5 Intriguing Facts About Seal Point Cats

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One of the most distinctive feline coats is the hallmark of one of the oldest-known cat breeds. Merely mentioning seal-point cats conjures up images of Siamese cats. While it is true that Siamese cats and their mixes seem to have cornered the market on a coat with seal-point markings, the stunning coloration is found on quite a few cat breeds. The various cat breeds with points may differ in conformation, but they have one thing in common: They’re all striking! Let’s find out what’s so interesting about seal-point cats!

A Siamese cat.
Seal point cats have white- to fawn-colored bodies with darker points on their extremities. Photography by Masha Gold / Shutterstock.

1. Seal-point cats have albino origins

Seal-point cats usually have white- to fawn-colored bodies with darker points on their furthest extremities. This interesting coat pattern is tied to genes that both the male and female must possess for the kittens to have points. The alleles (variant forms of a single gene) are actually a form of temperature-sensitive genes associated with albinism. The darker points are found on the face, ears, paws and tail because that’s where the cat’s body is cooler in temperature. The less body heat there is, the darker the fur is on these mousers.

2. Yes, seal-point cats have something to do with seals

There are few cats as gorgeous as seal-point cats. Born snow-white and blind, kittens possessing the seal-point markings don’t reveal their true array of full colors until they’re approximately a year old. The name seal point comes from the color of a seal. According to the National Siamese Cat Club, the range of colors under the seal umbrella go from a dark brown to a brownish black. While chocolate points are recognized as an acceptable variant for purebreds, the difference between seal and chocolate is that seal is darker and chocolate points are lighter and warmer.

Birman cats can have seal-point coloring, too. Photography by Lolostock / Shutterstock

3. What breeds might sport those seal-point markings?

It’s not just the Siamese breed that sports those celebrated seal points. The following breeds may exhibit seal-point coloration:

  1. Balinese
  2. Birman
  3. British Shorthair
  4. Colorpoint Shorthair
  5. Himalayan
  6. Javanese
  7. Napoleon
  8. Ragdoll
  9. Snowshoe
  10. Thai
  11. Tonkinese

That’s right, all their ancestry includes a Siamese somewhere in their creation.

According to composer and Siamese cat expert, Jeanne Singer, the Siamese cat has spawned 14 new breeds of cat! Richard Gebhardt, former president of the Cat Fanciers Association, also documents in the same New York Times article that the breed struggled through the 1960s and 1970s due in part to inbreeding while trying to maintain a near-impossible aesthetic. Thankfully, the restrictive standards were widened by many registries, resulting in a larger and healthier population.

4. The history of the seal-point cat

The burgeoning popularity of Siamese cats outside of Thailand began with a single imported pair. Pho and Mia arrived in England in the late 1880s, and their presence ushered in a love of seal-point cats; seal point being the original founding color point. The timing of their arrival couldn’t have been better. It was Great Britain’s dawning era of dog shows, cat shows and fancy registries; creating the perfect storm to catapult the Siamese breed to instant celebrity status. Siamese cats are still considered one of the most recognizable cat breeds in the world.

About 100 years after Pho and Mia arrived in England, the originator of the sublime cat, the Kingdom of Siam, was reportedly importing Siamese cats into the country because it was running out of them! The original seal-point cat was kept by higher class people, like royalty and monks, and their digs were usually palaces and temples. But as time marched on, palaces, along with the ruling class, crumbled — taking most of the cats with them.

5. Myths and magic associated with seal point cats

Tamra Maeo (Treatises on Cats), also called The Cat-Book Poems, dates back to the 1500s and features a dark-pointed cat. An unknown author created the book in Siam, and it’s considered one of the first cat breed registries.

While the Siamese cat was involved in royal court rituals throughout the ages, their allure was steeped in superstition and because they were considered auspicious.

Author Martin Clutterbuck states that while the British Siamese Cat Club dubbed their favorite breed, “The Royal Cat of Siam,” in 1901, the King of Siam shot that down; expressing, “The King of Siam does not keep any special breed, nor are there any specially preserved in his palace.”

There are plenty of Siameezer myths! Legend has it that Siamese cats were the vessels for souls of recently deceased royal family members. It is also believed that their crossed eyes were a result of guarding over a sacred golden goblet that a monk was too drunk to handle. Their eyes are blue because they served heaven, and a princess caused a tail kink.

