My Cat is Changing Its Coat Color: Is That Normal?

Plain, mackerel, piebald or speckled … The color of the fur of cats is without question fascinating. Mainly because it can even change over time. And there can be various reasons for this. Your animal world will tell you what these are.

For some cat owners, the color and pattern of their kitty’s coat play an important role – the first impressions you have of a kitten or cat are the outer ones.

And depending on personal preferences, some people like black, white, monochrome, tabby, or brightly patterned cats best. There are even people who ascribe certain character traits to the coat colors of cats.

But did you know that a cat’s coat color can change in the course of its life?

Don’t worry, in most cases this is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Sometimes, however, an agreement with the veterinarian is also useful.

These five reasons could be behind your kitty’s color change:


Not only do people change their hair color with increasing age – yes, but we’re also talking about gray hair – cats do that too. The gray strands are less noticeable in kitties with light or patterned fur than in those with dark fur. In general, the color of your cat’s coat can become lighter, duller, and more “washed out” with age.


Do you know those cups that change color when you pour a hot drink into them? It is similar to the coat color of certain cat breeds. Because in Siamese cats and oriental shorthairs, the coat color is related to the skin temperature.

The skin on the extremities – that is, on the paws, ears, nose, and tail – of cats is colder. Therefore, these cat breeds have a light coat overall, but with darker areas. The outside temperature can also ensure that their coat color is lighter and darker in these cats.

Exposure to Sunlight

If you are outside a lot in the summer, you get tanned skin and faded hair. Something similar happens to your cat if he spends a lot of time in the sun – the fur of dark cats, in particular, can be bleached from sunlight. Of course, this is especially true for outdoor cats.

However, it can also happen that your cat’s fur becomes lighter if it lolls around for hours in the afternoon sun in front of an open window.


Your cat’s coat color can also provide an indication of possible excesses or deficiencies in certain nutrients. For example, the fur of black cats can turn red if they do not take in enough of the amino acid tyrosine. This is required for melanin production, i.e. the dark pigment in cat fur. Therefore, if there is a tyrosine deficiency, the black cat fur can become lighter.

A lack of copper or an excess of zinc can also make dark fur lighter. Before you start giving your kitty food supplements out of suspicion, you should take her to the vet – he can examine whether there is a possible disease behind the color change.


Health problems can also cause your cat to take on a different coat color – then you should pay attention to whether your kitty also shows other symptoms. Tumors, cysts, inflammation, hormone fluctuations, jaundice, and diseases like Cushing’s are possible triggers for the cat’s fur to change.

Even if a change in the color of the cat’s fur is harmless in most cases, the following applies: If you are unsure where the change is coming from, you should speak to them the next time you visit the vet.

By the way: While a cat’s fur can become lighter or darker over time, the pattern always stays the same, according to veterinarians. A cat’s coat color and pattern are largely influenced by its genes. To get an impression of what a kitten’s coat might look like later, it is worth taking a look at the parent animals.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *