Dollnouveau is a small cattery dedicated to developing a line of Ragdoll cats with health, personality and unique coloring as primary goals. I have spent many years developing my line of cinnamon and chocolate solid and pointed Ragdolls. Little "Dollnouveau Marlin" is the culmination of these efforts. My cattery is centrally located in Texas between Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.
According to my mother I was fascinated with cats my whole life. I learned to crawl while attempting to pet the family cat. My love for cats and all things “furry” led to my studies in Animal Science, Genetics and ultimately Veterinary Medicine. I have been a practicing veterinarian since 1992.
I met Sharon Steadman , a long time Ragdoll breeder, as a client of my veterinary practice. I was intrigued by her desire to introduce the cinnamon coat color gene into the Ragdoll breed and was excited to be involved in such a project.
Most people don't realize that TICA recognizes and registers many coat colors, coat patterns and even coat length in the Ragdoll breed. Cinnamon is a unique and beautiful color in the cat and while TICA will register a cinnamon ragdoll the gene either no longer existed in the current breeding population or it existed in such a small amount that a cinnamon Ragdoll being born and actually recognized as cinnamon was a rare event.
In order to reestablish the cinnamon gene into the breed gene pool and create a cinnamon Ragdoll an outcross had to be made. I became part of this project because I had already created a personal line of cats that were cinnamon and chocolate ticked and cinnamon and chocolate smoked in color and very "ragdoll like" in looks and personality. The cinnamon gene originally came from an Abyssinian, but I was already 6 generations away from her when I officially began this breeding program. I started my personal part of this project with four borrowed Ragdoll females. The boys used were my 4 and 5 year old silver cinnamon ticked boys that we foundation registered with TICA - Tickled Pink and Tickled Mink. We made one more outcross to my foundation registered silver cinnamon ticked female - Cinnfully Suzy. Once we had the gene, the goal became to "keep" the gene but get rid of all non Ragdoll characteristics that were acquired with it. This takes many generations of breeding back to the traditional Ragdoll. We did not have the luxury of DNA testing in those days so it was a task to follow this gene through the generations as it would "disappear" when a cat was "heterozygous" (having only one copy) for the trait. I gave many of my kittens to Sharon Steadman to use in her breeding program and I used a fawn point male of her breeding with my group.
The cinnamon gene is a mutation of the gene responsible for producing black hair in the cat. An "allelic" group includes differing mutations of the same gene. In the cat this particular allelic group includes black (B), chocolate (b) and cinnamon (b'). Black is the dominant form of this gene, cinnamon the recessive and chocolate behaves as recessive to black and dominate to cinnamon. We all have two copies of each gene - one from mom and one from dad. So what this means is that if our kitty gets the dominate black form of the gene from one parent, then regardless of what came from the other parent the cat will be black (BB, Bb, or Bb'). With no black gene but with one or two copies of the chocolate gene the cat will be chocolate (bb or bb'). The only way to see the cinnamon color is for the cat to have two copies of the recessive cinnamon gene (b'b'). A cat's "phenotype" is the way it looks and it's "genotype" describes it's actual genetic makeup for particular pairs of genes. The ragdoll kitten on the left (Dollnouveau Bubbleboy) phenotypically is a solid cinnamon mitted and genetically is b'b'. The kitten on the right (Dollnouveau Moustache Man) is a solid chocolate bicolor and this particular cat is bb but would look the same if he were bb'.
Once I had “captured” the cinnamon gene the goal became to produce a cat that was true to the Ragdoll personality and "Standard of Perfection" in looks. TICA (The International Cat Association) requires that we cross back to pure traditional ragdolls for four generations to regain full SBT registry status. This project required many years, many generations and many cats. We were granted our first SBT registration papers, 2007, with Dollnouveau Dr Pepper, a beautiful fawn mitted point. Pictured (right) are two SBT kittens, a solid fawn mitted girl with her cinnamon point mitted sister. With this coat color now well established we continue on in the quest to produce a "perfect" cinnamon Ragdoll !
