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How Do Siamese Kittens Get Their Color? Interesting Breed Genetics Explained

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

siamese kittens on a table covered with cloth

How Do Siamese Kittens Get Their Color? Interesting Breed Genetics Explained

The Siamese breed is sweet, talkative, intelligent, and a pleasure to own. These cats are also famous for their distinctive coloring. In fact, there are 32 known color combinations!

Many Siamese owners wonder what determines the color of their cats. Specifically, how do Siamese kittens get their color? Do their colors change? When do they get their color?

To answer one question, Siamese kittens get their coat color from the Himalayan gene that they have. We answer the other questions and more here, so read on!

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How Do Siamese Kittens Get Their Color?

The Siamese breed has a gene that causes the colors that you find them in. It’s called the Himalayan gene, and it causes something called temperature-reactive albinism. This changes the color of the kitten based on their local body temperature.

The fur in the cooler parts of the kitten’s body will be darker than the fur in the warmer regions. The darker parts are called color points and include lynx points, seal points, chocolate points, apricot points, and cinnamon points.

three siamese kittens on the floor
Photo Credit: ADA_photo, Shutterstock

When Do Siamese Kittens Get Their Color?

All Siamese are born with a white color because they’ve just spent 9 weeks in a warm womb. You should see your kitten’s white color gradually begin to change when they’re about a week old. You’ll also start to notice dark points on certain areas of their fur at this time because their body temperature starts to drop, enabling color changes to occur. This is when you’ll begin to see color points on the cat’s legs, face, tail, and ears.

What Are the Siamese Point Colors?

Your furry friend’s points will become darker as the temperature gets hotter. This color is determined by genetics and can result in four natural shades. These are chocolate, blue, seal, and lilac point.

There are also point colors that have been developed in specific breeding programs. These can include cinnamon, fawn, lynx, caramel, tabby, white, red, tortie, and apricot.

two siamese kittens in their blue bed
Photo Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

3 cat face dividerWhat Are Other Causes of Color Changes?

Genetics and a unique gene aren’t the only things that lead to color changes in the Siamese breed.

1. Seasonal Changes

Siamese cats’ colors change with the seasons. If you live in a hot climate, you may notice that your furry friend’s fur is a lighter shade when they shed their winter coat for the spring. Once the fall season arrives and your cat grows their winter coat, the fur will be a darker color. All these factors lead us to believe that the seasons play a part in the shade of a Siamese’s fur.

2. Other Reasons for Color Changes

There are a few other causes of color changing in your Siamese.

  • Diet deficiencies
  • The effects of the sun
  • Certain health conditions
  • Old age
  • A rise in body temperature

If you think your Siamese cat is changing colors abnormally, it’s best to make an appointment with your vet for diagnosis and treatment. Although they change color with the seasons, certain health conditions and diet problems will cause the same reaction, which could be dangerous to your feline.

Siamese cat eating dry food from a bowl
Photo Credit: catinrocket, Shutterstock

cat paw dividerIs It Possible for a Siamese Cat to Be Black?

A Siamese cat is technically considered to be a black cat. The Himalayan gene just prevents melatonin from circulating through the cat, which is why they develop seal points on their body instead of a solid black coat.

Are All Siamese Cat Colors Recognized?

While there are over 32 color variations in the Siamese breed, not all of them are CFA recognized. Here is a list of the most common color variations and whether they are CFA recognized:

  • Blue point: Light grey to slate blue — Yes
  • Lilac point: Light lilac with pink undertones — Yes
  • Seal point: Light brown to black — Yes
  • Chocolate point: Very dark brown with black points — Yes
  • Fawn point: Pale brown with hints of pink — No
  • Caramel point: Creamy brown with dark pinkish-grey — No
  • Cinnamon point: Warm orangish brown — No
  • Flame point: Slight orange to Tabby-like — No
  • Tortie point: Bi-color with various patterns — No
  • Apricot point: Very pale orange — No
  • Cream point: Pale orange — No
a woman holding siamese kittens in her arms
Image Credit: Yulia Kostyushina, Shutterstock

Are Blue Eyes the Norm for Siamese Cats?

Yes, blue eyes are the norm for this cat breed and are one of the breed’s most striking features. Most cats have blue eyes when they are born; then, the eyes change as the kittens reach adulthood. The gene that accounts for their color also makes it possible for their eyes to stay blue, making them even more stunning.

With their blue eyes, striking features, and different color combinations, it’s no wonder this cat is such a popular breed.

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Final Thoughts

Siamese kittens are born white. You’ll start to see changes in their color after they are a week old. There are a few factors that contribute to the color changes that you see in your furry friend, from the seasons to the effects of the sun. Remember, if the color changes seem abnormal, it’s best to contact your vet.

If you’re considering purchasing or adopting a Siamese cat, make sure you’re ready to care for a remarkably talkative feline. If you’re ready for that responsibility, giving a Siamese kitten a forever home will reward you with love and companionship for many years.

Featured Image Credit: Atiput Wongyim, Shutterstock

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