There's a bewildering range of Siamese cat colors and shades, from the darkly beautiful Seal Point to the pale, almost ghostly Lilac or Frost Point.
But how do you tell a Seal from a Chocolate Point, or a Blue from a Lilac? And what about Red (Flame), Cream, Apricot, Cinnamon, Fawn and Caramel?
And then there are all the different Tortie (tortoiseshell or parti-color), Tabby (also known as Lynx) and even Tortie-Tabby varieties of these colors, too ...
It gets even more confusing, though, as not all the colors mentioned above are recognized everywhere as 'official' Siamese cat colors.
The UK and US cat registries (and even different registries within the same country!) have different classifications, and sometimes whether you have a 'real' Siamese or not depends on where you live.
As a general rule, all Siamese have vivid blue eyes and pale, creamy coats, with darker facial masks, ears, tails, nose leather, paws and paw pads. These darker areas on the body are known as the points.
The different kinds of Siamese cats are named for the color of their points.
Genetically, a Blue Point is a paler ('dilute', in breed-speak) version of a Seal, and a Lilac is a dilute version of a Chocolate - the 'dilute' gene lightens the color and gives it a bluish tone.
The four colors above are those carried in the pure breeding line, colors that are officially recognised by all the cat registries including the Siamese Breed Council of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in the United States.
They're also the most widely available and popular colors for both show cats and pets.
The CFA classifies the other colors - red (flame), cream, apricot, cinnamon, fawn and caramel, as well as all the tortie and tabby (lynx) varieties - as Colorpoint Shorthair or Colorpoint Oriental - hybrid cats.
This is because to get these colors you have to do some rather complicated breeding, crossing pure breed Siamese cats with other varieties like the British and American Shorthair, and then crossing the resulting kittens back into the Siamese line.
However, other American cat registries, as well as the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the UK, do recognize these as Siamese colors.
Confused? Yes, I know ...
The red and tortoiseshell colors were introduced into the breed in the 1930s by crossing purebred Siamese with red tabby or tortoiseshell British Shorthair cats carrying orange (O) genes.
The Red Point Siamese cat family merits a page of its own, and includes Red, Cream, and Apricot Points.
(A Red Point is also sometimes called a Flame Point. Discover why on the Flame Point Siamese cat page.)
This group also includes the Tortoiseshell or Tortie Point Siamese cat, which also came about through some complicated genetics and can be found in all shades, so that you get Seal Torties, Blue Torties, Chocolate Torties, and so on.
Cinnamon, Fawn and Caramel Points are relative newcomers to the breed. Cinnamon is a dense color (the others are Seal and Chocolate), Fawn is a dilute of Cinnamon (the other dilutes are Blue and Lilac) and Caramel Points come about through the presence of a dilute modifier gene.
If you'd like to know more about this set of colors, we explain them all here.
These are the stripy cats! Known as Tabby Points in the UK, and Lynx Points in USA, the Lynx Point Siamese or Tabby Point colors came about originally through the mating of a purebred Seal Point Siamese with a domestic tabby cat.
As with Torties, Tabby/Lynx Point Siamese can be found in many shades from Seal to Fawn.
Or go to:
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