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What is an all brown cat called?

What is an all brown cat called?

Cats come in a variety of colors and patterns. While many people are familiar with tabby cats, black cats, and Siamese cats, some may wonder what an all brown cat is called. The coats of cats are determined by their genetic makeup and can involve various shades of browns, tans, and fawns.

Breeds of All Brown Cats

There are several specific cat breeds where all brown coats are common such as:

  • Havana Brown – This breed originated in England in the 1950s and was named after Havana cigars which were brown in color. The ideal coat color for the Havana Brown is a rich, warm brown with no markings. They have green eyes.
  • Oriental Shorthair – While known for a variety of coat colors and patterns, solid brown is an acceptable color for this breed according to cat registries. They can range from a warm beige to a cooler toned brown.
  • Siamese – Though often associated with their signature points, Siamese cats can also come in a solid chocolate brown or seal brown color. These cats have blue eyes.
  • Burmese – This breed also comes in a range of coat colors including solid brown called sable. Their eyes are yellow or gold.
  • Russian Blue – Some organizations accept a variant of the Russian Blue with a brown coat called the Russian Brown. Most Russian Blues are a solid blue-grey color with green eyes.
  • Abyssinian – Abbys exhibit a distinct ticked tabby pattern but can also come in a warm ruddy brown known as “sorrel” in the breed.
  • Bengal – Bengals have vivid markings, but some are a tawny brown color looking like a small leopard.
  • Bombay – The signature coat of the Bombay breed is a gleaming black, but brown Bombays also occur, often from crossing with Burmese.
  • British Shorthair – Recognized coat colors include solid brown in this breed.
  • Cornish Rex – Though known for curly coats, Cornish Rex cats can have short straight brown fur.

Domestic Brown Cats

There are also domestic shorthair or longhair cats that have all brown coats but do not belong to a specific breed. These may simply be referred to as brown tabby cats, brown domestic cats, or brown mackerel tabby cats.

The background color of their fur can range from light brown, chocolate brown, cinnamon, tan, fawn, taupe, buff, grey-brown, brown-grey, and more. Often the tones depend on whether the cat has warm (red) undertones or cool (grey) undertones in their fur.

While appearing solid brown from a distance, many non-pedigreed domestic cats will have ghost tabby markings when observed up close. These subtle stripes are a remnant of the tabby gene that codes for the classic tabby pattern.

Are Brown Cats Just Tabby Cats?

There is debate around whether brown cats are simply a variation of tabby cats or their own distinct feline color outside of tabby patterns. Here are some key considerations in this discussion:

  • Genetically brown coats result from variants of the agouti gene that produces tabby stripes and ticks. The agouti protein binds to the black pigment in a cat’s fur creating bands of color.
  • However, in solid brown cats those tabby patterns are obscured leaving behind a more uniform brown color rather than distinct stripes or spots.
  • The genes responsible for brown coats are believed to be variants of the tabby alleles.
  • Cat registries often classify solid brown domestic cats as various shades of brown tabby because of their underlying tabby genetics.
  • Yet breeding programs for specific brown cat breeds suggest there may be separate genetics influencing all brown coats.
  • Ultimately most solid brown cats express some form of tabby genes, leading many breeders and experts to consider brown fur a subtype of tabby coloration.

So while brown coat color derives from tabby genetics, brown cats have a phenotype visibly distinct from the bold stripes and spots of traditional tabby patterns.

Why Are Brown Cats Brown?

The specific genes influencing brown fur in cats are still being researched, but here is what we know:

  • The agouti gene produces the striped tabby pattern by depositing bands of color on individual hairs.
  • Variants of the agouti allele result in different tabby patterns including ticked, mackerel, and spotted.
  • When agouti is expressed uniformly it obscures the distinct bands and spreads color evenly across the coat appearing solid brown.
  • The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene also plays a role influencing warm red and cool grey tones in fur.
  • Additional modifiers like density genes control the intensity of color expression.
  • Selective breeding has concentrated combinations of genes yielding more saturate brown coats in some breeds.

Together these genetic influences interact to produce the spectrum of brown fur seen in cats from pale sand to deep chocolate shades.

Are Brown Cats Rare?

While not as common as grey or black cats, brown cats are relatively widespread among both mixed breed and pedigreed felines. However, the frequency of all brown cats varies by region and breeding trends. Some key points regarding brown cat rarity include:

  • Among randomly bred domestic cats, only about 5-10% have primarily brown coats according to surveys.
  • Breeds fixed for brown coats like the Havana Brown are quite rare, with fewer than 2000 worldwide.
  • Chocolate brown cats tend to be rarer than lighter cinnamon and tan examples.
  • In parts of Asia and the Middle East, brown cats are more prevalent due to selective breeding preferences.
  • Brown cats are less common than tabby cats but more widespread than exotic colors like lilac and chocolate.
  • Recently, brown domestic cat breeds like the Havana Brown have seen renewed enthusiasm among breeders and buyers.

So while not the most common, brown coats are certainly not a rare novelty either. Their popularity rises and falls with changing cat fancy trends over the decades.

