Cats come in a beautiful rainbow of colors and patterns. Some cat colors and patterns are very common and others are rare. If you’re wondering if brown cats are considered rare, the answer is, it depends!
Some brown colors and pattern, like brown tabby, are fairly common in cats, but others are rare. Solid brown cats, sometimes referred to as chocolate, sable, or chestnut, are rare. Just one purebred cat breed comes only in brown—the Havana Brown, which is completely brown, including the nose, paw pads, and whiskers.
Some brown colors and pattern, like brown tabby, are fairly common in cats, but others are rare.
Solid brown cats, sometimes referred to as chocolate, sable, or chestnut, are rare.
Just one purebred cat breed comes only in brown—the Havana Brown, which is completely brown, including the nose, paw pads, and whiskers.
Some brown colors and patterns in cats are fairly common, but some brown cats are quite rare. Read on to learn about the different cat colors and patterns, what causes brown coat color in cats, the different types of brown cat coats, and which brown coat patterns are rare and common.
Cat Colors and Patterns
To understand what makes a brown cat’s coloration rare or common, it helps to have an understanding of cat coat colors and patterns. When thinking about the overall color of cats, two things contribute to their complete look: color and pattern.
Color is the general hue of the cat. Cats come in many different colors, including white, black, brown, cinnamon, red/orange, cream, blue/gray, lilac/lavender, and fawn. Some cats are all one color, and some come in more than one color.
Pattern refers to the type of markings a cat has. Cats come in many different patterns, some of which include multiple colors. Some common patterns seen in cats include:
- Solid: One consistent color throughout without any other colors or markings.
- Tabby: Stripes over a solid ground color. The stripes come in four possible variations (mackerel, classic, spotted, or ticked).
- Parti-color: More than one color, including tortoiseshell, blue cream, lavender cream, and calico.
- Bi-color: Also called tuxedo or van, a parti-colored cat that has solid patches or spots of white and another color and/or pattern.
- Pointed: As seen in the Siamese cat, a light-colored body with darker “points” of color on the legs, tail, and head.
What Causes Brown Coat Color in Cats?
In cats, the colors black, brown, and cinnamon are related colors, caused by the feline primary gene for coat color (B/b/b1). Dominant allele B causes black coloration, the recessive allele b leads to brown/chocolate and the recessive allele b1 causes a lighter cinnamon color.
Completely different genes cause the various patterns seen in cats, such as the tabby, part-color, bi-color, and pointed patterns. As you can see it’s rather complicated!
Different Types of Brown Cat Coats
Cats can be solid brown or brown with a pattern. Solid brown cats come in a range of hues, from very light tan to deep chocolate brown. Various words are used to describe cats that come in solid brown, including sable, chocolate, chestnut, or sepia.
You’ll see such terms used in the breed standards for certain pedigreed cats. Aside from solid brown, patterns seen in brown cats include brown tabby, brown spotted tabby, brown ticked, brown spotted, brown pointed (often called chocolate point), and bi-colored (brown with white).
Many of these colors and patterns are found on longhaired cats, shorthaired cats, wire-haired cats, and those with very short, velvety coats as seen on the Cornish Rex or Devon Rex.
Are Brown Cats Considered Rare?
Because brown coloration results from the recessive version of the gene responsible for black brown, and cinnamon, brown cats are rarer than black cats. Brown tabbies are the most common brown-colored cats. Solid brown cats are much rarer, as are parti-color, bi-color, and pointed brown cats, such as the seal point Siamese.
Cat Breeds That Come in Solid Brown
Just one purebred cat breed comes only in brown—the Havana Brown. Some popular breeds come in lots of colors, including solid brown, which is the rarest shade of brown. These solid brown cats might be referred to as chocolate cats. Some domestic shorthair cats or domestic longhair cats might also comes in solid brown. Breeds that may be solid brown include:
#1 Havana Brown
The Havana Brown cat is a rich and even shade of warm dark brown all over. The breed does not come in any color other than solid brown. The color of this gorgeous cat is described as a rich, even shade of warm brown, with the color tending toward a warm red-brown (mahogany) rather than a cool black-brown.
The Havana Brown is self-brown, meaning the cat is completely brown all over its body. Even the nose, paw pads, and whiskers are brown. The Havana Brown has vivid green eyes. The smooth coat is short to medium in length.
