When it comes to types of Siamese, it is easy to get very confused
You think you would like one of the types of Siamese cat- but what are all these Tabby, Tortie, Lynx and Solid colors about?
I have to admit that in my opinion many of these color options look so much alike only the breeders and judges can tell them apart.
Before we delve into all the color and pattern options there is one more piece of the jigsaw you need to know before shopping for the various color 'point' options. (The word 'point', by the way, refers to the darker shades of color on the cat’s extremities - its ears, paws and tail.)
So you first have to decide - do you prefer a Traditional Siamese or a Modern Siamese?
Lets start with a little history: For many reasons the Siamese cat has actually changed its physical appearance a lot over the years, from the more chunky types of Siamese of the past to the very slim cat with huge ears of the present.
This is such a big deal that I have made it a point to go into the differences in much greater detail which will be in another section of my site.
Briefly, the original chunky version of the Siamese is officially called the Traditional Siamese cat, but you will also see them called the Applehead Siamese cat or Classic Siamese cats, or even Thai Style.) It is all a matter of degree. The typical Siamese is a more sleek version of our house cat with dainty paws, narrowish whip-like tail and elegant proportions. These are the types of Siamese cat you will find in Thailand, the home of the Siamese. This is also the shape of Siamese you would have seen before the 1970s-1980s. Unfortunately most of the cat breed clubs no longer recognize these types of Siamese so breeders can't show them or win prizes with the chunky version. One club that does is the TCA, the Traditional Cat Association
The very slim Siamese with the large ears are officially called the Modern Show Style Siamese, or just Siamese, (much to the annoyance of the chunky shaped original Siamese breeders). They are quite different from the chunky Siamese. These modern Siamese cats have huge 'bat ears', extremely elongated bodies and ultra chiseled faces.
So before you even think of which coloring you prefer you’ll need to be sure whether you favor the traditional shape (with many health and character benefits, say the breeders) or the modern shape (which is just as healthy, say the breeders.)
The Fluffy Siamese?
Now before we get into the actual colors that the Siamese come in I would like to point out that there are also long haired types of Siamese. These are proper Siamese but a whole lot fluffier! I have lots more about the Balinese and Javanese here So if you like the sound of a glamorous silky Siamese that also comes in all the colors that we are going to discuss next, please learn more here!
Decided? Lets get onto the types of Siamese.
The early color varieties of Siamese - the Seal Point Siamese cats, the Blue Point Siamese cats, the Chocolate Point Siamese cat, and the Lilac Point Siamese cat - are called Siamese even by the CFA, (the Cat Fancy Association,) which is based in the US. The problem arises if you live in the US and might like a Flame Point 'Siamese cat', a Lynx Point 'Siamese cat,' Tortie Point 'Siamese cat' or even Torbie color palette. In this case, you would have to check out the 'Colorpoint shorthair' breed rather than Siamese because that is what these newer colors are called.
Confusing? You bet, and it gets worse, in the UK 'Colourpoints' are not the same at all because a Colourpoint is a Persian (really fluffy cat with 'points'.)
Everybody will still think you have bought a Siamese cat, though! You can also get cats that look like a Siamese in body, voice and sometimes eye color but don't have the 'points'. These are the 'Solids,' but more about them later.
So lets walk into the amazing virtual online Siamese Cat Shop and check out the colors available.
Siamese Cat Colors
On our right, we have the Seal Point Siamese cats. This is the proper name for the cat that comes to mind when we think of a typical Siamese. They have dark brown to almost black velvety points and quite a dark beige body that tones with the points.
Then there’s the Chocolate Point Siamese cat. This one has points the color of milk chocolate and a much paler body that again matches the shade of the points.
Next are the Blue Point types of Siamese cats. Here the points are perhaps better described as mid to dark gray and the body almost pure white, with just a hint of 'blue' i.e. gray.
Finally, the Lilac Point Siamese cat has points that are a much paler grey, sometimes more like a frosting of gray. Again the body is also almost white and this white should tone with the shade of the points.
