Is my boy a Black Smoke or just a beautiful Black?

CaribbeanAzure

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Hello everyone. Quick introduction. I am cat mom to four beautiful kitties. All them were rescued. Three abandoned at my house (I live in the country so it happens far too often) and one adopted from a friend’s house when he was 7 weeks (no mama cat - but the daddy cat was attempting to raise him).

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This is our latest baby. We found him at the end of October and the vet estimated his age to be five months at the time. He was absolutely starving with chronic diarrhea (which has since been cleared up with medication).

His name is D’Artagnan Montgomery Jonquil - D’Artagnan for short ;). He is a beautiful cat with very large paws, toe fluff, and ear furnishings (no tufts that I can find though).

He is so pretty (yes I am bragging about my baby boy) another visitor at my vet’s office asked me if he was a special breed.

At times I wonder if he could be black smoke in color. But then other times he just appears to be black with gray. I am no expert on any of this and would just like to hear what your opinions are on the matter.

Either way is fine - it won’t make me love him any less.
 

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sivyaleah

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Hi and welcome!

First, what an awesome name your boy has! And yes, very handsome!

I'm sure someone else will be able to address this in more detail but I'll give you my personal experience.

First, hard to tell without knowing the cats background. Most likely, he's solid black and going through a coat change as a lot of black kittens do. It could be what is known as a "fever coat" which is due to the mom cat having been ill when the kitten was born - in which case eventually he'll grow out of it. Or, could be that one of this parents was black and the other black smoke in color.

For instance here is my personal kitten's story. Luna is a purebred Maine Coon, was listed as solid black but when we picked her up the breeder said - well, looks like she may be black smoke after all. Her mom is solid black, dad is black smoke and she absolutely at 16 weeks old had a very defined smoke undercoat, which also showed up on her neck ruff and back hind fur. We even had her registered as black smoke because of it.

As the weeks went by, however, she started losing a lot of the smokey tone over a lot of her body and became nearly solid black. When she was spayed, we did see that the under fur did indeed still have a that gray fur but really, she now looked like a solid black cat for the most part - in fact, she even started showing a lot of brown in her coat which we found out is common in black kittens also until they get their adult coat.

Depending on how the light hits her, she either now appears very black, dark brown and yes, sometimes you still can see that gray color too still on certain parts of her. So, possibly the breeder may have been right and she will wind up being solid black once she loses all her kitten fur - we won't know for a long time because Maine Coons take a long time to mature but it sure is interesting watching this progress.

Here's a few pix to show you what I'm talking about:

This is when she came to live with us at 16 weeks:

luna 04.jpg

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Then, about a month later. MUCH blacker

luna 102619.jpg


This one taken very recently. Notice the brown tones in the fur. I'm told this will dissipate in time once her adult fur comes in totally and again, is common in black cat kittens. Not a lot of gray left now but it still there as an undercoat.

luna brown.jpg


And yet sometimes she still can look really jet black! This was taken within a day or so of the one above

luna black.jpg


So you see - a lot of variation depending on lighting.

I think your boy will continue to change as he ages. He's only a little younger than our girl so lots of maturing to happen!
 
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CaribbeanAzure

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sivyaleah sivyaleah - Thank you so much for your response! Your baby girl is beautiful! Love those ear tufts! :D I have noticed a bit of brown (rust?) on D’Artagnan’s fur as well.
 

rosegold

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What a lovely kitty!!

My guess is he is just black, not black smoke. I believe smoke would have a starker contrast between the white and black, and a clear point on the strand of hair where the color changes.

You can see on my angel kitty Chai (who was a calico smoke) how the white undercoat showed up under her fur while she was in motion. When petting her it was even more obvious.
6C40BEDA-C753-41B4-983A-E5B1D9DBE706.jpeg
 

lutece

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I would agree with the above posters that your beautiful D’Artagnan is most likely solid black in color. I would describe him as a black domestic longhair. He's gorgeous!

It's normal for black cats, especially longhaired black cats, to have a lighter colored undercoat, and also to be lighter in color on the extra fluffy parts of the coat such as the ruff, belly, etc. You will definitely see this in immature cats going through a coat transition, but it's also totally normal for adult longhaired black cats to have grayish or brownish undercoat. It would actually be unusual for a black longhair to be solid black from the root of each hair to the tip.

rosegold rosegold posted a good example of what a smoke looks like. On a true smoke, you can see the white roots of the hairs when the hair parts. Here's another example, a video of a black smoke longhaired cat:


You can see how the roots of the hair on a smoke cat are white, not "smoky" gray. Although it may seem counterintuitive, a black cat with a "smoky" gray appearance to the roots and undercoat is likely to be a solid black cat, not a smoke.
 
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jefferd18

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I would agree with Lutece up above that you would see white roots of the hairs when the hair is parted and that is why I think your kitty is a smoke. What a gorgeous kitty he is- you must be very proud. :)
 
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CaribbeanAzure

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rosegold rosegold Thank you so much. Your kitty Chai was beautiful! Did she have three legs? I love that. I tried to convince my family to let me adopt a three legged kitten at a rescue (he has since gone to a wonderful home). In a way I am glad I wasn’t able to adopt him because D’Artagnan showed up less than two weeks later and I wouldn’t have been able to keep him if I had just adopted another baby.

lutece lutece thank you so so much! That explanation really does help. I didn’t really expect to find out he was a Smoke but so many pictures on the Internet were misleading when I was trying to do research on it. So I figured I would some experts!

jefferd18 jefferd18 Thank you! I am very proud of him! ❤
 
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