A shady tale

Ryebirex Ealasaid Ruadh
This is Ruadh who was bred by Pete & Doe Armstrong (Ryebirex Devon Rex). 'Yallasatch Rooah' ('Red Elizabeth') has Cycada Prime Suspect as sire (suitably enough) and Mogwye Rhapsody Inred as dam. She lived here till she was two years old, then moved to join her son, JayJay and pal Jools. You can catch up with them on the SRCC Rexbytes page.

Ruadh aged 12 weeks
Photo by Pete & Doe Armstrong

From the time I got Ruadh, I kept harping on about her peculiar colour. Originally registered as a red tabby darker points, she does not look anything like a red (silver) tabby (far too pale, few tabby markings), and although her body colouration fits with being a darker points, her eye colour is wrong for a pointed cat (she has yellow eyes, not the blue-green/aqua eyes of a darker points).

In her first and only litter, one of her kittens (Scarlet) had similar colouration. After a lot of traipsing around the internet, I became convinced that both Ruadh and her kitten, Scarlet, are shaded, and so is Ruadh's sire, Ollie. In fact a few of Ollie's relatives seem to be "that colour".

Ruadh has now been re-registered as a red silver shaded (33a75d) and Ollie as a red silver shaded and white (33a75dw). Scarlet is also a red silver shaded and white.

Cycada Prime Suspect (Ollie)
Red silver shaded & white
Sire: Jenirex Captain Pugwash (chocolate silver tabby & white),
Dam: Cycada Tutti Frutti (tortie silver tabby)
Photograph by Pete & Doe Armstrong

Ollie's breeder, Edwina Sipos, thinks that his sire, Captain Pugwash, may have been shaded.

Cherek Eara Eireachdail (Scarlet)
Red silver shaded & white
Sire: Gr. Ch. Cloudborn Mummers Strut (red silver tabby & white),
Dam: Ryebirex Ealasaid Ruadh (red silver shaded)
Photograph by Nancy Garth

Caught raiding the left-over spaghetti bolognese!

Shaded is where the colour is restricted to the top quarter or half of the hair shaft - the lower part is a pale yellowy/white colour. Tipped is an extreme form of shaded - the colour is only found at the tips of the hairs. There can be so much variation and overlap between the two that Oriental and Asian (Burmilla) UK breeders no longer make a distinction between tipped and shaded. In my opinion, it makes sense to register all tipped/shaded rexes as shaded only.

Ch. Nemorez Theicemaiden
Chocolate shaded Burmilla
Red shaded is referred to as shaded cameo by registering bodies in other countries and is quite a common colour in N. American and European rexes. In the UK, shaded is only just starting to be recognised by rex judges and breeders, so many shaded UK Devons are still generally wrongly registered as smoke, silver tabbies or pointed. One reason for the confusion is the difficulty of identifying the colour/pattern in rexes.
  • Pale colours like red/cream take a long time to develop - red continues to develop and intensify as the cat gets older.
  • The wavy coat blurs any pattern, particularly in the tabbies.
  • It can be virtually impossible to distinguish between a very light smoke and a shaded, especially when they are kittens and the coat has not grown in fully.

Sexyrexy Grateballs Ofire
Red silver shaded (8 months)

Gr. Ch. Sangeorge Simmyson
Black smoke
Photograph courtesy of John Soper
Photographer Alan Robinson

In smokes, the colour extends about half to three quarters or more of the way down the hair shaft. In really striking examples of smokes, the cat appears to be black, red or whatever colour until the fur parts and the light undercoat is glimpsed, as in this photograph of Sangeorge Simmyson, a black smoke. His light undercoat is only visible on his chest and where his coat has parted slightly behind his shoulders.

Our new girl, Rowan, is a red smoke - compare her to the red shaded Devons. Bear in mind she is just a kitten and her coat and colour is still developing.

A fundamental difference between smoke and shaded is that smokes are non-agouti (i.e. not tabbies). Shaded cats are agouti (tabby) even though they may not show tabby markings! (Reds/creams, however, are a law unto themselves as they almost always show tabby markings regardless of whether they are tabbies or not.)

In general, shaded cats (rexes included) are born dark and lighten in colour as the light undercoat develops. However, Ruadh, Ollie and Scarlet didn't do this - they were born off-white and darkened as they became older. Red smokes can do the same. I have found a reference to other shaded cameo rexes starting out light and darkening (see CFA).

Scarlet aged 2 weeks

Scarlet aged 6 months
Photograph by Nancy Garth
I find this such an attractive colour and would like to know more about it. I decided to do an outcross to a Burmilla (shaded Asian) in order to set up a new line of shaded Devon Rex - enter Tinga! Unfortunately, Tinga has had to be spayed, however she did have two male kittens sired by Sexyrexy Grateballs Ofire (photo above): a black silver ticked tabby (Cherek Tickety-boo - Lewis) and a brown shaded silver darker points (Cherek Fine-n-dandy - Kyle).

Kyle (left) and Lewis aged 4 weeks

13 weeks

In addition, Safi has a shaded daughter, also sired by Sexyrexy Grateballs Ofire. Cherek Clove Rocks (Cava) is a black tortie silver shaded and from birth looked completely different in colour to her black tortie silver tabby sister and silver tabby brother.

4 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

13 weeks

Photograph courtesy of Kate Crawford

7 months

13 months
The shady tale is to be continued, hopefully! Anyone interested in shadeds or who can give me more information is very welcome to get in touch for a chat.
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