place still, however (comments welcome).

The classic agouti ticked cat coat is the Abyssinian cats coat. Tabby cats have ticked hair and a pattern as well; either classic, stripes (mackerel) or spotted. A classic mackerel pattern can be seen on the Toyger cat. See cat coats tabby too if you like. See links to more coat types.

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