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Black a lucky colour for cats

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Usually, being an odd colour is bad news in the animal kingdom, but for some cats, such as jaguars and leopards, being melanistic seems to be a good idea.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the University of Maryland think studying jaguars and how the gene that regulates the colour of their fur might also change other aspects of their body, such as possibly making them more resistant to disease. Making wild black cats very lucky indeed!
Of course, this doesn't explain why some big cats, like lions and tigers, don't have a melanistic phase. Except, of course, in furry fandom!

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Melanistic jaguars and leopards are known amongst big cat handlers and trainers for being more fierce and aggressive than their normally-colored siblings. One handler I spoke with attributed this to the tendancy of the mothers to reject melanistic offspring, saying he felt that because they are shunned or abused by their mothers when they are young the cats become decidedly more unpredictable and aggressive as adults.

As for the reason behind the coloration: One theory that has been advanced is that the melanistic trait may be an evolutionary adaptation for jaguars and leopards in areas where the forests are denser, the thinking being that an "all black" coloring might be useful. This isn't a very well-accepted theory; the entire purpose of the patterning on the coat is to help break up the form of the cat as it moves amongst the foliage. It seems more likely that this was a recessive trait that began to flourish in some areas simply because of how the stock was interbreeding.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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About the author

MelSkunk (Melissa Drake)read storiescontact (login required)

a student and Skunk from Toronto, ON, interested in writting, art, classic cars and animals