Playful, affectionate, and vocal – these are just some of the qualities that have made the Siamese cat one of the most popular household breeds in the United States. But, aside from their unique quirks, Siamese are also a favorite among cat fanciers for their beautiful pointed coats.
But did you know that Siamese cats actually start out albino? That’s right – these kitties are born with all-white fur. The darker shades around the face, tail, and legs only start to show as the cat ages. And, even once the cat reaches adulthood, its coat color might still change due to several factors like temperature, season, diet, and certain medical issues.
This has led many cat lovers to wonder – when do Siamese cats stop changing color?
In this article, we will discuss what makes the coat of a Siamese cat unique, and why it might constantly change color.
Why do Siamese cats change color?
While the coat color of your Siamese is generally affected by the temperature, there are several factors that can also influence the shade of their color points. Some of these causes are considered normal, while others will need your veterinarian’s immediate attention.
Below are the most common reasons your Siamese cat’s fur changes color:
The fur of purebred Siamese cats is naturally chocolate point, lilac point, blue point, or seal point. Meanwhile, those that come from breeding programs might acquire other colors and patterns, including tabby, red, lynx, fawn, cinnamon, caramel, and apricot. All of these colors are greatly influenced by the cat’s genetic coding.
It is also worth mentioning that all purebred Siamese inherit the Himalayan gene, which is responsible for the white color of their fur. This gene inhibits the production of melanin at temperatures of 98 degrees Fahrenheit and above. For this reason, it is impossible to see a solid black Siamese, unless the cat is a cross between a Siamese and a pure black cat.
Of course, if their skin temperature drops below 98 degrees Fahrenheit, their coat color changes as well. This is why the extremities of newborn kittens will gradually turn darker after they reach about two weeks of age.
2. Seasonal changes
Your Siamese cat’s coat can change color depending on the season. For example, during the warmer months, you might notice their coat is a bit lighter. This happens in response to the increased temperature of their skin.
But during the colder months, the cat’s coat will be replaced with a winter coat to protect its skin from frigid temperatures. Due to the cold environment, the shade of their fur will also become darker, especially around the legs, tail, and face.
3. Sun exposure
Siamese, like most cats, enjoy basking in the warmth of the sun. Thus, it is no surprise to see them lying near an open window or chilling outside in your garden just to get a little dose of sunshine. And, after a lot of sunbathing, you might notice the darker parts of their fur turning reddish-brown. This color change is quite expected, as the sun’s rays can have a bleaching effect on your pet’s fur.
4. Raised body temperature
A sudden change in your cat’s fur color might indicate a change in body temperature as well. If your Siamese has a body temperature higher than the normal 100 degrees Fahrenheit, its color points will also become lighter. This is usually a sign of fever, so make sure to take your furry friend to the veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.
Certain diseases that affect a cat’s liver, kidney, and thyroid can cause the black points of its fur to fade. If you think your feline friend has suddenly changed color despite not having a raised body temperature, then a consultation with your vet should not be delayed. Remember that early diagnosis can be critical in saving your cat from life-threatening diseases.
6. Diet deficiencies
If your cat’s dark fur is gradually fading, her regular diet might also be to blame. Siamese cats that are deficient of tyrosine, an enzyme responsible for the production of melanin, will likely have bleached fur. For example, the black points of the fur might gradually turn a rusty brown.
Cats that do not have sufficient melanin will also become prone to sunburn. So, if you think your cat’s coat color has lightened for no apparent reason, you should definitely visit the vet for a thorough checkup.
Since diet is crucial for your feline’s overall well-being, it is highly recommended to choose a cat food brand that contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients. The enzyme tyrosine is generally found in foods high in protein, such as fish and chicken, so make sure to feed your cat a balanced diet. Never force your feline to go on a vegetarian diet, as cats are obligate carnivores and this will cause a nutrient deficiency.
7. Old age
Most cats develop gray hairs as they get older, just like humans, and these changes might be more apparent if your cat has a darker fur color. The gray hair will be scattered throughout the whole body’s fur, not just in one particular area. However, these changes should not be mistaken for an effect of their Himalayan gene; all cats, no matter their breed, will grow gray hairs when they reach their senior years.
When do Siamese cats stop changing color?
If you are a Siamese cat owner, you have probably noticed your feline friend’s coat color changing from time to time. As mentioned, the color of your cat’s fur can be affected by several factors, including diet, temperature changes in the environment, and even frequent sunbathing. Genetics play an important role, too, specifically the Himalayan gene which influences the pigmentation of their skin.
Lastly, age causes your Siamese to change its fur color, from kittenhood up to its senior years. Therefore, with the varying conditions in their environment along with aging, this unique breed of cat will never stop changing its coat color!
Siamese cats change color as they age
At some point, your Siamese might seem to stop changing color, but the reality is that they never actually do. Siamese cats generally go through several changes in fur color as they age. If you are aware of these changes, you should be able to tell their age by judging the color intensity of their extremities.
1. Newborn kitten
A newborn Siamese kitten will normally have all-white fur, thanks to the inherited Himalayan gene. The mother cat’s womb also tends to be warm, which helps preserve the kittens’ white color until they are delivered. Even so, the newborns will retain most of the heat in their bodies which prevents melanin production until they reach two weeks old.
Keep in mind, though, that some kittens might also start developing their darker shades earlier than others. This is understandable, since every cat is different, and the environment might also affect how fast they develop their colors.
2. Eight weeks old
Kittens at about eight weeks of age will start showing their colors, particularly on their extremities. By this time, they should be fully weaned. Like most kittens, Siamese youngsters will also become more adventurous and curious as they explore the world around them. Hence, proper training and socialization are critical at this stage of their lives so that they grow into well-behaved and friendly cats.
3. Ten months to two years
Your kitten’s first year should already have revealed plenty of color on certain body parts. The face and legs should display a darker shade that fades into a gray or white body color.
Cats are generally considered kittens up to the age of two, and you might still observe a lot of energy, playing and learning each day.
Siamese cats are considered adults once they are over the age of two years. At this time, the cat should have developed the color of its coat in its purest form. The coat color will be less likely to be affected if the cat remains indoors most of the time, or is not constantly exposed to extreme temperature changes.
5. Senior years
Senior Siamese cats over the age of ten will start developing gray hairs. Know that this is a normal part of the aging process and should be no cause for concern. The gray-colored hairs are usually scattered throughout the body’s fur and are not likely to affect your cat’s overall appearance.
Aside from the gray hairs, your senior cat will also be less active and more vocal than in their younger years. At this point, they will need lots of your patience and love as they undertake their day-to-day activities. You might also need to pay more attention to elderly cats to keep them healthy and comfortable, especially if they are struggling with mobility issues.
The changing color of your Siamese kitten is probably one of the most exciting moments of owning and caring for this cat breed. However, the color changes in their coat do not end in kittenhood – they continue until the cat reaches its senior years.
So, it should no longer surprise you if your Siamese becomes a little lighter during the summertime but changes to a darker color over winter. As long as your kitty is healthy and no medical issues are involved, these changes are normal and should therefore be embraced.
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