Noted for their beauty and elegance, Siamese cats have become one of the most popular choices among cat lovers. Their sleek bodies, triangular shape heads and almond eyes make Siamese cats one of the most easily recognized breeds of cats, but what about coat coloring? Is there such thing as a Black Siamese cat? The answer to this question is yes and no, it’s all about perception. When we think of a black Siamese cat, the term “black” is being used as an adjective describing the color of the cat, but it is impossible for a Siamese cat to be the color black. Why you may ask? It’s all about genetics. Siamese cats and other species such as the rabbit and the mouse carry a specific gene called the Himalayan gene. This gene is a recessive gene, meaning that both the mother and the father cat must carry it in order for the offspring to have the gene.
The Himalayan gene causes partial albinism and is heat sensitive. The heat sensitivity means that the cooler the area, the darker the coloring. This explains why all Siamese cats are born white and then develop dark points around the face, tail and legs. The Himalayan gene is also the reason why all Siamese cats have blue eyes. The partial albinism prevents pigmentation in the eyes, and the blue color seen is actually the result of light being reflected of a cat’s retina. When a Siamese kitten is in the womb, there is constant warmth, and the heat sensitivity of the Himalayan gene allows the kitten’s fur to remain entirely white. Once they are born and their bodies are exposed to different temperatures, the gene prevents the production of melanin on the warmer parts of the body, allowing the warm areas to remain a lighter color, and darkening to occur on the cooler parts. Hence, the reason why there cannot be an all black Siamese cat. Siamese cats will get darker in the cooler months, but will never become all one color. Genetically, a Seal Point Siamese is a black cat, but this gene prevents the cat’s fur from being all black.
So what if you love the look of a Siamese, but you want an all black cat? If this is the case, then you would want to get an Oriental. Oriental and Siamese cats are essentially the same cat, but the difference is that the Oriental cat does not have the Himalayan gene and can be entirely colored. You can think of the Oriental being a Siamese cat with a black over coat. The other distinguishing characteristic between the Oriental and Siamese cats are the eye color. Since the Oriental cat does not have partial albinism, their eyes have some pigmentation. All Oriental cats will have the same shape of eyes as the Siamese, but instead of being blue, they will be a shade of green.
Image via Catster.com