Colorpoint Cat against a brick wall

Everything You Want to Know About Pointed Cat Colors

Last Updated on September 15, 2021 by Holly Anne Dustin

Cat colors and patterns express a combination of genes and mutations. The combination of a gene for partial albinism and a mutation to the gene that affects the enzymes controlling fur color create what we know as a pointed pattern. Pointed colors are most commonly seen in Siamese cats, but there are other pointed cat breeds.

Siamese Cats Fur Changes Color in Relation to Heat

The unique color patterns in the Siamese cat’s coat is caused by a genetic mutation. All color pointed cats have a gene for partial albinism, but a mutation to that gene affects the enzymes controlling fur color. These enzymes can’t produce color in temperatures above 98 degrees.That limits the color and pattern to the cat’s face mask area, legs and tail.

The body color is an even creamy white color. Older cats may darken, but there should be a distinction between the body and the points.

Siamese kittens are born white. The temperature inside mama cat’s womb is too warm for the enzymes that darken the fur pigment to be triggered.

The color in pointed kittens doesn’t show until they are about a week old. They’ll continue to darken until they are around a year old. An experienced breeder can take a guess at kitten colors based on paw pads and nose leather, but pointed cats like to surprise us humans.

All Siamese Cats are Pointed, but Not All Color Point Cats are Siamese

There are 32 colors of pointed cats that are essentially Siamese in body type and style. But every registry has their own standard of what they call “Siamese.”  Different colors and patterns are accepted for show in each registry.

The four main Siamese colors are: Seal Point, Chocolate Point, Blue Point, Lilac Point.

Outcrossing Siamese cats with American and British Shorthairs created pointed cat colors beyond the classic “big four”.

The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) only considers the four traditional colors as “Siamese”. They recognize other pointed cat colors as a separate breed class called Colorpoint Shorthairs. These cats got started in the 1940s-1950s when breeders produced a red pointed Siamese. CFA advanced the red and cream Colorpoints to championship status in 1964 and the lynx and tortie points in 1969. The Colorpoint Shorthair breed currently includes 16 colors.  The body and head type for the breed standard are identical to the Siamese.

The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes all the pointed cat colors as “Siamese” instead of putting them in a separate breed. Their recognized colors include chocolate, blue, lilac, cinnamon, fawn, red and cream points. These pointed cat colors come with and without white, in silver and smoke, lynx (tabby) point, and tortie/torbie point.

The Cat Fanciers’ Federation (CFF) doesn’t separate the Colorpoint Shorthair and Siamese breeds either.

many faces of colorpointed cats

Siamese and Color Point Colors

Seal Point

Seal Point is the original color type from Siam. The color points are dark brown, almost black. The brown fades into cream on the rest of the body. Seal Points darken with age.

Chocolate Point

Chocolate points have milk chocolate coloring on the legs, tail, face and ears. The point colors in Chocolate point cats develop more slowly than Seal points.

Blue Point

Blue point Siamese carry slate-blue points on a light bluish-white body. This gives them a somewhat silvery appearance. Their nose and paw pads are also a blue-gray color.

Lilac Point

The Lilac point Siamese is a very delicate, yet interesting color combination. The points are pinkish-gray, laid against a white body color. The nose and paw pads are also lavender pink. Lilacs stay light, even as they age.

The Red/Flame Point Family

The Red/Flame Point Family includes the Red/Flame, the Cream, and the Apricot Points.

Crossing a Sealpoint Siamese with a red American Shorthair created the Red/Flame Point Siamese.  Red points have bright reddish gold colored points. The body color is warm white. Paw pads and nose leather are pinkish.

Cream Points were created by crossbreeding red Domestic Shorthairs, Siamese, and Abyssinians. They have cool cream colored points and white cream body color. The paw pads and nose leather are pinkish.

Apricot Pointed cats have a hot cream colored point with a metallic sheen to it. These points get more obvious as they age. The body coat color is warm creamy white and if there are any shading, then it would be tone to the points. The paw pads, eye rims, and nose leather are pinkish. The ears, paw pads, nose, and lips might have freckles.

Cinnamon/Fawn/Caramel Point Family

Cinnamon, Fawn and Caramel Points are the newest color entries into the colorpoint breeds.

Cinnamon Points have cinnamon brown points. The body color is ivory. The eye rims are cinnamon brown and paw pads are cinnamon brown or pinkish. Cinnamon Points are beautiful cats.

Caramel Points are off white, with paler legs and brownish-gray colored points. The eye rims, paw pads, and nose leather are pinkish gray.

Fawn Point cats are off white with rosy mushroom colored points. Their paw pads, eye rims, and nose leather are pinkish.

Breeders cat use Cinnamon and Fawn in their programs. But CFA does not recognize them for show.

Tabby/Lynx Points

The Lynx (Tabby) Point resulted from an accidental mating between a domestic tabby and a seal point. They inherited the tabby stripes and genetic mutation for points.