Truths, half-truths and total fiction aside, seal-point cats have captured our attention for centuries, and will continue to do so for many more years to come!

 Tell us: Do you have a seal-point cat? What breed or mix of breeds is she?

Read Next: The Orange Tabby Cat — 8 Fun Facts

44 thoughts on “5 Intriguing Facts About Seal Point Cats”

  1. I have one male long haired Siamese seal point kitten he’s about 12 weeks old and he’s my best friend I love him so much! I never had a Siamese cat before, I had a male tabby cat a long time ago. So now everything is a new experience with my Siamese furrbaby ????♥️ IAM really happy with him and he is such a lover so happy o have him in my life ❤️

  2. Kelly Finkelstein

    We have had 5 seal point kitties over the years. At present we have only one female but we are awaiting word about a male kitty to be born. Our female is named Solange Lowan ( Combination of French and Thai, it means seriously beautiful).

    1. Kelly Finkelstein

      They were all Siamese, only one was a standard, and another one had crossed eyes. The female we have now is a constant talker (only one of all we’ve had)!!

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  6. I have two seal point Siamese/ ragdoll mix cats. They are about a year old now. Funny part is one looks pure Siamese and the other looks like a pure seal point ragdoll but they are littermates. Both are absolutely gorgeous cats.

    1. Deborah Applegate

      My siamese cat was a stray cat .she is like my other siamese cat I had before just other ran away. But this girl has like calico mix on legs /paws or its color if siamese .but all are same at times mean. My other cat is black and white son from siamese. He doesnt look at all like his mom .male cat which I believe was father was black and white.

        1. Mary E. Skillings

          We have male and female litter mates, tabby/ Siamese mix. Beautiful markings, blue and green eyes. Sadly we lost our male Jake recently at 10 yrs old. He was by far the most personable loving cat we’ve ever had

  7. Martha Gilreath

    We trapped 7 feral kittens from under my deck…6 were gray tigers, with either NO TAILS or just short stubby tails, and the last kitten we caught was a seal point siamese. The mother is a calico bob tail or manx (no tail) This seal point has full tail, is light cream with the dark eyes, ears, tail and feet. Could she be from the same mother as all the other kittens or did mamma “steal” her from another litter???? Have not seen any siamese adult cats around…so we are at a loss of WHERE SHE CAME FROM?????

    1. We now have three cats! I like to call the free range cats – they actually adopted us! We live in a village in Almeria, Spain. We have a Male and. Female who are similar to seal point or chocolate Siamese – full tail. And a silver tabby, female, with a stub of a tail. These tailless cats are quite common in the village and I would imagine due to inbreeding. All three are spayed/neutered and very happy to stay with us !

    2. I recently adopted a beautiful blue eyed ragdoll looking furbaby from a rescue that I know. A postal carrier brought a feral pregnant calico home and she had four boy babies. One grey, two fawn and this one gorgeous white blue eyed.
      We all thought the same thing would be true if the birth had not been witnessed! You never know!!!

    3. Cats tend to breed with many males, so many males will have a genetic connection to the various kittens born.

      …that kitten likely just had a different father.

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  11. I adopted a female Siamese cat 2.5 years ago. She is wonderful and has become a sister/friend with my wirehaired dachshund. Siam, my Siamese was the true Siamese Seal Point Colors when I adopted her at approximately 1.5 years of age, but now she has turned almost completely the very dark brown/black color all on her torso. Her head still has the cream/fawn color where it should be and her tummy is not really dark, but most of her body has darkened. I grew up with Seal point siamese cats and we never had one to turn this dark. Does anyone have a suggestion or clue as to why? The vet suggests genetics, however I read diet and have noticed a lightening of her dark color with a change of food. She’s still gorgeous with her blue cross eyes and her Siamese voice and the Siamese face that would stop a clock. Just curious if there were any comments on her dark coat.

  12. My Mochi is either a seal or chocolate point. I’m not sure what he is but he has longer minky hair than Siamese cats and a fluffy plume of a tail but not the face of a Siamese or Balinese. He was actually found abandoned as a kitten, before he had any markings. We thought he just had a dirty nose! He has turned out to be the nicest cat… He does however love to knock over plastic water cups!

  13. I am owned by a gorgeous 12 year old blue point Siamese. He is addressed as Lord Sargon. He rules the house. No head shall be higher than his. But he is the love of my life. He was preceded by Lord Xerxes, another blue point Siamese that lived to be 18 years old and died peacefully at home.
    As to the age – I had two Siamese from my childhood – both seal points. One died at the young age of 25; the other at 28 (in people years). Well loved and much venerated in the family.