A frequently asked question is “Why don’t all of your cats have blue eyes ?” The “traditional” ragdoll that most people recognize is a medium haired, blue-eyed kitty with a pale body, dark face, ears, legs and tail and is described as being "pointed". This coat color pattern is the result of the recessive Siamese gene (cs) and is an error in the production of the enzyme tyronsinase. This is a dilution gene meaning that an error has occurred in the responsible gene (the dominant albino C gene) that interferes with the ability to produce pigment. This is an interesting mutation in that the chemical reaction that allows for the production of the final pigment product is dependant upon the temperature of the reaction environment. If you think about going out into a winter day you intuitively know that the first things to feel the chill will be your face, ears, fingers and toes. There is little muscle in these areas and these locations typically have a lower skin temperature than skin that is located over the heat-generating muscle masses. The ability to produce the normal compliment of color pigment is inhibited by the increase in skin temperature over the muscle masses of the body and effectively dilutes coat color to a pale beige or tan. This is a recessive gene in the cat and therefore to have a cat with “points” the kitty must have two copies of the cs gene. With only one or no copies of this gene the cat will have pigmentation over the whole body and is considered a “solid” colored cat (CC or C cs). This dilution gene also interferes with pigment production in the iris of the eye. With no pigment in the iris, cat's eyes appear blue. Solid colored cats do have pigment present in the iris and therefore DO NOT have blue eyes. There is a separate gene that can cause aqua eye color in solid cats but this is not the same “blue” that is seen in a pointed cat. The genotype of the cinnamon point kitten pictured would have to be b'b', cscs .
Sepia and Mink Genetics
A second mutation at this same C location is referred to as the sepia or burmese gene (cb). Phenotypically it is characterized by the same color dilution as with the cs gene. However, there is not as profound a sensitivity to skin temperature and therefore the body coat color is darker and much closer to that of the points.
An "additive" relationship exists between the cs and cb genes. What this means is that when an animal is heterozygous for cs and cb (known as mink), the coat color expression is halfway between that of a point (cscs) and a sepia (cbcb). Dollnouveau Stanley (left) is a sepia mitted. Two sepia (cbcb) kittens are shown with their much lighter mink (cscb) litter mate.
Dollnouveau Martin (left) is a nice example of a seal mink (cscb). Iris pigment is decreased less with the burmese allele than with the siamese form and eye color dilutes to an aqua or greenish gold.
Blue, Lilac and Fawn Genetics
Solid colored cats have existed in the Ragdoll breed from the beginning of the breed and are recognized as acceptable colors by The International Cat Association (TICA). The acceptance of the Ragdoll breed by the Cat Fancy Association (CFA) is a much more recent event and the breed was accepted into this organization under a much more restricted definition of color and markings.
Another ‘dilution” gene that can affect the color of our kitties is the d or color density gene. This is a recessive gene and to be visually expressed must be present in two copies (one from mom and one from dad). Visually two copies of this gene (dd) result in a lighter, creamier version of the underlying color If one or two copies of the dominant form of this gene is present (DD or Dd) the cat will not appear as diluted. If our black kitty has two copies of the d gene our kitty will be a gray color known as “blue” (kitten to left is a solid blue mitted - CC or Ccs, dd, BB or Bb). A diluted chocolate cat is a lighter gray called lilac (right hand photo is a solid mitted lilac - dd, bb, CC or Ccs ). A diluted cinnamon cat is a “fawn”. Any color of cat can exist as a solid or a point. A cat with two recessive cinnamon genes can be a solid cinnamon or fawn with pigment distributed over the entire body or a pointed cinnamon or fawn with color restricted to the points. AND, if our kitties aren’t glorious enough we can continue to dress them up with white markings, splatter them with orange or make them totally orange, add an elegant silver shading or paint them with stripes or spots. Tooo much kitty fun !!!!
Dollnouveau Marshmellow is a fawn point mitted. It takes three pairs of recessives to produce this coat color - cscs, b'b' dd. Kittens below are solid cinnamon. Kitten on left is "self" colored meaning it has no visible stripes and kitten on right is a baby picture of "Dollnouveau Kerfuffles" who is a cinnamon classic tabby bicolor (b'b',Ccs,DD) . Dollnouveau Angelina is a tortie point cinnamon girl having one copy of the dominant sex linked orange gene (O). up down
All photographs,text and graphics copyright maxinestiles 2012