KaDoKits Exotics presents...
The Inhibitor Gene, a.k.a. Silver

I have come to think of the inhibitor gene and silver as the same thing.  Many "designer" terms or nicknames are attached to cats who
have the inhibitor gene.  I think these nicknames can be very confusing to a person first learning about silver genetics.

Here, I am going to explain the inhibitor gene the way my brain understands it.  Other people may understand it differently.

Most of the time when someone says a cat is "Silver", they are talking about a Shaded Silver or Chinchilla (a shell silver).
These are
not different breeds, they're colors/patterns.

I personally refer to all cats with the inhibitor gene as Silvers.
No offense to the Silver & Golden breeders.
That's just how I keep in mind that all of the following patterned cats have the inhibitor gene.
The inhibitor gene...

...is a dominant gene.

A cat only needs one copy of the gene from one parent to be a silver.
To get a silver kitten, at least one parent has to be silver.
A non-silver kitten from a silver parent will NOT produce silver kittens
unless bred to a silver mate.

If a cat has 1 inhibitor gene, it is heterozygous for silver.
If a cat has 2 inhibitor genes, it is homozygous for silver and will
always produce silver kittens, even when bred to a non-silver mate.
Silvers & Goldens

"Silvers & Goldens" have a separate division within the Persian breed.
The Exotic breed is not divided into separate divisions at this time.

These cats include:
The Silvers
Shaded Silvers, Chinchillas
Blue Shaded Silvers, Blue Chinchillas
The Goldens
Shaded Goldens, Shell Goldens
Blue Shaded Goldens, Blue Shell Goldens

These colors are usually color-bred, which means only cats of these colors are used in
one's breeding program.
This gives Silvers an exceptionally clear, bright silver color.
The Goldens have a an apricot color, lighter than a brown tabby.
They have green or blue-green eyes and generally have trademark
very large round eyes and wide open expressions.

Shaded Silvers have the inhibitor gene and wide band shading genes.
They also have agouti genes.
The tabby pattern does not show because the wide band shading genes
"shade out" the tabby pattern.
They are selectively bred for cats that do not have leg barring or tail rings.  
They have a silver undercoat and black or blue tips on the hair shaft.
Chinchillas also have the inhibitor gene and wide band shading genes.
Just the very tips are colored, like a shell.
Goldens do not have the inhibitor gene.

Shaded Silvers can be used in a silver tabby breeding program.
Generally they'd be used to improve the silver color on the silver tabby.
One risk is getting inferior tabby pattern because of the Shaded Silver's wide band
shading genes.
Another factor to consider is the eye color.
However, silver tabbies are allowed green, hazel, or copper eye color.

A Shaded Silver and a Shaded Black have the same genes:
black, inhibitor, agouti, wide band shading.
A Chinchilla and a Shell Black have the same genes:
black, inhibitor, agouti, wide band shading.

The difference between
a Shaded Silver/Chinchilla and the Shaded Black/Shell Black

is that Shaded Silvers/Chinchillas are
have a very unique, bright silver color
and have green or blue-green eyes.
The color is accepted for Championship Status in both the Persian and Exotic breeds.

and the Shaded Black/Shell Black
is a product of a shaded/shell breeding program
and they have copper eyes.
The color is accepted for Championship Status only in the Exotic breed.
Smokes, Shadeds, Shells

Smokes, Shadeds & Shells have their own division in the Persian breed.
Exotics are not divided into separate divisions.

All smokes, shadeds, and shells have the inhibitor gene.
Their wide band shading genes are different,
a smoke has more color on the hair shaft
a shaded has less color on the hair shaft
a shell has only the tips of the hair shaft colored.

Exotics are allowed the colors shaded black and shell black.

"Cameo" is a "nickname" used for reds with the inhibitor gene.
This came about because the red smokes, shadeds, & shells have a pink look to them
like the cameo broaches women used to wear.

Check the CFA website for updated Breed Standards.  
You can buy them for $5 or print them yourself from the web site.
It's a good idea to have a copy of your breed's Breed Standard on hand so you can be
clear on the color and pattern descriptions.

There are also some very good articles on this color group
on the
CFA web site
Silver Tabbies

Silver tabbies are shown in the Tabby Division in the Persian breed.
The Exotics are not divided into separate divisions.

All silver tabbies have the inhibitor gene.

All black silver tabbies, blue silver tabbies,
black silver patched tabbies, blue silver patched tabbies
have the agouti gene.

Red series silver tabbies include
red silver tabby (a.k.a. cameo tabby) & cream silver tabby.
They may or may not have the agouti gene.
KaDoKits Exotics