How a Siamese cat’s coloration works is a bit complicated. There is no such thing as an entirely black Siamese. However, some cats are technically black, though specific genes make their color diluted. This causes their fur to become paler in certain places.
Black Siamese cats are technically only black on their tail, face, ears, and legs. However, if you look at their genetics, you would see that they are black cats in actuality. This coloration is called “Seal Point.”
According to the CFA breed standard, all Siamese cats have a definite contract between their overall body color and points. Therefore, entirely black cats can’t exist in this breed. Many Siamese cat mixed breeds are pointed, so it isn’t easy to find a completely black half-Siamese cat.
To understand how this all works a bit better, let’s take a look at this breed’s unique pattern.
A Crash Course in Siamese Genetics
Genetics can be a bit complicated. Luckily, the genes that give the Siamese cat its unique coloration are slightly on the simpler side.
Siamese cats have a pointed coat, which makes them unique in the cat world. This is due to a specific gene called the Himalayan gene – also referred to as the pointed gene for apparent reasons. This gene affects how pigment works at different temperatures. This gene makes the cat exhibit albinism, but only at higher temperatures.
Around the cat’s torso, chest, and stomach, they are hotter. Therefore, none of the cat’s pigment can express in these areas, which makes them white or cream-colored in these areas. However, they are cooler around the ears, face, tail, and limbs. Their pigment can be expressed in these areas, which makes their coat “pointed.”
This is why Siamese cats are darker towards their extremities and lighter towards their core. It all has to do with temperature.
Because it is directly related to the temperature around the cat, the feline’s color can differ over their lifespan. Kittens are often born entirely white because it is hot inside the womb. The temperature differences across their bodies don’t differ until a few hours after birth. At this point, the feline will begin to develop darker fur on their extremities.
Siamese cats also tend to darken as they age. However, they never darken so much that there isn’t a clear contrast in their fur.
Because Siamese cats have a unique form of albinism, none of them will ever be completely black. Even if a cat has the black gene, the Himalayan gene will cover it up and make their coat heat-sensitive. One thing that makes a Siamese cat Siamese is that they have this gene.
Seal Point Siamese – Technically Black
The seal point coloration on Siamese cats is technically the Siamese version of black. However, they don’t look completely black, even though they do carry the black gene. The Himalayan gene makes this black pigment unable to be expressed at warmer temperatures, such as around their torso. If that gene weren’t there, your cat would be black.
Many kittens with the black gene will be born white for reasons we previously discussed. It takes a bit before a cat’s coloring comes through. Therefore, a white cat at birth may technically be black, with their extremities darkening a bit after birth.
Usually, these cats will darken whenever the temperature gets colder and as they age. It isn’t odd for their coat color to change regularly. Just because a cat looks almost entirely black doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Adopting a “black” Siamese cat will typically end up with the cat’s coat lightening later.
Are There Siamese Cats Without the Himalayan Gene?
Based on this information, the only way to get a completely black Siamese cat is to find one without the Himalayan gene. This gene messes with how a cat’s pigment is expressed. Even if a cat has the black gene, they won’t be completely black if they have this gene.
With that said, there are no Siamese cats without the Himalayan gene. What makes a Siamese cat a Siamese is that they have this gene. If a cat doesn’t have this gene, they aren’t a Siamese.
Therefore, if anyone is trying to sell you a Siamese cat, they aren’t a Siamese. They are likely some other breed that looks like a Siamese. A few breeds do look like Siamese, but they don’t carry the Himalayan gene. Because their pigment isn’t affected by temperature, they can be completely black.
The Oriental breed is one example of this. They are very similar to Siamese cats, but they do not have the Himalayan gene. If you see something described as a “black Siamese,” it is likely an Oriental in actuality. Oriental cats come in practically any color – unlike the Siamese that only comes with four different coat colors.
If you’re set on a black Siamese cat, you may want to choose an Oriental instead. They are rarer, but their coat color is the only significant difference between them and a Siamese. Therefore, the black Oriental could easily be described as a black Siamese, though not in technicality. Both breeds cost about the same as well, though you may have to pay extra for a completely black Oriental feline.
How Much are Black Siamese Cats?
Because there is no such thing as a completely black Siamese cat, you can’t purchase one. If someone is selling a cat as a completely black Siamese, you should proceed with caution. It simply isn’t possible for a Siamese to be completely black.
If you want to purchase a Seal Point Siamese, the cost can vary from $400 to $1,000. Seal Point kittens tend to be cheaper than kittens of other colorations, as it is the most common. It is the “default” Siamese color. The felines carry the black gene, though they don’t look completely black.
For those who are set on a black kitten, you may want to purchase an Oriental instead. These cats cost about $600 to $1,000. This is about the same price as a Siamese, except that these felines come in full black.
What About Mixed Breeds?
When you mix a Siamese cat with another breed, you never know what you’re going to get. Some may be black, but others won’t be. The cat will also develop other non-Siamese characteristics. There is no way to ensure that a kitten will only inherit the black coat color from their other parent. They may not look or act like a Siamese cat very much.
Breeding an Oriental cat with a Siamese has a decently high chance of producing a Siamese-looking kitten that happens to be completely black. Of course, this assumes you’re breeding two cats with the black gene together. However, Orientals are already so close to Siamese cats that it may simply be easier to purchase purebred Oriental.
Any Siamese cat mixed breeds can also have a pointed coat, so you may end up with a cat that isn’t black at all. You can’t tell when you mix two different breeds.
Sadly, completely black Siamese cats don’t exist. Their unique genes cause their coat’s pigment to react differently to heat, so they will always have a pointed coat. This is the main trait that makes a Siamese cat Siamese. If they don’t have this trait, they aren’t a Siamese cat.
The breed standard does not accept any solid colors, including black. It is impossible to breed a black Siamese without mixing it with a different breed, which won’t always leave you with a completely black cat. The genetics are a bit complicated when you start mixing breeds.
Some breeds look like Siamese cats but also come in completely black. The closest thing is an Oriental cat. This breed is very similar to the Siamese, but they don’t carry the pointed-coat gene. Therefore, they can be completely black.
Featured Image Credit: Andreas Lischka, Pixabay