  14. I have a 4 month old Siamese Mix; Blue and Lynx Points. She is turning color now. She is beautiful, and had gorgeous blue eyes. I named her Bindi (Australian Aborginal name; after Bindi Irwin, after the late Steve Irwin)

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  16. I have a blue seal point Siamese named Isis named after the Egyptian goddess. I always knew she had a human spirit inside her, the bond between her and I is the strongest, Ive had cats for 30 years and even bread some, she is by far the most special I’ve ever had, not to mention I have saved her life twice. I love my chatty, snuggly, soft, rare jem.

  17. I just lost my wonderful Sealpoint Ragdoll to kidney disease at age 21. Archie was so sweet and still mischievous as he liked to reach out a paw to trip his unsuspecting roommates as they strolled past him. He was always grooming his buddies Blondy, Harvey and Mickey and would lick human heads if allowed.

  18. Mary Ann Pientka

    Hi, i have 4 sealpoint Ragdolls 2male and 2 female. All cuddle bugs range from 7 lbs to 18 lbs all 8 years old. They are awesome kitties, my two males act like little dogs, always under foot and love to play fetch.

  19. We have seal point Himalayans and they are so lovely and have such a calm nature. Everyone loves them and the blue eyes are striking. They get a lot of attention at the cat shows!

  20. I really learnt a lot out of this article so thank you for this
    We have a gorgeous ragdoll x birman 6yo girl crystal who has darkened as shes got older but she has chocolate points, chocolate tail & feet with beautiful big blue eyes
    she is a real diva but very loving & we’ve had her from a kitten it was amazing to see her go from a pure white ball of fluff to a sleek & elegant adult cat with gorgeous colourings
    she is so intuitive that she knows if any of us are getting sick several days before we show symptoms & she mothers us until we are well
    as she developed her colours we also noticed that at the base of her tail on her bottom she has a chocolate love heart that flows into the chocolate of her tail
    we got crystal as a therapy cat to help my son who has anxiety & autism but fell so completely in love with her that we know it was the best decision we ever made

  21. My Ziggy Starburst was born to a long-haired grey and white in our shed. I fed the kittens when she weaned them and Ziggy adopted me! He has the M of a tabby on his head and white lines above and below his blue eyes that look like eyeliner. He is smart, sweet and loves tummy rubs! My vet says he is a grey point but he looks brown to me.

  22. Our Snowshoe is the smartest of our three. The others are Siamese and sweet and smart. All are rescues and adore our, tiny Chihuahua.
    We believe they think she is a baby sister and are amused by her nipping, gently, chasing them and never lay a claw on the little girl

  23. I was so happy to read about the seal point cats. We have our second seal point cat and she is daughter to a family of calico/tortoise shell felines. We always have been curious what kind of breed our little Snow White is. This article helped with some clarification. I wish I could attach an image of her to show you all. Thank you for sharing this article!

  24. I have two Siamese mixes. They look more like the Snowshoe breed with white paws and tabby markings though. Close enough.

    One has orange tabby markings on his face, tail, and legs (minus the paws which are white). The other has brown tabby markings on his face, tail, and on his legs; he also has a lighter shade of his tabby markings on his back and sides. The color darkens on his legs but then goes pure white on his paws. It’s like he couldn’t decide what color he wanted to be or what markings he wanted to have! Both have blue eyes, with one being slightly cross-eyed.

    They’re both very sweet! And very talkative. Well, the orange one is. The other one is quieter. Both have weird oral fixations: one’s a chewer and the other’s a wool sucker. Is that common in these breeds too?

    Thanks for article about their purebred relatives. It was fun to read.

  25. Thank you for linking to my content (in this post), it’s always nice to be of help :)

    Interesting about the name seal point, I didn’t know it actually came from seals. I have a seal point Tonkinese, who has the appearance of a traditional/apple head Siamese.

    Keep up the great work Catster.

  26. Alleles are not combinations of genes.

    Alleles are variant forms of a single gene.

    Because cats are diploid, each chromosome comes as a pair, with one chromosome in the pair coming from the mother and the other from the father. Thus each gene occurs twice (once in each chromosome of the pair). Those two copies of the gene may both have the same allele or may have different alleles.

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