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The X-colours in NFO - a story with no ending

by Jette Eva Madsen, 20.08.2002.

What is new?

For some time now there has been very quiet around the x-colored Forest Cats. Silence has ruled, especially after the cats living in Sweden now have been reregistered as blackgolden and bluegolden.

Suddenly, however, the discussion has started again and a lot of people takes an interest in our breed.

The questions that has come up now is whether the x-colour indeed is a new mutation or whether it is some kind of perhaps unknown modifier gene.

How did it begin?

The story of the x-cats dates back some 10 years or more, and the last 7 years the topic has been discussed with passion and energy.

For the innocent bystander the breeders of Forest Cats must look very ambiguous after the same cats have been registered several times now.

The story of the cats that were for so long said to be something very special in the world of Norwegian Forest Cats can be summarised as follows. The cats started out being registered as the usual Forest Cats colours. After some time they changed to being registered as X-lilac or X-chocolate. The X was added since lilac and chocolate are not recognised colours for Forest Cats.

A few years later most of the colours were changed again. Now they were called X-cinnamon and X-fawn since some of the most renowned judges seemed to think the colours looked more like cinnamon and fawn. As we all know today a test mating proved the colours were not cinnamon and fawn.

And then some time ago the strangest thing happened. Suddenly the cats that were previously registered as x-something were miracuosly changed to blackgolden and bluegolden.

The present situation

The result is that cats that were previously prevented from competing at shows because the colour was not recognised in Forest Cats now suddenly appear at the show bench.

Another probably not foreseen result stems from the fact that cat breeding and showing is global, and offsprings from the first cats were exported to many European countries. The challenge that now appears is that the changing of colour has not been correlated, so presently pedigrees appear from Sweden with cats registered as bluegolden where in pedigrees from other countries (FIFe and non-FIFe clubs) the same cats are registered as for instance x-fawn.

The revitalised discussion about what the x-colours are

The rumour has it that it is possible that the Forest Cats has some kind of unknown modifier gene and that is what causes the x-colour.

The theory of a “new” modifier gene fits a lot of the questions and test results about the x-colours very well. I will try to explain here:

When will we know?

The answers to the questions about the X-coloured cats are still blowing in the wind. Possibly we will never know the full nature of what caused the x-colours to develop, but I hope that a renewed and correlated work may reveal the secret of the mysterious X.

Most breeders and judges agree that some of the cats that were previously registered as X-something correctly are black- or bluegolden-tabbies. But the majority of the cats still seems to raise a lot of questions. The nature of the questions have however changed:

Is it not a sad ending of the story of the cats that were once believed to be something very special? The cats who perhaps represented a special mutation just known in Forest Cats. The cats that were pretty coloured and had a type that was better than the average typed Forest Cat?

And still do. Lets hope that we have now heard the last of this story. That the cats after some time really prove to be goldens and that the image of the breeders of the Forest Cats will not be damaged too seriously by this story.

An item discussed in this connection is the changing of the standard of the NFO and allotting points in the standard to colour and pattern.

And last but not least there are speculations about the future division of the breed with regard to shows.