Are Brown Cats Friendly?

Personality varies immensely between individual cats based on factors like socialization, environment, and lineage. However, there are some general trends regarding brown cat temperament:

  • Most breeds that exhibit brown coats like Russian Blues, Bengals, and British Shorthairs are known for being playful and attaching to their owners.
  • The active and intelligent Havana Brown is particularly noted for its curious and affectionate nature.
  • Burmese and Bombay cats, which can produce brown kittens, make very loyal and people-oriented pets.
  • Proper handling from kittenhood is critical for any cat to develop good socialization skills.
  • Pedigreed brown cats may be more outgoing than mixed breeds that lack selective breeding for companionability.
  • Individual personality, upbringing, and genetics outweigh any impact of coat color on sociability.

So while no coat color universally determines friendliness, brown cats are well-represented among breeds known for forming strong social bonds with their families.

Do Brown Cats Have Health Problems?

Brown cats are generally healthy, but certain disorders can be associated with specific brown-coated breeds:

Breed Possible Health Issues
Havana Brown Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
Burmese Diabetes
Bengal Progressive Retinal Atrophy
British Shorthair Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Abyssinian Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency

Issues like heart conditions and metabolic disorders seem overrepresented in some inherently brown breeds. Responsible breeders will screen for these problems to avoid propagating unhealthy lines.

Beyond specific breeds, all cats can potentially develop common feline ailments like dental disease, allergies, urinary tract infections, and arthritis as they age. Keeping up with routine veterinary visits is important to catch any problems early on.

Grooming and Care for Brown Cats

Solid brown cats are relatively easy to care for with minimal grooming needs. Here are some tips for keeping a brown cat looking its best:

  • Brush weekly using a slicker brush or furminator to remove dead hair.
  • Trim nails regularly to prevent damage from scratching.
  • Check and clean ears periodically.
  • Wipe face and eyes gently with damp cloth to remove discharge.
  • Bathe only when necessary using cat-safe shampoo.
  • Provide scratching posts and horizontal scratchers to preserve furniture.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and monitor weight.
  • Bring to the veterinarian annually and keep vaccinations current.

With minimal grooming, brown cats tend to keep a lustrous and neat appearance throughout the year. Their coats lack the density and texture that require extensive brushing and maintenance.

Are Brown Cat Personalities Different?

There is no scientific evidence that coat color alone impacts personality in cats. Factors that influence cat behavior include:

  • Breed – Purebred cats are purposefully bred for certain traits.
  • Socialization – Early positive exposure to people and handling.
  • Environment – Housing situation and daily enrichment.
  • Parentage – Kittens will often resemble the temperament of parents.
  • Individual Upbringing – Each cat has unique life experiences.
  • Genetics – Personality can be inherited just like looks.

While genetics related to coat color may be linked to other inherited traits, color itself does not cause behavioral differences in cats. Brown cats exhibit diverse personalities just like any other feline coat color.

Choosing a Brown Cat

For those seeking a brown feline companion, here are some key considerations when selecting a new kitten or cat:

  • Breed or Mix – Choose based on desired personality, activity level, and grooming needs.
  • Health and Temperament Testing – Reputable breeders should provide documentation.
  • Meet the Parents – Observe the sociability and behaviors of mom and dad.
  • Kitten vs. Adult – Kittens require more training, while adults are often calmer.
  • Lifestyle Fit – Match the cat to your household size, noise level, and schedule.
  • Allergies – Spend time with potential cats to assess allergy symptoms.

By selecting an appropriate brown cat for your home and family, you’ll find a loving feline companion for years to come.

Fun Facts About Brown Cats

  • The chocolate brown color of Havana Browns resulted from crossing Siamese with domestic black cats.
  • Brown tabby cats sometimes exhibit faint “M” shaped markings on their foreheads.
  • The Cat Fanciers Association recognizes over 30 different shades of brown coat colors.
  • Some brown cats change color through the year, appearing lighter in winter than summer.
  • The rich brown fur of Bengal cats resembles the Asian leopard cat used in their foundation stock.
  • Celebrities like Orlando Bloom, Lea Michele, and Ed Sheeran have all owned brown cats.
  • The Zula breed from Hawaii exhibits a unique brown-ticked tabby pattern.
  • Brown cats can still sunburn on their ears and noses, requiring cat-safe sunscreen.
  • The Chocolate point coloration in cats like Siamese produces a brown body coloring.
  • Brown tabby cats sometimes exhibit dark horizontal stripes on their legs nicknamed “bracelets.”


In summary, all brown cats arise from genetic variations producing solid or nearly solid brown fur rather than distinct tabby striping. While mixed breed brown cats are relatively common, some purebreds also reliably produce brown coats. These cats span a spectrum of warm cinnamon to deep chocolate hues with either red or grey undertones. Brown coats are linked to certain breeds prone to particular health issues to screen for. However, no inherent connection exists between a cat’s coloration and its personality or temperament. By selecting the appropriate brown cat for your home, you can add a uniquely colored furry friend to your family.