White cats have something of the magical about them: their fur looks brighter than normal while their eyes shine like stars in the sky.
Although there are no all white breeds indigenous to Europe, there are several breeds where full white is an acceptable, and even prized, coat color.
Apart from albinism – and albino cats aren’t the white cats discussed here – there are two reasons a cat’s coat may be all white.
The first is that the cat is a carrier of the dominant white masking gene, which means that the whiteness expressed by the gene will be dominant to, or will mask, the expression of any other genes for coat color the cat may carry.
The second reason, which accounts for a lesser number of white cats than the masking gene, is the white spotted gene.
Cats carrying this gene will always have white “spotting” somewhere on their coats – paws, bib, face and so on – and some of them will have the white “spot” covering their entire coat so that they appear all white.
The Turkish Angora may have originated from Ankara, Turkey, but this Eurasian breed is well traveled and has been bred in many European countries including Great Britain and France.
These long-haired beauties have long been used to supplement Persian breeding stock, but they are now recognized, and protected, in their own right. Although Turkish Angoras display in several colors, the most well known, and possibly the most common, is all white.
The iconic image of this iconic cat is the odd-eyed Angora, which has one startling blue eye and one gorgeous amber eye, and these are some of the most striking cats on the planet.
The Scottish Fold, a natural breed out of Scotland that has forward-folding ears due to a mutated gene that causes a cartilage deficiency, is one of the European breeds where all white coats are common.
These chunky and cobby-bodied cats can be either long- or short-haired, and the breed dates back to 1966 when it was registered with Great Britain’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.
The Manx is a breed endemic to The Isle of Man, and, although all white versions of these cats do appear, they do not come around very often.
Manx are most well known for having a very short, stubby tale, and alternate names for these personable cats include Rumpy and Stubbin.
A natural breed with a basic mutation that expresses in the absence of a tail, these cats don’t let the fact that they’re without a tail stop them.
Other European breeds where white coats are fairly common include the British Longhair, known for its easy-going personality and sedentary nature, the Cornish Rex, one of the family of the curley-coated mutation Rex breeds and the Cymric, which is the long-haired version of the Manx.
Of course, the all-white cat isn’t confined to Europe, and there are plenty of worldwide breeds where they’re common.