Siamese cats have always been known for their elegance, beauty, and chatty ways. They are familiar to most cat lovers and are recognisable as light coloured, blue-eyed and slinky kitties such as the pair made famous in Lady and the Tramp (Disney).
The beautiful Siamese are popular for the colour points, providing a contrast with the white or cream body colour. But Siamese is not only restricted to this distinctive and classic colour scheme. They can range to brown, orange, cream and even a blue coloured coat.
The original and most recognisable colour is the seal point, but the point colouration also ranges as blue, lilac and chocolate. There are newer variations emerging, with flame or red points, dark brown, and other possibilities that appear from time to time, not necessarily on the Show table but beautiful never the less on this elegant breed.
The main commonality for Siamese is that they do have darker points on tail, face and legs, with a lighter body. So the question is, are black Siamese Siamese, or Orientals?
There are solid black Siamese, but they are quite rare. The colouring of the points and body originate from a gene called the Himalayan gene, which causes partial albinism. Even more interesting, the gene is heat sensitive. The cooler the body part, the darker the colour that will show, which is the cause of the points pattern.
All Siamese are born white, and the colour develops as they get older, on the cooler extremities of face, legs and tail. The blue eyes are also a result of the Himalayan gene. So a black Siamese should have to tell tail blue eyes, and if inspected carefully, be darkest on the cooler points. The Himalayan gene will prevent the dark Siamese from being solidly black.
For an elegant black cat with the Siamese characteristics of slinky cheeky chattiness, an oriental is required.
Orientals and Siamese are essentially the same breeds apart from the Himalayan gene. Because the gene is missing, oriental cats don’t have blue eyes. Black orientals usually have distinctive green eyes.
Shadow, foundation Cat Evolution kitty, showed solid black coat colour, and green eyes, typical of the black oriental. He did have an interesting colour change on his paws, if he was spending time in sunny patches, with a lightening or browning tone to his blackness developing.