domenica 31 ottobre 2010

Colours, Patterns and the Easy Mind System for newbies

Norwegian Forest Cats (NFO’s) may come in a large variety of colours and patterns, so it may be a little hard for a beginner to distinguish them. To make it simpler, I will try to explain by my own words how it works.

Imagine a hair as being a can filled with white paint, where you can put a pigment and give it some colour. In our homes we can use different amounts of pigment and combine them in order to obtain literally millions of different colours. For instance, if combine blue and yellow, we will obtain green. If you don’t put any pigment in the can, then the paint will remain white.

On the NFO’s world, things are a lot more simpler. There are only two pigments responsible for the NFO’s colour and you can only have one of them in each hair, not both at the same time: black (eumelanin) or red (phaeomelanin). Again, if you don’t put any pigment in the hair, then the hair will remain white. So to be easyer, we can consider white as beying the absense of pigment, not a colour itself.

Taking that under consideration, at the base of each NFO’s hair can we have three basic colours: Black (if a black pigment was used), red (if a red pigment was used) or white (no pigment was used). Multiply that for millions and millions of hairs and you have a Norwegian Forest Cat with an unique colour and pattern. This is one of the most basic and important principle to understand, all the rest that comes after.

Now imagine that you have a can filled with black paint and your wife or husband has a can filled with red paint. You pick up a white cat, divide him in half, and you both start painting your half of the cat. In the end, the cat will be half black and half red, and if the paint finishes before you paint the entire cat, he will also have some white parts (no paint).

This is another basic principle to understand. Males can only be painted with one colour, so they will only have one colour, black or red. If some parts of the coat have no paint, then they will also have white.

Females can be painted with the two colours, so they will be only black if the two cans of paint contain black, only red if the two cans of paint contain red, or black and red if one can of paint contains black and the other contains red. If some parts of the coat have no paint, then they will also have white. These females with both colours are called tortoiseshell ("tortie"). So if you ever see a cat that as black and red at the same time, you can be sure that it is a female. I will explain latter the genetic reasons why this happens, but for now, lets just stick to the colours issue.

But in cats we see many different colors, not just these three! That is because the pigment looks different depending on other things that go into action. Beside pigmentation, there are other thing that might change the NFO’s colour and pattern: Dilution, Amber, Tabby pattern (agouti) and Silver. They can all be present combined or isolated.

If the cat as dilution in color, it gets a paler, more diluted color. Black will turn into blue, red will turn into cream and torties will turn into blue and cream torties.

Amber is a derivation from black, so it doesn’t affect red. It is na unique feature to the Norwegian forest cats, no other breed as this feature. When present, Black will turn into Amber and Blue (black with dilution) will turn into Light Amber.

So far we have been looking at cats without patterns (solid). Cats with pattern (agouti, usually called tabby) come in all the colors we have looked at above. Tabby NFO’s may have different patterns: classic/blotched tabby (large and well separated stripes), mackerel tabby (similar to tigers) spotted tabby (pattern with spots) or ticked tabby (very close stripes).

The last variant is silver. To all the colors we have looked at so far (black, red, blue, cream, Amber and light Amber), silver can be added. Silver is making the color paler, particularly in the lighter pigmented areas, like for instance the lighter areas in a tabby cat, close to the root of the hair, and in the undercoat. The penetration of silver varies a lot. In some cats it is barely visible, in others it might be very well developed. The degree of silver can also vary over time in a cat. A solid NFO that as no pattern and as silver is called "smoke". The tabby NFO‘s that have silver are called "silver".

Last but not least, all this rules do not apply to white cats. Since they have no colour, they also cannot have tabby pattern, dilution, amber or silver, at least visible to the eye.

