General, Research, Technology

Why are there so many cats with white paws in the world?

The presence of white paws is a unique featuremodern cats, which catches the eye of even those of us who do not consider ourselves special lovers of pets. Scientists note that a similar form of color is extremely rare in wild cats - the elusive cousins ​​of pets. Agreeing with felinologists, the vast majority of owners of domestic cats can also confirm that their pet is the owner of white paws, whose form of color strongly resembles socks. So what is the reason for the appearance of fluffy white paws in the domesticated version of our smaller brothers?

White paws of domestic cats could result from a mutation

Why do cats have white paws?

The story of how cats and cats appearedwhite “socks” on its paws originates at the moment when 10,000 years ago, people and cats decided that living together is better and easier, writes Leslie Lyons, a professor at the Laboratory of Cat Genetics at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, claims that domestication led to a series of unusual mutations.

When people invented farming and began to live in one place, they got grain depots and piles of garbage that attracted rodents, ”Lyons said.

Both for humans and cats, the time has come for mutually beneficial cooperation: people had to deal with fewer rodents, and cats received light food.

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Wild, untamed species whose representativesat one time they became the ancestors of domestic cats, currently lives in Africa and Eurasia. One of the wild cat populations even lives on Mount Etna - an active volcano on the island of Sicily. Kittens of this species can not stand up for themselves until adulthood, so nature gave these animals a special camouflage to help them survive.

F. silvestris - a species of wild cats whose descendants became known as domestic cats

Due to an accidental mutation that occurred somewhatthousand years ago, some cats of the species F. silvestris acquired those same white paws that distinguish them from their fellow tribesmen. Scientists believe that it is the presence of this feature, which greatly interferes with the camouflage of wild cats, caused an unprecedented interest on the part of man. The mutation occurred on time: in its native mixed forest or shrubby desert, a cat with completely white paws would stand out in front of predators and prey, but with humans, survival for cats has become much easier than before.

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Choosing your pets exactly animals withmarks, man, thereby, created a new filter for evolution: for reasons. which scientists do not fully understand, white spots usually appear when the most tamed individuals are selected and bred. This amazing property applies not only to cats, but also to horses, pigs, mice, cows and even rats. Distinctive fur colors and markings appear even during the development of a cat's embryo. Cells that give feline fur its color first appear as neural crest cells that are located along what will soon become the back.

The resulting cells slowly migrate down andaround the body. If these waves of cells move far enough so as not to meet each other on one side of the cat, the embryo is born completely monotonous kitten. If for some reason the cells are grouped in one particular place, the cats develop white limbs, chest or abdomen. In other words, the next time you see a kitten in white socks, you will know that this sign is the result of genetic mutations that have arisen due to domestication and some other nuances of developmental biology. Although if you try to talk about this cat, it will most likely just look at you in bewilderment, and then simply leave.