White - some kittens have black and gray spots on the top of head when they born. Spots disappear at approximately 9 months when adult hair starts growing.
Black - kittens are black at birth. However then a rusty tint may display itself or white and silver hairs, or light collar and under hair until adult hair grows in full, at 12 - 18 months as usual.
Blue - kittens may have clear striation (tabby pattern) until an adult hair replaces kitten.
Red - often kittens at birth possess a tabby pattern, which may disappear or remain on an adult hair. In fact, there are no entirely red-colored cats. All red cats have a tabby pattern, which is clearly displayed in some cats and not that clear in others. At that, the latter are considered to be entirely red.
Cream - kittens at birth have broken tabby pattern that usually doesn't develop on an adult hair at 9 months.
Solid Color or Smoky?
Most of young non-smoky kittens have kitten hair, much more light then should be. The cat appears to be cream-colored, but as none of its' parents have white under hair the kitten can't be smoky. After some time a hair with become dark and be normally colored.
Smoky - they are frequently hard to be distinguished from solid-colored kittens, except for cases when smoky-colored ones have white stripes round eyes and less colored belly. Some months may pass before you will be able to define which kittens are smoky and which are not, because final coloring may develop only a grown-up state, about two years old. Under hair begins to grow in age of 3 weeks and looks spotted by 6-8 weeks.
Smoky or Shaded?
1/8 of hair length from the tip is colored - chinchilla and veiled.
1/4 of hair length from the tip is colored - veiled.
1/2 of hair length from the tip is colored - smoky.
Shaded cameo/veiled cameo - kittens at birth are white, then gradually tripping (color on the tips of hairs) develops.
Silver shaded/chinchilla - kittens at birth have dark or striped pattern (especially on tail) that disappear at the age of 4-6 weeks. Chinchilla-colored kitten may be as light as white-colored, but as far as none of parents is white, it can't be white too. Green eyes in white cat, born by silvery parents are the very sign that the cat is chinchilla and not white-colored one.
Shaded tortoise/veiled tortoise - cat may look like shaded silvery black or black chinchilla, but it has a tiny spot, or just several red or cream hairs, its' pads are black-cream and spotted. Nevertheless this mere difference turns your cat into shaded or veiled tortoise and not chinchilla or shaded silvery black.
Tabby - tabby masking is displayed from birth. Usually the darker is color of stripes by at birth the clearer is the pattern of adult hair.
Tabby or Tortoise tabby? If a cat has some regions of red or cream color, or two different colors on the nose tip or pads, it refers to tortoise tabby (silvery, blue or black tabby).
Blue-cream or blue? Kittens with the lightest hair often appear to be among the best blue-cream ones in their adulthood. But during first few weeks they look like absolutely blue. On the other hand, blue-colored kitten with a small cream spot or merely some cream stripes, or gray-cream pads is regarded as blue-cream cat and not blue.
Tortoise or black? - Even a small red or cream spot on a black background, as well as spotted black-cream pads or nose tip will turn a cat from black into tortoise. Red/cream color may develop later in a black kitten.
Tortoise with white - kittens when they are young often have pale-blue, dark-cream, or muddy-white spots, but coloring becomes bright and regular during maturing.
Points - kittens at birth are milk-white with pink pads, nose tip and ears. Point coloring develops during first few weeks. As for brown (seal) and blue Points, colored regions on the nose develop after 10 days, but as for chocolate and lilac Points some 3 months may pass before a mere color appear.
Blue Point or lilac Point? - Check nose tip and pads. These are blue-gray in blue Point and pale-lilac with pink hue in lilac Point.
Seal Point or Tortoise Point?
-Check nose tip and pads. If they are spotted dark-brown with pink, the cat is to be tortoise Point, and not a seal Point.
Blue Point or blue-cream Point? - Check nose tip and pads. If they are spotted blue with pink, the cat is to be blue-cream Point, and not a blue Point.
Red Point or cream Point? - These colors may be very similar. There are bright cream and light red Points. If both parents possess definitely broken coloring (blue, cream or blue-cream) their offspring can't become a red Point.
Translated by Tatiana Karpova (Moscow)
(MSU, Biology faculture, Dep. zoology and ecology).