Do you have a kitten that seems to have mysteriously changed colors? If so, they may have a fever coat. Although “fever coat” may sound a bit scary, it is nothing to worry about and does not pose any harm to your kitten.
Although it is natural for all kittens to change color and coat slightly as they mature, a fever coat is a particular incident in kittens whose mothers were ill or on medication while pregnant. The increase in temperature with the mother’s womb caused the kitten’s pigment to not develop properly. Let us take a closer look at fever coat in kittens.
What is Fever Coat in Kittens?
Fever coat happens whenever a mother cat had fever inducing infections, extreme stress, or was on certain medications while pregnant (although this is rare). Whenever the mother has extremely high temperatures, the kitten’s coat does not develop properly within the womb. This is simply because feline coat pigmentation is sensitive to heat.
So, these kittens are typically born with cream, frosted silver-grey, or reddish coats. These coats will eventually change to their actual pigmentation after they are born. You can expect the coat to change within a few months to a year after the kitten’s birth.
Does Fever Coat Have Any Negative Side Effects?
No, unless you prefer the fever coat coloration to their natural color. Fever coat does not lead to any genetic abnormalities, health issues, or anything else you should be concerned about. It merely means that the pigment did not fully develop in the womb and that it must develop after the kitten is born.
Different Types of Fever Coats
Even though the same general occurrence causes fever coats (the increased temperature within the womb), there are different types or manifestations of fever coats. Because of how many fever coat types there are, it can be difficult to identify fever coat in your kitten. Here are the most common types of fever coat.
- All-Over Color
An all-over fever coat means that the entire coat has a white, red, or silver coloration. At most, there may be a slight pattern underneath the fever coat that indicates the cat’s natural color for when it matures. For example, an orange tabby may have a cream fever coat with pale stripes. As it matures, its orange coat with replace the cream one.
In contrast to all-over color, some fever coats manifest in color patches. This means that some patches will be the natural color while others are the fever coat colors. A brown tabby may have a normal head, paws, and tail, but its belly may be touched with fever coat colorations.
One of the rare manifestations of fever coats is dorsal stripes. These stripes are typically parallel and colored white, grey, or red on their back. These stripes are similar to a tabby cat’s dorsal stripe pattern, but they go away with age.
Fever Coat vs Color Points
It is important to point out that fever coats are not the same as undeveloped color. Siamese, Himalayan, and other color-pointed cats have undeveloped color because of enzymes. These enzymes mean color only develops in temperatures below 100 °Fahrenheit (37.8°C), way under the mother’s wombs natural temperature. Thus, color-pointed cats are born solid cream with color points at their coolest regions.
In contrast, fever coat has nothing to do with enzymes and simply tells you that the mother cat was sick. There is nothing abnormal or wrong with the kitten, and the coat is not determined by the cat breed.
Meet a Kitten with Fever Coat
Do you want to meet some cats with fever coat? Meet Bruce!
Bruce the Cat
Bruce the Cat is one of the most famous cats with a fever coat. Having his own blog, Bruce is known throughout the internet for his striking good looks and outrageous personality. As you can see, Bruce was born with an all-over gray fever coat. Now that he is mature, he has a stunning jet black coat instead. Still handsome!
Simply put, a fever coat is a phenomenon where the kitten’s coat did not fully develop in the womb because the kitten’s mother had a fever. Most kittens will shed their fever coat by the time they are four or five months old. Beyond this magical color-changing ability, the fever coat has no other effect on the kitten, meaning it will grow up happy and healthy!
Featured image: aruba85, Pixabay