What is a harlequin cat?

A  harlequin cat is a cat with a predominantly white coat and a few colour-patches. The picture shows you:

Harlequin cat
Harlequin cat. Photo: Buzzfeed

Harlequin cats are not a cat breed. We are describing a type of cat coat. The pattern is caused by the white-spotting gene (piebald gene) which masks the cat's true colour. It usually appears in irregular patches. favouring the lower parts of the body. 

Associated: White spotting gene charts

Other variants of white and black cats caused by the white spotting gene are:

  • Mitted: white paws
  • Locket: white patch on chest
  • Buttons: several small white belly-patches
  • Bicolour: half white and half coloured in patches
  • Harlequin: as mentioned above
  • Van: white coat with inverted V colour patch on the top of the head near the ears and on the tail
  • Tuxedo: black cat with white legs, underside and chest or just a white chest
  • Jellicle cat: black and white cat sometimes called jellicle cat.


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