Many people make the mistake of assuming that a cat with a tan body and dark points is automatically called a Siamese Cat, or that the color pattern is called Siamese, but this is incorrect. Siamese is a breed of cat, the color is more correctly known as “color-point” for which there are several more specific color patterns.
This information is of general interest for people who own color point cats and want to know what color their cat is (it is very important to be able to describe a lost cat correctly). It is also important for cat breeders in terms of correctly indicating the color of kittens.
Above, a Red Point Ragdoll Kitten
Understanding Color Point Colors in Cats
Color point is a cat color pattern where the body is a light color and the ears, tail, legs, and muzzle, are marked in a darker color. The cat can also have white markings. The terms used are mainly definitions for the color on these “points”, some of the most common color patterns are the chocolate point, and seal point, as well cats can be flame point, blue point, torti point, and more.
Color point cats are born cream color, or white, and the color of their points darkens after a few weeks.
Interesting the gene that controls this is recessive, and considered to be “heat dependent” noting that the extremities, which are cooler, are the places that darken. The gene is said to be semi-albino. It is indicated as cs with the gene for full color being C. The gene restricts where the color will be, but other genes determine the actual color.
Above, Seal Point Siamese Cat
Color Point Patterns
Seal Point cats have darker bodies and very dark points.
Chocolate Point cats have lighter bodies and their points are the color of chocolate, a light brown shade.
Blue Point cats have points that are gray (called blue in cat terms), no hint of brown on the points. Blue point is the dilute form of seal point.
Lilac Point cats have very light gray colored points, almost lavender. Lilac point is the dilute form of chocolate point.
Flame Point is more correctly called Red Point, and is when a cat has red (orange) points.
Apricot or Cream Points are the dilute form of the red point, with points that are pale red (red being the cat term for orange).
Torti Point cats are ones where their points are black and red, in other words where the points are tortoiseshell.
Lynx Point cats are ones with tabby points, this is usually seen best on the tail, which would have stripes.
Above, Chocolate Point Himalayan Cat.
Some of the breeds where these color patterns are best seen are the Siamese, Burmese, Balinese, Himalayan, and Ragdoll, however not all color point patterns are recognized within each breed, and some countries have different regulations in regards to what color patterns are acceptable and which are not.
The color point patterns also occur in domestic cats of unknown parentage. Because it is recessive, two solid color cats can produce a color point kitten if both have genes for color points.