On our left, we find the more recent Siamese cats coloring choices, which are still known as Siamese in the UK but classified as Colorpoint Shorthair by the CFA in the US. These types of Siamese still have the 'points' - that is, color in specific areas like the face, tail, ears and paws. But now we find many more color varieties, like the Lynx Point 'Siamese' cat (called Tabby Point in the UK), Parti-Colors (or Tortie Point in the UK), and the newer colors like Flame Point 'Siamese' cat and Cream Point.
Moving on down and in a separate section in the middle of our 'shop' are the types of Siamese with fluffy tails and a longer coat - and often with ear tufts. If you are in the States these will be known as Balinese if they are Seal Point, Chocolate Point, Blue Point and Lilac Point. If they come in lots of other beautiful combinations - and they do come in many! - then they are called Javanese. If you’re reading this in the UK or wish to import a cat from the UK, then all the range of colors are just called Balinese (i.e. not Javanese). As I mentioned at the top of the page there is much more about them here.
The final section in our virtual Siamese shop are made up of the Oriental Cat breed…
The Oriental Cat in the US
One breed of siamese look-alike cats that have many varieties - about 300 color and pattern options! - in the US is called the Oriental Shorthair by the CFA and the Oriental Longhair for the fluffy version. What makes this group hard to visualize is that to the uninitiated, some look very similar. While they all tend to have the build and typical character of the Siamese, they are not called Siamese. You might well want to consider one of these (Orientals) if you are attracted to the character of the Siamese but want different colors.
The Foreign Solids are the ones with all over color rather than typical Siamese 'points.' You could buy them in these colors, Black (ebony) often called a Black Siamese cat, White likewise often called a white Siamese cat, Chestnut, Blue, Lavender, Cinnamon, and Fawn. People however often mistakenly call them a Black Siamese cat or a White Siamese cat which is perhaps a lot more descriptive than a foreign solid…
If the 'silver' gene is added, you get a sparkling undercoat, and these are called Smoke Orientals.
If just the tip of each hair has the color, then it’s a Shaded Oriental.
If you want a cat that has splashes of red or cream in addition to many of these options you will have to check out the Parti-Color Oriental Shorthairs or (Longhairs).
You like stripes? Check out the Tabby Orientals. Those wild stripes come in many patterns of course - Mackerel, Classic, Ticked and Spotted.
As recently as 1995 the Bi-color pattern was bred. These have a very noticeable white inverted V on the face and white on the chest, tummy and legs.
That concludes the brief review from the States but if you would like to learn more then the CFA (Cat Fanciers' Association) is the place to go.
The Oriental in the UK
Remember that the UK doesn’t distinguish the original colors like Seal Point, Chocolate Point, Blue Point and Lilac Point types of Siamese cats from the newer colors like Red Point and Cinnamon. In the UK these are all described as being Siamese but there is an offshoot called the Oriental breeds as well.
The UK has all the color and pattern mixtures that you can get in the States but uses a different classification system to sub-divide their 'Oriental' breed.'
The GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) in the UK use lots of new words to describe their 'Oriental' classification. Are you ready?
These are the short hairs that make up the Oriental breed in the UK:
*The Non-agouti Oriental Breeds: divided into Oriental Selfs, Oriental Smokes (Non-Self) and Oriental Torties (Non-Self). You will also find the Havana and Foreign white, who got their separate names before the newer Oriental breed came into being.
*The Agouti Oriental Breeds: divided into Spotted Tabby, Classic Tabby, Mackerel Tabby, Ticked Tabby and Shaded.
*The Oriental Bi-Colour Breeds: made up of Bi-Colour Shorthair and Bi-Colour Longhair.
Now for the long hairs - naturally called Oriental Longhair Breeds:
* Non-agouti, Self, Tortie and Smoke.
* Agouti, Tabby and Shaded.
What do these strange words mean?'Agouti' means bands of color on each individual hair.'Non-agouti' means solid colors where there should just be one color on each hair.
If you would like to find out more about the UK breeds,and their types of Siamese I suggest you pop over to the GCCF (The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy)
And if I’ve thoroughly confused you I apologize. But that’s the reality - it really is confusing when describing the types of Siamese available. It all depends on which side of the pond you’re on and which cat club the breeder belongs to.
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