One of the most beautiful color variations in Scottish cats is golden and silver. No one can resist a Scottish cat in a silvery white or sunny golden fur coat. But why do these colors, being at the peak of popularity, remain rare, expensive and exclusive? Why do catteries of Scottish cats most often give preference to the familiar colors: white, black, red, blue and tabby: marble and spot, secretly dreaming of precious colors? Why at show such a spectacular golden Scottish cat can be bypassed by a cat in a classic color?
All these strange phenomena can be explained very simply – working on such colors is incredibly difficult, does not exclude unexpected “surprises” and requires a lot of knowledge and incredible patience.
Чем же усложняется работа заводчика над золотым и серебристым окрасом?
What makes the breeder’s work on the golden and silver color more difficult?
Heading the cattery of Scottish cats of golden and silver colors, the breeder always faces a difficult choice. Its task is to form the “purity” of the color while maintaining the breed type. And this is not an easy task. Because Scottish cats of these colors were held hostage to their beauty. Since golden and silver colors can be attributed to unstable in crosses, they are bred almost only “in themselves”, and are jealous of the blood of the same breed of classic colors. The latter have not used interbreed mating for a long time, due to which the Scottish type has been completely perfected, which we consider to be perfect at the moment. This was achieved through complex work on gene complexes supported by interline crossings. In general, the golden and silver colors of Scottish cats can be attributed to an isolated group of colors. And the selection of breeding sires by color and quality of wool led to the consolidation of some of the shortcomings affecting the type of Scottish cat: wide-set ears, simplification of fold ears, heavier bones, short tail. But at the same time in these color groups there was a fixed gene complex of tipped and ticked colors. This determines the main task for the cattery of Scottish cats of golden and silver colors – without destroying the genetic complex of tipping (tip) and ticked colors, to attach no less complex complexes of genes that determine the breed type.
How to solve this difficult task for the cattery of golden and silver Scottish cats? It is possible to improve the breed type of precious colors by mating with Scottish cats of classic colors: smoky and solid. Some catteries of golden and silver Scottish cats have chosen this path, but it often ends in failure. Because the crossing of golden or silver Scottish cats with solid or smoky relatives leads to the loss of even and high-quality tipping in chinchillas and shaded offspring. Kittens from such mating are usually obtained with a poor-quality color, intermediate between tipping and tabby. Tabby becomes fuzzy and blurry. And shading or tipping becomes uneven, “shadow” stripes appear. And kittens from mating Scottish cats of golden color with black tabby or monophonic ones acquire a gray undercoat, thereby losing “golden”.
Another important point: when using solid Scottish cats to improve the breed type in golden and silver colors, it is associated with eye color. After all, plain Scottish cats have yellow, orange or copper eyes, while for silver cats, green eyes are preferable, and for golden cats ones it is strictly required. And kittens from mixed pairs (yellow-eyed and green-eyed parents) usually have yellow-green, uneven eye color.
It turns out that most of the first generation kittens obtained under such a breeding program will not be able to be show specimens, some of them will be rejected, and only a small part will be able to become a breed class intended exclusively for breeding.
But in this case, the cattery of golden and silver Scottish cats faces another problem, because it is very difficult and long to restore high-quality tipping or eye color due to their complex inheritance. To do this, sometimes it is required to knit cats of this received first generation with Scots of high quality color with rich green eyes, preferably related, for three to four generations. But even here another problem awaits the breeder – Scottish cats of tipped colors are more difficult to improve the breed type than cats of other colors. For example; a first generation Scottish kitten, obtained from a Scottish chinchilla and a Scottish cat of a solid color, in an excellent breed type, will not be much better in the type of its chinchilla parent, or even almost identical in appearance. But despite this, the first generation Scottish kitten will be a potential carrier of the necessary genes. And therefore, in order for the type of his line to improve, it is necessary to re-mate with kittens of the modern type, or at least similar kittens among themselves.
All these problems and fall a heavy burden on the breeder engaged in breeding Scottish cats of gold and silver colors. Such a breeder always faces a difficult choice – by choosing to improve the type, he will lose high-quality color in his cattery of Scottish cats of gold and silver colors, he will go the other way – he will lose the opportunity to improve the type of Scottish cats. Therefore, each professional cattery of Scottish and British cats of rare colors chooses its own path of development, create its own breeding program, expects certain results from its work.
Trying to consolidate new silver or golden colors and improve the breed type of the Scottish cat, breeders willfully create new colors, not only in Scottish cats, but in nature in general. So, for example, Scottish blue cats and colorpoints, introduced to improve the breed type, laid down new lines and new colors: like blue chinchillas, blue golden, golden colorpoint (golden point), silver chinchilla point (silver point). It is this, as the appearance of such colors in Scottish cats, and confirms the use of solid Scottish cats to improve the breed type.
In my opinion, at this stage in the development of golden and silver colors in a Scottish cat, the most optimal choice will be the choice of tactics of a single introduction of a solid Scottish cat into the golden and silver breeding group. This program introduces the necessary genes into the cattery’s population and makes it possible, in the future, after three to four generations, to obtain the optimal combination of color and type. This will ensure the creation of a new breeding line and minimize the severe color and eye color loss among the Scottish cattery cats. Since, choosing a strategy of breeding work with periodic use of monochromatic cats, the type will progress faster, but quickly as much as the quality of color and eye color will deteriorate.
Whatever tactics the breeder of the cattery of Scottish cats of golden and silver colors chooses, it must be remembered that the main thing is that any breeding work for breeding Scottish cats should be reduced to improving the breed and not in any way to deterioration.