Do black Siamese cats exist? Why are all Siamese kittens born light? And can they really change temperature according to the weather?
Siamese cats and their colour genetics seem a bit mysterious or even magical. What can we say? It’s suited to a cat with royal origins.
So let’s look at a few common questions around Siamese cats and their colours. Starting off with the kittens, of course.
Black Siamese kittens? Never
Did you know Siamese kittens are born all cream or white?
It seems strange when you consider adult Siamese cats are known for their distinctive colouring. But they only develop that when their body temperature drops below 33 °C. So yes, your Siamese kitten is like the feline equivalent of a mood ring. They literally change colour according to temperature.
Siamese kittens have a heat-sensitive enzyme responsible for this phenomenon. This mutated enzyme is called tyrosinase, and it only activates under 33 °C.
When kittens are born they’re cream or white because of the high temperatures in the womb. As they get older and their body temperature changes, they begin to get develop the dark points on their nose, ears, paws and tails.
It’s the same for us – on a cold day, we feel it in our noses, ears, fingers, and toes. Our extremities just don’t change colour (except maybe a little bit red on the really chilly days!). So the cooler their extremities get, the darker the points.
What about black Siamese cats?
It’s not just Siamese kittens that change colour. You might notice your adult Siamese cat changes colour too. They’ll often go lighter in summer and darker in winter.
Unfortunately for the all-black cat lovers, you’re not going to be finding any black Siamese cats around. Siamese cats are never one solid colour. But, you can get one with a darker body and very dark points if that tickles your fancy.
Want to know more about black cats? Read our article on Black Cat Appreciation Day, which dives into some myths, misconceptions, and fun facts about these dark-furred beauties.
Siamese cats come in four colours
Colour points refer to what happens when a cat’s “points” (ears, paws, tip of the tail, and nose) are a darker colour than the rest of their body. These colour points are a hallmark of the Siamese cat breed. And many other breeds who also display darker points have Siamese somewhere in their DNA makeup.
Tyrosinase doesn’t affect what colour a Siamese’s points go, but rather how deep this colour becomes. The colour has already been determined by genetics – the environment just decides how deep this colour becomes.
Seal, blue, lilac and chocolate…
So if black Siamese cats don’t exist, what colours can you expect to see? As a general rule, Siamese cats have bright blue eyes and fairly pale, creamy coloured bodies.
Siamese kittens turn one of these principal four colours as they grow up:
- Seal Point: This is what most people think when they picture Siamese cats. The points are a very deep brown, almost black, like the colour of a seal. Their body colour is also darker than most other Siamese cats.
- Blue Point: Blue point Siamese cats tend to have ears and other points that are almost slate-coloured, like a bluey-grey. Their coats are pale with a blueish tint, which complements their eyes beautifully!
- Lilac Point: Similarly to the blue point Siamese cats, the lilac version has a white body with a pinkish tint. Their points are a pinky-grey hue, and they tend to have darker blue eyes than the other varieties of Siamese.
- Chocolate Point: As the name suggests, these cats have milk chocolatey-coloured points. Because their bodies are very light (like white chocolate!) the points are more obvious.
From these four principal colours, there are loads more varieties within those categories. Kind of like how blonde-haired people could be ash blonde, honey blonde, platinum blonde, or more.
If you’re set on a black cat with a Siamese personality and looks, an Oriental or Foreign Shorthair cat might be the perfect fit for you. They’re as close as you’ll ever get to solid black Siamese cats.
Siamese health needs
The genetic mutation that causes kittens to develop colour points is also responsible for their poor night vision. While most cats see well in the dark, Siamese cats don’t. It sounds like a disadvantage, but if you have an indoor cat, it really makes no difference.
Plus, this means Siamese cats aren’t great hunters so they pose less risk to the natural Aussie wildlife. Did you know Australian cats kill two billion animals annually?
Like many purebred cats, Siamese are more prone to certain conditions than other breeds. Although your cat won’t necessarily develop these, you should know the conditions below have a higher incidence in Siamese cats:
- Lung infections
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Cancer (mammary tumors)
Read our article on whether you should spay or neuter cats to help prevent mammary tumors and more. And be sure to take your kitty for regular check ups at the vet to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. Prevention is better than cure, as they say.
Now you know there are unfortunately no black Siamese cats. But it isn’t just black cats who have bad luck from time to time. Pet insurance covers your pet for the medical conditions listed in your policy and depending on your policy choice, you could have cover for everything from vet visits for tests and treatment to dental care, or just for accidents.
Get a quote to find an affordable plan that suits your cat’s needs.