Having all this things in mind, there are very possible variations in NFO’s, as well as in other cat breeds. To handle this issue, a few years ago was created the FIFe Easy Mind System (EMS). The purpose of the EMS system is to show the breed and colour of cats and to do this in an abbreviated form. The EMS system has its origin in FIFe (1989) and is now widely spread and used all over the world, in FIFe as well as outside FIFe. All cats with a FIFe pedigree have an EMS color-code describing the breed, color and pattern of the specific cat. In the case of the Norwegian forest cats, the code is made of five different parts:

- Breed
- Basic Colour
- Amount of white, if present
- Pattern, if present
- Eye colour, if it is a all white cat

Breed: The Breed of the cat is identified by three upper case letters, where the first one is the one beginning the name of the breed. In the case of the Norwegian forest cats, the three upper case letters code is always NFO.

Basic Colour: After the breed code comes a one lower case letter code for the basic colour of the cat. If necessary, additional lower case letters are added for amber (t) and silver (s).

n: Black (ns: Black Silver)
a: Blue (as: Blue Silver)
d: Red (ds: Red Silver)
e: Cream (es: Cream Silver)
f: Black Tortoiseshell (fs: Black Silver Tortoiseshell)
g: Blue Tortoiseshell (gs: Blue Silver Tortoiseshell)
w: White
nt: Amber (nts: Amber Silver)
at: Light Amber (ats: Light Amber Silver)

Amount of white: Next comes a number of numerical codes indicating white if present.

01: with white, van pattern (5/6 of the cat white)
02: with white, harlequin pattern (1/2 to 2/3 of the cat white)
03: with white, bicolour pattern (1/3 to 1/2 of the cat white)
09: with white, unspecified amount and pattern (any amount of white from a white toe to an almost white cat)

Tabby Pattern: If there is pattern present, then follows numerical codes indicating tabby pattern

21: unspecified tabby pattern
22: blotched tabby
23: mackerel tabby
24: spotted tabby
25: ticked tabby

Eye colour: In NFO’s, the code for eye colour is not given because the kind of eye colour does not matter when it comes to colour classes on shows. It is only given to cats that are all white (w) or with white, either as van (01) or as harlequin (02), because they have varying eye colour.

61: blue eyed
62: orange eyed
63: odd eyed
64: green

This are the five different parts that make up a Norwegian forest cat colour code and they are always written in this exact order, let’s look at some examples:

- NFO n 09 23: black tabby mackerel with white
- NFO d 22: Red Tabby Blotched (no white present)
- NFO gs 03 22: Blue Silver Tortie Tabby Blotched Bicolour
- NFO as: Blue Smoke (solid colour, no white present, no pattern present)
- NFO w 61: White Blue Eyed

To finish, I must highlight that this is not an accurate technical explanation. It is a “common word” explanation intended for the common people that are not expert in cats, explained in a way that is easyer for them to understand. The purpose is to give them some basick knowledge about the subject and get them interested in learning more.

lunedì 25 ottobre 2010

Pawpeds G1 Course / Curso G1 da Pawpeds

Today I have received confirmation that I have passed the exam for the PawPeds's G1 Course. I would like to thank Ulrika Olsson, Roberta Martire, Claudia Guidoboni, Petra Kerkeling-Sheerin and all my colleagues for all the help and new knowledge that I have acquired. Thank you all and see you on G2 :)

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Hoje recebi a confirmação de que passei o exame do curso G1 da Pawpeds. Gostava de agradecer á Ulrika Olsson, Roberta Martire, Claudia Guidoboni, Petra Kerkeling-Sheerin e todos os meus colegas por toda a ajuda e novos conhecimentos que adquiri. Obrigado a todos e vemo-nos no G2 :)

martedì 12 ottobre 2010

Elvas Exhibition Results / Resultados da Exposição de Elvas

Saturday / Sábado:

Sif - Exc. 1 (6-10 months)
Nani - Exc. 1 (6-10 months)

Sunday / Domingo:

Sif - Exc. 1 (6-10 months)
Nani - Exc. 1 (6-10 months)

Heres a few pictures / Aqui ficam algumas fotos: