Why are there so many domestic cats with white pawsBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/why-are-there-so-many-domestic-cats-with-white-paws.html
Cats with white paws meet us at every step. These cute white socks always touch us. But they made scientists think about why there are no cats with such a feature in the wild, and there are a dime a dozen among the domestic ones. The answer to the question turned out to be difficult, but interesting.
White paws are a feature of modern cats, which is extremely rare in the wild. Although the foundation for this cute mutation was laid by another 10 thousand. years ago, when people began to domesticate wild cats. Felinologists — scientists studying cats were able to uncover the secret of the "white socks" of our pets.
Leslie Lyons, a professor at the Laboratory of Cat Genetics at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, believes that it was the domestication of cats that caused the appearance of a large number of animals with white paws. People got to know cats intimately in the era when they began to actively cultivate the land. The first farmers arranged warehouses of agricultural products, which suffered greatly from rodents.
Therefore, mutually beneficial cooperation has begun. In it, people received the protection of their supplies, and cats — a well-fed and measured life. The ancestors of modern domestic cats are still found in the wild. These animals inhabit the forests and mountains of Europe, Africa and Asia. Zoologists have discovered one of the populations even in such an unusual place as the slopes of the active volcano Etna, on the island of Sicily.
All wild cats have a protective coloration that helps them hide from stronger predators. This is especially true for kittens who are completely helpless for a long time after birth. But a few thousand years ago, a certain mutation occurred and occasionally individuals with white paws began to appear among cats. This unmasking color greatly reduced the ability of animals to survive. But at the same time, he attracted the attention of a person.
Felinologists are sure that the first domesticated cats were with white socks on their paws. It is difficult to say why ancient man took exactly such animals into the house. Perhaps even then this feature seemed very nice to harsh hunters and farmers. Thus, man himself created a kind of evolutionary filter. By the way, it works not only in the case of cats. Color features, rarely found in nature, are inherent in dogs, cows, pigs, poultry and even rats.
Studies have shown that markings of different colors appear in animals at the embryo stage. The cells responsible for the coat colors appear as neural crest cells located along the back. Once formed, they migrate downwards and gradually spread throughout the body. Where the cells are grouped, separate islands of color are formed: "white socks", masks on the muzzle or just spots of a different color on the booms, back and head. If the cells spread in such a way that they manage to go around the body of the embryo and merge, then a monotonous kitten is born.
So if your cat has white paws, then this feature appeared thanks to the unconscious selection carried out by our distant ancestors. But do not confuse the natural color with vitiligo. This rare disease, which occurs in humans and cats, can change the color of the coat even in an adult animal.