Tabby/Lynx points come in a striped version of all color pointed cat colors.

Tortie/Torbie Point

In the most simplified form, tortie points are created when a cat carrying a red gene and a cat that doesn’t carry the red gene breed.

If a female cat inherits the red gene on only one of her chromosomes, it will only change half her pigment to one of the red shades. The other half will remain as it would have been without the red gene. So the tortie point Siamese comes about because half of the points change

Torties are almost always female. Tortie points can be any color except cream or red. The points on a tortie are mottled combinations of a dominant or dilute color and a red/cream/apricot. Torbie points combine the tortie coloring and tabby stripes.

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Snowshoe Pattern

The Snowshoe is essentially the “and white” point. The Snowshoe is accepted by TICA, CFF, and the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) but not by CFA. Snowshoes have white markings on their face, chest and feet. They have a sturdy build, more like the traditional Siamese rather than the sleek oriental build we see in the Siamese today.

Other Color Pointed Cat Breeds

Other pointed breeds of cats include: the Himalayan and Exotic, Ragdoll, Ragamuffin, Birman, British Shorthair, Balinese, Javanese, Tonkinese, and the Siberian. The Highlander, Thai, and Minuet are newer breeds recognized in some associations.

Lynx point domestic shorthair is one kind of pointed color cats

Blue Eyes

All breeds with pointed cat colors come with blue eyes from birth.

Dominant/Dilute Colors

Dominant ColorDilute Color Dilute Modified
Seal Point (black)Blue PointBlue Caramel
Chocolate PointLilac PointLilac Caramel
Cinnamon PointFawn PointFawn Caramel
Red/Flame PointCream PointApricot

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16 thoughts on “Everything You Want to Know About Pointed Cat Colors”

  1. I adopted a kitten from a lady that is the baby of a lynxpoint siames mix and a longer haired male tortoise tabby that has crem color and some orange on his face( we asked for pics) she lied to us about how old she was. We were expecting a 10 week old on dry food she was only about six weeks. We rushed to get the formula and wet food for her and shes mellowing out well but its clear the woman had her seperated too early before she handed her to us. The first pics of her tail show solid dark rings and a dark tip. When we got her she has a white blotch on the side of her tail and the tip turned white we think from her wrapping it around herself to suckle the tip. Is there anything we can do to bring back the beautiful tail she had before that breeder traumatized her? Yes i already contacted animal control about her

    1. Sje would have also lied about parentage. The only way to have a male tortie is genetic mutation, and theu are sterile. Incredibly rare, and cannot be the father.

  2. Tammy Lynn Galbraith

    We found a baby (probably 6 weeks old) digging in our trash. That was at least a month ago. She was dirty hungry and tired. She has blue eyes. She’s either a chocolate or seal point. I’m not sure how to know the difference. I asked around and a neighbor told me there was a mama siamese who made a nest in her back yard and had 3 kittens. She said one day the kittens were just gone. I guess this little baby is as lucky to find us as we were to find her.

  3. My tuxedo cat in her last 2 litters had one albino kitten in each the first started to change colors her fur became a more cream color and the tail and ears and nose started to change within a couple week to at first a grey color as she got older started to change to a dark brown on the ears tail nose and paws and a little up the legs. This was the first time I experienced a cat change colors. I’m not sure if my cat mates with a siamese cat or if she isn’t a siamese kitten at all. Her ne t litter the same thing hD another albino kitten. The kitten now is only acouple weeks old about a month old now. This one Also is now starting to change from her all white fur and pink nose and paw pads he is turning the grey color on his ears nose and tail. Still not sure if they are siamese or not. How can I find out.

    1. The pointed gene is in her background somewhere. It doesn’t make her a Siamese though. If you want to learn more about her genetic make up you can look at one of the DNA tests on the market. Basepaws is the most commercially popular but Wisdom Panel is also fairly widely available. You can get both on Amazon.

  4. My rescue group recently acquired a MALE dilute calico point. His color pattern is typical dilute calico with light grey & apricot spots, but on a cream background with Siamese points. Blue-eyed.

  5. I found a stray little girl with colored iiñr. I assumed she was at least part Siamese because of a coloring but I’m not completely convinced of her exact breed she is creamy white with blue pointed ears blue pointed tail that is striped some blue coloring on the forehead with a white face white balls paintball pads and a pink leather tip nose still reading up to pinpoint the exact breed but this information was very helpful

  6. So interesting! I started researching different point color variations and genetics when the stray silver tabby cat we’ve been trying to befriend brought her kittens to us– one solid black, one solid grey, one tiger striped tabby, and one lilac lynx point!

  7. This is such an interesting article. We always had stray cats in the past so I never thought about the genetics of cat colors. But this information is fascinating.

    I have a poodle mix and I’m currently researching this same topic but for poodles. So glad I found this article to help increase my understanding of how genetics affect colors.

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