Based on the breed name you might think that the Havana Brown comes from Cuba, but this is not the case. it was developed in England in the 1950s, and the breed name might have been chosen as a nod to the Havana rabbit (which comes in a similar chocolate color) or the rich brown color of a Havana cigar.
The Burmese cat comes in four colors, but two of those colors are shades of solid brown. These brown colors include sable, which is a rich, warm, sable brown, and champagne, which is a warm honey beige.
The Burmese inherited its colors from the Siamese cat, which was used to help create the Burmese breed. The Siamese comes in pointed colors, but the Burmese’s short, glossy coat is always solid.
#3 European Burmese
- ORIGIN: Burma, Thailand
- HEIGHT: 10″- 12″
- ADULT WEIGHT: 10 – 14 pounds
- LIFE SPAN: 10-15 years
The European Burmese is very closely related to the Burmese with both breeds able to trace their origins back to a single cat that was used in Burmese breeding programs in the 1930s when the breed was first being developed.
Whereas the Burmese was developed in the United States, the European Burmese was developed in United Kingdom. Though similar, the two breeds have separate breed standards with slight differences between them.
That said, these two breeds are more alike than they are different. The European Burmese comes in several solid colors and parti-colors, including brown (a rich, warm, seal brown) and chocolate (a warm milk chocolate).
Also Read: Best Cat Food For Burmese Cats
#4 Oriental Shorthair
The Oriental Shorthair was created in England in the 1950s after cat breeders crossed different breeds with Siamese cats. In addition to the Siamese, some of the breeds included in the Oriental Shorthair’s development include the Abyssinian, British Shorthair, and Russian Blue.
The Oriental Shorthair looks a lot like a Siamese, but it comes in many more colors and patterns. Today’s Oriental comes in many colors, including the brown shades of chestnut (a rich, chestnut brown) and cinnamon (a light, reddish brown).
Also Read: Best Cat Food For Oriental Cats
Image Credit: Felisophic.com
Though the RagaMuffin can be any color, it is one of the relatively few breeds that can come in solid brown. This somewhat new breed was developed in California in the mid-1990s using an unrecognized breed called the “Cherubim.” The RagaMuffin’ s silky, medium-long coat looks and feels luxurious, and as an added bonus, it resists matting.
Other Cat Breeds That Come in Brown
Many other popular cat breeds and domestic cats come in brown patterns, such as tabby, part-color, bi-color, and pointed. Certain color patterns like the brown tabby are not as rare as others like brown bi-colored (solid brown with white). Some breeds that come in various brown patterns include:
- American Bobtail
- American Curl
- American Shorthair
- American Wirehair
- British Shorthair
- Cornish Rex
- Devon Rex
- Exotic Shorthair
- Maine Coon
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Scottish Fold
- Selkirk Rex
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the rarest color of cat?
The rarest color of cat is albino, which is pure white. An albino cat might look like a regular solid white cat, but true albinism is caused by a genetic condition that results in a lack of pigmentation. Albino cats are pure white, and they have very pale blue eyes or pink-colored eyes. Albino cats are very sensitive to sunlight due to the lack of melanin in their skin.
What are the chances of a brown cat?
Although brown tabby cats are somewhat common, solid brown cats, sometimes referred to as chocolate, sable, or chestnut, are much rarer. The genes that causes a cat’s coat to be brown are recessive genes, so they are expressed less commonly than the dominant version of the gene, which causes a cat to be black. As a result, black cats are extremely common and solid brown cats are less common.
What is a brown cat called?
Various terms are used to describe brown cats, depending on whether the cat is solid-colored or has a pattern. Some terms used to describe cats that come in solid brown include sable, chocolate, chestnut, or sepia. Brown cats may also be brown tabby, brown spotted tabby, brown ticked, brown spotted, brown pointed (often called chocolate point), and bi-colored (brown with white).
What kind of cat is all brown?
One breed of cat comes only in solid brown—the Havana Brown, which is a rich and even shade of warm brown (self-brown, meaning even the cat’s nose, paw pads, and whiskers are brown). A few other popular cat breeds come in solid brown, but also come in other colors. Some examples are the Burmese, European Burmese, Oriental Shorthair, and RagaMuffin. Many other popular cat breeds come in brown hues that are patterned or pointed. Some breeds never come in brown, including the Bombay, Burmilla, Chartreux, Egyptian Mau, Korat, Nebelung, and Russian Blue.