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Sasquatch vs. My Cat

Updated: Sunday, May 19, 2019 02:06 PM
Published: Saturday, November 18, 2017 02:21 PM
Written by Margaret Gates

We have two calico cats. The kind with big patches of white, black or dark grey and orange tabby stripes. This coat color is always striking and a favorite the world over. I always thought it was cool that our calicos are really orange tabbies, with a white coat and a black coat mutation thrown in together. Makes for interesting combinations and random patterns.

We've all seen the funny pictures on the internet of cats with unusual markings. Social media are full of cats with Hitler mustaches, strange eyebrows or heart shapes in the fur. Even a few with the shape of a cat – on the cat. Calicos are prime targets for "fur" watching. It's kind of like looking for images in the shapes of clouds – or the spaces between the clouds. So, I put on my best cloud-watching hat and took a look at Stanley, the Foundation logo cat.

Stanley, a girl despite her name, has those adorable raccoon-face markings. That isn't unusual, lots of cats have those. But, on her right flank, she has a shape in dark grey that looks like, well, Sasquatch. With its arms raised. Okay, a pissed-off, flailing Sasquatch! I don't think I'm imagining it. Once you see it, it's pretty clear and hard to un-see.

She has something on her left side, too. It looks like a lumpy person with one hand out, standing before a bush or small tree or something like that. Again, once you see it, it won't go away. Okay, so my raccoon-faced cat has Sasquatch on one side and Shrubbery Lady on the other. Maybe I should stop fur watching.

We have another cat with interesting markings, and you don't have to use your imagination. Shadow, our black cat, has a stripe. Yes, just one. When we adopted her at about eight weeks, we were told she was found all by herself. No mother or other siblings could be found. She was slightly injured, too.

She had a laceration that went from one side on her flank, over her back and down the other side. Imagine if you placed a horseshoe over her back, that's the path. There was a second scrape parallel to it, but much smaller. The rescuer speculated that she had been attacked by a fox or dog, had been picked up in the predator's mouth, but had managed to escape. That would explain the parallel cuts. She didn't have internal injuries, just the cuts. When we got her, the scabs were still coming off. This scenario also would explain the lack of siblings. They likely didn't make it.

She had been placed with another group of kittens that were up for adoption, from which we were adopting a pair of sisters, so we adopted her, too. They had all bonded and we couldn't break them up now! Shadow's skin healed nicely and she did well. But, as the fur on either side of the scar grew back, it came in white. So, we have a black cat with a bright white stripe going around her middle! Yeah, I know, if we knew she was going to look like this we should have named her Oreo.

Our veterinarian told us this wasn't uncommon in cats, and that black cats could even get a little tuft of white fur at the site of an injection. Anything that traumatizes the skin can cause this.

Our other calico, Fifi, is much more usual. Lots of big patches, but nothing that seems to look like anything. We've had other calicos in the past, too, with nothing obvious on them either. Stanley, it seems, is a bit unusual. What about your calicos? Got any interesting shapes?

Margaret Gates is the founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation.