Black and white cats are popular kitties.
Perhaps due to the striking contrast in coat color, or some less tangible factor, cats with white and black fur are feline fan favorites.
This is true in both purebred (show cats as well as pet quality) and random bred house cats.
What's the appeal of these bi-color kitties?
Maybe it's due to the mystery or notoriety surrounding well-known cats of the white, black, or black and white variety.
For example, James Bond's villainous Blofeld had a white Persian cat that he kept on his lap, stroking it while being creepy.
There are longstanding myths surrounding both pure black and pure white cats as well, involving Halloween, demons, witches, and the occult.
Perhaps people find black and white cats even more mysterious, combining the mystery of both white and black felines together in one package.
Maybe it's simply the fame of both real and fictional kitties like Socks, the former resident Whitehouse cat, or Sylvester, and Felix.
The photo above is of tuxedo adorned Norwegian Forest Cat, Vampirella, with a "raccoon" mask.
While many black and white cats are of the random bred variety, there are also registered purebred cats that may be of this coat color.
For example, although available in many coat colors and patterns, the Norwegian Forest cat is very striking with a white and black coat, as are members of the Ragamuffin cat breed.
None of the organizations that make up the Cat Fancy list a breed that is required to be both black and white (at least that I can find). There are, however, breeds that fall on either end of the spectrum.
The Foreign White cat breed is a pure white cat with blue eyes. Essentially, it's a Siamese cat with no points and a white coat. On the opposite end of things, the Bombay cat breed has a pure black cat.
The photo above is of a Ragamuffin. The Ragamuffin cat breed began as a variant of the Ragdoll (although the CFA breed article indicates that the origins of the breed are unclear). Its full coat makes for a great looking black and white cat.
Some breeds, such as the British Shorthair, can be shown in what is called "smoke." A cat with the smoke pattern is a standard color, but instead of maintaining that color all the way along the hair shaft down to the roots, the undercoat is white (or silver).
When at rest, with the fur laid flat against the cat's body, the cat may appear to be a solid (self-colored) black cat. When the cat moves, or bends, however, the undercoat becomes visible, providing what's known as a shot-silk appearance. This gives more depth to the look of the cat's coat.
Felix the Cat is one of the most recognizable characters in the world.
Felix's body is black, and I've seen him often referred to as a black cat, but his cheek and chin area are white.
Everyone knows Sylvester, the cartoon cat who chases Tweety bird around in the Looney Tunes cartoons.
As for real live black and white felines, White Heather was the black and white Persian who was Queen Victoria's favorite cat. When Queen Victoria (1819-1901) died, care of White Heather fell on her successor, King Edward VII (1841–1910).
Simon, pictured here, was a tuxedo cat who served aboard the HMS Amethyst and kept the rats under control, even after being wounded in battle.
White Heather is sometimes reported as a Persian, sometimes an Angora, or could be referred to as simply a longhair. She's called a "fat Angora" in the book, 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization: History's Most Influential Felines.
Socks was the White House cat when President Bill Clinton was in office.
Then, there's Simon, Able Seacat who was a hero in the British Royal Navy during the Yangtze Incident.
Like many ship's cats before him, Simon protected the food stores by catching rats.
Despite being wounded, Simon tended to his duties and boosted the morale of the sailors, some of whom were also wounded.
He was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal posthumously in 1949.
Photo credit: Oscar the black and white longhaired cat / CC by 2.0
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