That Is Not A Bookmark

Loranne's Adventures in Librarying

Warning: like everything on the Internet, this post features cat pictures

Guide to Housecat Coat Colors & Patterns

This is one of the neatest infographics I have ever seen. In case the title isn’t a dead giveaway, this poster-sized graphic is designed to help you (via text descriptions and illustration) discern the detailed, technical term for the coloration of any given house cat. In certain cases, this table can even help you determine the breed of the cat in question, as it includes some unique, breed-specific coloration patterns at the bottom. I’ve become obsessed

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

with it recently, flipping through photos of my friends’ cats and trying to determine their patterns. It’s just fun for me. But that is slightly beside the point. What’s fascinating to

Exhibit B

Exhibit B

me is that I can look at this illustrated table, and based on its contents, decide that my cat, Momo, is a brindled, golden smoke tortoiseshell. See “Exhibit A.”

If I had the inclination, I could even tell you what color type “Happycat” of Cheezburger fame falls into. See “Exhibit B.”

Obviously, neither Momo nor Happycat look anything like the illustrated cats in the picture. I’d dare you to find any photograph of a real cat that resembles those in this table. They are cartoons.







The human brain is remarkably good at making the connection between an animated object or creature, and the reality of that thing or organism. For example, despite their differences, I know that this:

Image from Wikipedia entry "Giraffe"

Image from Wikipedia entry “Giraffe”

and this:

Image from Photobucket

Image from Photobucket

both represent the same thing. How is that possible? The cartoon giraffe doesn’t even have any legs to speak of! And I am not unique in this ability. Most people, from the very young to the very old, would recognize that here we have two depictions of the concept of “giraffe.” This is assuming they are familiar with the idea of what a giraffe is, in the first place. Where and how do we develop the concept? How does it remain constant or change in the face of the wide variety of less-than-realistic illustrations we run into?

I’m sure there’s more research for me to do here, but in the meantime, I’m curious as to whether you all have anything to add!

2 comments on “Warning: like everything on the Internet, this post features cat pictures

  1. Tim Spalding
    September 6, 2013

    Did you do Prototype theory in grad school? Family resemblance? If not, you’ll probably enjoy See

  2. Loranne
    September 9, 2013

    We briefly touched on Prototype Theory in my Info Design class–about a week after I wrote this post. I wish the class had gone for a full year. It was excellent, but we’d only just scratched the surface.

    I hadn’t come across this talk before! It brings together my Info Design and Cataloging courses, which is pretty neat. The latter was often an exercise in limitations, considering physical libraries have to deal with first order constraints. Thanks for the link!

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This entry was posted on April 29, 2012 by in animal and tagged .
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