Siamese cats had their roots in Thailand which was formerly known as Siam, hence the name. They are among the most recognizable breed with the distinct dark face, ears or paws, coloring, angular head and sleek fur coats, apart from their electric-blue eyes that point inward towards the nose.
There are several variants or breeds resulting from cross-breeding with other breeds. But the US-based the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) limits its official breed listing to four traditional Siamese breeda based on coat points or color flashes on the tail, face, ears, legs and feet which are sharply delineated.
The 4 Types of Siamese Cats
- Seal Point Siamese – Body colors take prominence which range from fawny to pale white with points that are deep brown with matching paws and nose. Tummy fur may be lighter than the back fur.
- Chocolate Point – It may be difficult to distinguish a chocolate point from its seal point cousin, as the points can easily be seen as deep brown. But they are not as dark. The chocolate points are actually lighter on closer inspection. Moreover, the body coat tends towards a lighter cast can can look more creamy than that of seal point’s fawny cast. A more conclusive distinction are the nose and paws which are more pinkish or with cinnamon undertones.
- Blue point (a dilute of seal point) – This Siamese can’t be confused with a chocolate point as its fur coloring on the tail, ears and face is bluish, often bluish gray. The rest of his body fur also has bluish cast though his belly may not. The blue-point Siamese was officially recognized by the CFA in 1934.
- Lilac point (a dilute of chocolate point) – Last to be recognized by the CFA in 1955, this type of Siamese have the lightest points of any other Siamese types. They are often pale grayish, pinkish or purplish in tone. Body coat is also lighter than all the others.
Other registries in the US and worldwide recognize a greater diversity of colors based on interbreeding with local and other feline breeds.
Types of Cats Derived from Siamese Cats
- Thai Cat – This is the original Wichian Mat or Old Style Siamese that originated in Thailand of the 19th century and still bred today in Thailand and in western countries.
- Balinese – The is a domestic breed distinguished by its Siamese point coloration but with long ermine-like furry coat. As such, the breed is also known as a longhaired Siamese. The CFA accepted this breed but only if within the four traditional Siamese colors and the rest with different colors or patterns as considered separately as Javanese breeds.
- Burmese – A close This breed of Siamese cats descended from the Wong Mau cats indigenous to Burma. In 1930 by Dr. Joseph Cheesman Thompson brought this Burmese native feline to San Francisco, and was cross-bred with a regular Siamese. Instead of blue, the eyes are of a golden color, and the shorthair body coat often comes in darker shades but with the same darker points that are lighter than in regular Siamese breed.
- Tonkinese – This is a cross between a native Burmese and a Siamese breed but with aqua-colored eyes. Tonkinese to Tonkinese matings have been known to result in kittens with Siamese “pointed” pattern, Burmese “sepia” pattern, or a Tonkinese “mink” pattern with greater pattern contrast than the Burmese but less contrast than the Siamese.
- Colorpoint Shorthair – Considered “first cousin” hybrids of the Siamese, this cat is recognized by the CFA as a separate breed, but all other registries put them as part of the Siamese breeds. These cats get distinguished by their sixteen different point colors compared with the four Siamese colors and share the same body style, coat length, and color pattern with the Siamese, but in the less traditional color points of lynx (tabby), cream, red, and tortoiseshell. They were cross-bred from Siamese with American Shorthairs.
- Himalayan – This longhaired Siamese breed derived from a cross-breeding a Persian cat to a Siamese and results in longhair felines that have the distinct points of chocolate or lilac colors found in traditional Siamese breed. Succeeding breeds with other Persian cats have put it in the CFA as a Persian breed, rather than Siamese breed.
- Javanese – This is the longhaired cousin of the colorpoint shorthair in CFA. Contrary to what the name means, it did not originate in the Java, Indonesia, but is another domestic cat considered as a show cat bred in North America as a hybrid of oriental longhair cats that inherit much of the points in Siamese cats.
- Mekong bobtail (thai bobtail) – Contrary to the name, this breed did not originate in Vietnam. It is a recent Russian cross between the pointed moggies and Kurillian Bobtails. They ended up looking like Siamese cats with similar point coloration but, as the name indicates, have a short inward curving tail similar to bobtail cats found in the Mekong river region, hence the name.
- Snowshoe – This is a a hybrid cat that features a cream and white shorthair body and blue eyes with some points resulting from a cross-breeding of the two-color American Shorthair and the Siamese breed during the 1960s.
- Ocicat – This breed sports a spotted shorthair body coat and is was cross-bred between an Abyssinian and a Siamese.
- Oriental Shorthair – This is a domestic breed that has the Siamese slender body but with a diverse fur patterns and colors. The breed had genetic roots in Thailand but had been developed in the US and has become the most popular among CFA members for its non-pointed fur patterns and colors that include silver or smoke, tabby and tortoiseshell.
- Oriental Longhair – This is a domestic breed similar to the Balinese and Javanese that have a Siamese body but with a longer fur coat than the regular Siamese. It is effectively the longhair variant of the Oriental Shorthair
- Savannah – Considered the largest breed of domestic cats, the Savannah is a spotted hybrid from a cross between a domestic Siamese breed and a serval, a medium sized African wild cat.