Melanism (dark coat coloration) is a common polymorphism observed in many animals. This remarkable feature has been described in as many as 13 out of 37 felid species (Schneider et al, 2015). It is still widely speculated exactly why feline melanism evolved in the first place and what kind of adaptive and evolutionary significance it has for our favorite furriends. A 2003 study by Eduardo Eizirik, an evolutionary geneticist at the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland, emphasizes that there must be at least four independent genetic origins for melanism in the cat family. The recurrent evolution of the trait and its preservation in the feline population indicate its potential adaptive importance and raises a question: does melanism have an evolutionary advantage for cats? A 2015 study by Schneider supports the claim by demonstrating that "some “black cats” are black not by chance, but by selection for a mutation that provides increased fitness".
Urticaria pigmentosa is a form of a condition known as cutaneous mastocytosis and it is caused by the accumulation of the defective mast cells (a type of white blood cells) in the skin, bone marrow, liver, spleen and lymph nodes. This skin condition is poorly documented and it is better described in humans and Sphynx and Devon Rex cat breeds. A study about five affected Devon Rex cats (Nolie et al, 2009) emphasizes that naked feline breeds are predisposed to this condition.
Ever since she pawed her way into her hoomans' lives, Shelby has won over every bit of their hearts and home. With her mystical history, exotic appearance, and incredibly unique personality — she never fails to impress her fur parents with yet another one of her quirks. She even managed to win over her fur-brother Max, too. The pair of them couldn't possibly be any more different in nature and temperament.
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